Monday, January 16th, 2012
Nine years ago, Linda and Tom from South Carolina came to the conclusion that their home and their hearts were big enough — joyful and loving enough — to adopt siblings from Russia via international adoption.
Mom Linda told me, “From the time we selected the region to adopt from, until the time we got the girls was only nine months. However, we initially tried to adopt from a different region in Russia and spent an additional fruitless nine months doing that so it was a total of 18 months.”
Just like the USA, different states throughout Russia have different adoption laws and very specific requirements.”But the Ministry of Education actually oversees adoption in Russia, not the social agencies. To go with an accredited Russian agency would have added $30K per child – and we always intended to bring home two,” said Linda.
The siblings at the time were biological sisters considered ‘”hard to place” because there were three of them: ages 3, 5 and 7 and because the middle child had medical issues.
For those in the know, “hard to place” children or those with special needs actually cost less to adopt in most international cases!
Today, Linda says, “When we brought them home nearly nine years ago come May, it began as a journey of faith and it continues to be so since our daughters are now all teens (or nearly teens). They are 11, 13 and 15 with fast approaching birthdays!”
Linda and Tom were older parents (47 and 48) when adoptions were finalized. Once you are over 45, international adoptions become much stricter on the age of the child you are allowed to adopt.
Linda also said, “The adoption was final on our 10th wedding anniversary.”
Linda approximates all told the international adoption of three girls reached close to $80,000. She started counting for me and we lost track quite quickly!
Linda said, “From beginning to end with legal notarizations, medical forms, local and all federal criminal background checks with fingerprinting, INS fingerprints and background checks, home study letters from the water and sewer company that our house could withstand three additional people…”
And then Linda remembered all those medical forms! “Tons of medical forms with regular updates as the clock ticked over those nine months of waiting, and then more letters even from our veterinarians saying our pets were up to date with their vaccinations… you name it, we had to have a form for it or invent one for it… the list was exhaustive.
“Then, airfare for both of us twice and again for all five of us to return to the USA… hotel lodging fees for two trips into Russia, the agency fee for this side of the adoption and the fee for the US facilitator and a donation to the orphanage… all of that was about $30K of ‘legitimate adoption expenses’ that we could take as a credit off income taxes. Of course, that does not take into account ] income loss for being out of the country for 2 1/2 weeks for the first trip and another three weeks the second time.”
Linda said, “Every day brings new adventures. And for me, the grand prize is our daughters being happy and being able to embrace every opportunity that life presents for them. They are such a special joy for my husband and I.”
And worth every cent, of course.
Photo credit: At right, Linda and Thom are shown with Rachel, Rebekah and Sarah. Please send me your inspirational tale of adoption too!Add a Comment