Adopting from Russia - Evaluating a Referral
After your dossier is completed, it will be sent to a Ministry of Education in a region of Russia. You will then wait for a referral. How you receive the referral varies.
After the law change in 2000, regions started requiring the parent(s) to appear in person at the MOE to receive a referral. By 2002, some regions allowed the referral to be given before the parents traveled. In this arrangement, the parent(s) need make only one trip to adopt in Russian court. And in some regions with some agencies, the parents receive referral information in advance but 'officially' receive the referral from the MOE during a first trip to Russia. Two trips are still required.
If you receive the referral in Russia when you appear before the MOE:
The referral will contain some medical information but instead of a video or pictures, you will meet the child. You will decide whether or not to accept the referral. In addition to your gut feelings, you will probably want to have the medical information reviewed. It is not uncommon for the medical report to list ominous sounding problems.
You may want to make arrangements with an international adoption doctor in your country to receive and review whatever medical information you can transmit. This is where digital cameras, laptops and the Internet come in. See following section for some information on US doctors.
Whether or not you use an international adoption doctor, you may find yourself evaluating the child's medical condition. Here are some pointers for evaluating an infant, provided by David Hall, a member of FRUA San Antonio.
There is a little more information about receiving your referral in Russia on the Cities page.
If you receive the referral before traveling:
The referral will contain some amount of medical information, pictures and maybe videos of the child. It is not uncommon for the medical report to list ominous sounding problems. You should have the child's information reviewed by a doctor who specializes in evaluating international adoption referrals. You will have to decide whether or not to accept the referral and if you do, wait for a court date, get a visa to enter Russia and make travel arrangements.
Two clinics we have heard good things about are:
Dr. Laurie Miller
International Adoption Clinic
New England Medical Center
Tel: (617) 636-8121. Listen to the message to get instructions on mailing in and paying for your referral information. Leave a message to request a call-back for an appointment for a post-adoptive evaluation.
Cost: $50 if no videos; $100 with videos. Fax: (617) 636-8388.
Response time from receipt of information: one to four days.
University of Minnesota
420 Delaware St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 626 6777 or (800) 688 5252
There are even more clinics that we don't have any information about. If you try one of these, please let us know what you thought.
When the referral information is received before traveling to Russia, you or the pediatrician might want more information about the child. It may or may not be possible to have a Russian speaking medical translator call the orphanage and ask questions on your behalf. If you can't have someone call, you can still have the facilitator ask the baby hospital or orphanage and then report back to you.
Here are pointers to discussions about medical issues. Also, Russianadoption.org is devoted to medical issues.
It is important that you feel comfortable with the referral before you accept it! If your agency does not support you in this, you should wonder what its agenda are.