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Adopting from Russia - Moscow - After You Have Adopted

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General information
Adoption Process
Hotels, Homestays
Places to go including map locations & link to Moscow street map. Where you see (Xn) Xn (for example, C3) is the map location with a link to the map.
US Embassy

General information

Safety You may have the impression that Moscow is not a safe city. Moscow is as safe and unsafe as any other big city. As long as you stay in the touristy parts of the city and/or with your facilitator or host, you should be fine. Even when we got lost and blundered off the beaten path, we felt safe. The only time we had an even mildly irritating experience was with gypsy children begging in the airport.

Do not jaywalk! If there is a pedestrian underpass, use it. If there isn't an obvious way to cross a street, then don't do it. Moscow drivers will not stop or even slow down for a pedestrian who is in the wrong place. To quote a newsletter from Moscow, [6/99] "Local bad driving habits ...have contributed to [my] ... witnessing more than the usual portion of dead pedestrians and vehicle passengers in the last week..."

Loosey, goosey, go with the flow. Still.

Calling home We have found ATT (800-CALL-ATT) to be the most expensive and MCI less expensive. If your hotel doesn't have touch tone phones, you pay an operator surcharge.

Adoption Process

After you adopt, you will go to Moscow to get the child's Russian medical examination and then go to the US embassy to get the child's US visa. You will use the driver and car for this.

Typically, you will get the medical exam and go to the embassy the same morning. You will start out from the hotel around 7AM to be in the embassy by 9 or 10.

This embassy web page lists clinics and physicians approved by the embassy to give medical exams. The clinic will be packed with Americans and newly adopted children.

If you don't already have the visa pictures, you will have a third stop that morning. To save time, your facilitator should have the picture taken in the city where the child was adopted, if possible.

[12/2000]: The US Embassy in Moscow has instituted new procedures for obtaining your child's immigrant visa.

[12/2001]: The facilitators can now file the paperwork in the morning and you can be in and out in 15 minutes in the afternoon. If you file the paperwork yourself, you must pay for the visa first.

[7/2002]: One person reports that the I-864 was not asked for.

When you come back in the afternoon to pick up the visa, you must check in at the window to the far right so they know you are there - or your name won't be called.

Hotels, Homestays

My wife and I like the Belgrade because its inexpensive and within walking distance of anything we would have the time to visit. You won't have to pay a driver every time you want to go somewhere. Our facilitator says the food is better at the Proton but you will need a driver ($$) to get anywhere. Some folks we know wanted to feel comfortable and stayed at the Radisson or a Marriott. In addition to reports about hotels that we have received, you can browse hotel listings yourself. Here are three places you can start browsing from: 1 3. This map will show you where the hotels are.

There are also services that rent furnished apartments. One is Moscow Rick, an American living in Moscow.

All hotels have goons (er, guards) to keep unauthorized Russians from entering the property.

Hotel index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Cost/night: [4/02]: $180.
Great breakfast buffet.

Arbat (B6)
12 Plotnikov per. Tel.:(095) 244-7635 (Reception) (095) 244-7628 (Reservation) Fax: (095) 244-0093 email
Cost/night: [97]: $140, [99]: $150, [01]: $115, [02]: $109-150, [4/03]: $120, [8/03]: $120-125, [3/04]: $120, [12/04]: $150.
Older hotel owned by the Russian government. You may well see other adopting couples. Will provide a crib on request [12/02: $10]. Had a small sitting room area and a separate room with 2 twin beds. Good security & English speaking front desk. Russian style breakfast is included in the price. Beautiful large suites.
Great breakfast buffet. Better go to breakfast early as they don't always replenish the buffet - depends on who is in charge that day.
Internet access: $5/hr.
[5/02]: Terrible beds.
[6/02]: Has air conditioning.
[7/02]: Extremely hot in the summer. "Don't go there during the summer."
Rooms with tub are larger; have separate bedroom.
"Nicer than the Belgrad."

Excellent location. Even closer to the old Arbat and Novy Arbat than the Belgrade.

Baltshug Kempinski
Cost/night: [10/01]: room $225 weekday, $270 weekend, suite $500, [11/03]: $325
Includes breakfast, wine, complimentary champagne. The location is great near Red Square the view is wonderful. It is more of a business center hotel and really does not cater to new families.

Belgrade (AB6)
8 Smolenskaya St. Information: (095) 248-1643 Reception: (095) 248-1676
We dealt with Demlink Travel, in suite 1021. (095) 248-3737, FAX: (095) 248-1216.
Cost/night: [97]: $70 - $100, [11/98]: $75, [11/99]: $85, [11/00]: $150, [2/01]: $129, [5/01]: $100, [7/01]: $65, [1/02]: $68, [11/02]: $80, [12/02]: $86, $95, [10/03]: $85, [6/04]: $85, [10/04]: $120. Includes breakfast.
Location: near a lot of things. Across the street from McDonalds and old Arbat. Driver not required for sightseeing.
Older dingier hotel. Frequented by journalists and students. (Its nice to talk to other Americans.) Also described as clean and comfortable.
No air conditioning or screens on the windows. Hot in the summer. The workers don't like you to leave the door open to get a breeze.
Not recommended in winter - very cold.
Have your facilitator make reservations through Demlink Travel - see phone number above. The cheaper of the two grades of rooms is adequate.
For infants and toddlers: if your facilitator doesn't provide portacribs, keep inspecting rooms until you find one where the beds aren't bolted to the wall and can be moved together so you can put the baby in the middle.

Cost/night: [1/03]: $110, $175.
Great location.

Cost/night: [6/01]: $125
Fine hotel with all amenities. We stayed on 25th floor, called Club Cosmos. Had it's own dining room. Excellent breakfast buffet! Modern, clean room overlooking the All Russian Exhibition Center. Across from Metro. North side of Moskow near Ostankino. Would stay there again.

Golden Ring
Cost/night: [1/03]: $169.
Comfortable. Close to old Arbat & McDonalds.

Homestay arrangements are quite variable. Here's what's been reported so far:
Cost/night: [12/96]: $150, [3/97]: $100, [4/97]: $100, [7/97]: $50, [1/98]: $100, [4/99]: $125, [5/99]: $120, [10/99]: $100, [1/01]: $60, [9/03]: $100, [12/03]: $80, [12/04]: $100.

The Intourist, known for its great location and excellent view of Red Square, has closed and will be demolished.

Cost/night: [10/03]: $140.
Not so kid friendly.

Cost/night: [12/97]: $120

Marco Polo Presja
Cost/night: [7/03]: $160.

"We were not impressed."

Marriott Grand
26 Tverskaya (095) 937-0000 or is it 935-8500? FAX: (095) 937-0001
Lots of adoptive families.
One couple got the adoption rate when calling (800) 228-9290.
Cost/night: [99]: $120 - 175, [00]: $179, [01]: $179 - 249, [1/02]: $180 - 195, [2/02]: $185, [6/02]: $189, [7/02]: $200, [12/02]: $129, $225, [4/03]: $190, [6/03]: $205, [8/03]: $230, [10/03]: $179, $200, [2/04]: $200, [/3/04]: $250, [6/04]: $200, $310, [7/04]: $270, [8/04]: $205, 220, [12/04]: $240, [3/05]: $250.

Bring a letter on agency letterhead stating that you are in the country for adoption or you will not get the $185/night adoption rate!

"This hotel is EXTREMELY nice.  The rooms are large enough for a crib, which they provide upon request.  It is located close enough to the major sights, just a short walking distance.  I would recommend it to anyone." Great pool & fitness center.

"Very elegant and American." Also "Too hyped and too much $$." Internet access: $20/half hour. Compare to Tverskaya (free). "More luxury than we needed." Eat up at the breakfast buffet because if you're back for lunch, it can be $100 for two adults & two kids. Pool unheated; no shallow end. Large heated jacuzzi.

This hotel (unlike some others) has screens on the windows. They keep the bugs out in the summertime.

Enjoy the kiosks on Tverskya Street. Minibar items are much less expensive here.

Marriott Renaissance
Cost/night: [7/02]: $145, [9/02]: $130, [5/03]: $135, [6/03]: $135, [10/03]: $130.
24 hour store right outside. Next to World Trade Center hotel with its own supermarket & 24 hour cafe. 4 expensive restaurants.
Closer to Red Square than the Grand but still far from city center. Great breakfast buffet. Shuttle each hour to Pushkin Square - makes for convenient sightseeing, especially with kids.

Rooms not as big as at the Mariott Grand, but same breakfast buffet. Great rooms & [expensive] restaurants.

Marriott Royal Aurora
11/20 Ulitsa Petrovka, Moscow 103031
Telephone: (095) 937-1000 Fax: (095) 937-1001
Nearest metro: Teatralnaya
Cost/night: [6/02]: $195, [[5/03]: $295, [7/03]: $280, [3/04]: $350, [12/04]: $230, [4/06]: $350.
4-5 Star hotel. Very fancy! About 2 blocks from the Kremlin and right behind the Bolshoi.

Breakfast buffet included in room price. Large rooms; cribs available for children. The hotel has a central atrium so there are circles on each floor which are great for walking around with your child if it is snowing outside. There is a great deli and supermarket within 2 blocks out the left of the main entrance. About 10 minutes from Red Square and the sites.

"The staff is overly accommodating, the hotel is beautiful. We checked out the Marriott Grand, but the Royal is much more intimate and personal."

A bunch of really nice restaurants are nearby and the prices are reasonable. There is an internet cafe right around the corner for $2 per hour and you can use IM there.

Marriott Tverskaya
34 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya (095) 258-3000 Fax: (095) 258-3099
Cost/night: [99]: $149, [00]: $170 - $189, [01]: $150 - $200, [02]: $140 - $240, [03]: $160 - $275, [6/04]: $210, [8/04]: $160, 220, [9/04]: $220, [2/06]: $235, [3/06]: $189.
"It was a VERY nice hotel.  The furnishings were very new, it was very clean, and the staff was great.  They had the best breakfast buffet I have every had!" "It was the same as being in America."
Free internet access. Ask for room on 4th floor - great lobby for the kids to walk around.

Adoption friendly. Also, restaurants not particularly kid friendly.

Location out of the way of tourist attractions.

Great Chinese restaurant "Silk" half a block away, on street facing Belorussya metro station. Zen Coffee is half a block the other way.

Mezhdunarodnaya World Trade Center
Cost/night: [7/02]: $138, $140, [12/04]: $160.
Very clean, professional staff. On site: small shopping mall, grocery store, fitness center and pool area. Expensive breakfeast buffet but room service was reasonable.

About 45 minutes from embassy & Arbat by foot.

Cost/night: [10/02]: $90, [11/03]: $120, [12/03]: $115, [2/04]: $120.
Has feather pillows.

Across the street from the US Embassy. Many adoptive families. Shabby.

2 Okhotny Ryad (095) 960-2020 Fax (095) 925-0155
Cost/night: $100.
Location: On Manezh Square, directly across from the State Historical Museum and Red Square, the Moskva is about as close to the city center as it gets.
Rooms are a bit old, but very clean and comfortable. The staff is cheerful as a rule, and the optional breakfast buffet is good. We had to leave at midnight on our second night to catch a plane, and they only charged for a half-day rate for that day. There is a thriving operation of 'free enterprise' women in the street in front of the hotel (the State Duma is directly across the street), but they are busy waiving at cars and do not bother pedestrians, and the hotel strictly keeps it off their premises. Deputies of the Duma often stay here, so reservations are recommended especially when it is in session, but you can try for a room at the Intours Travel desk in the lobby on the left.

One block from the Sheremetyevo airport.

Cost/night: [12/02]: 179.

Cost/night: [4/98]: $100, [10/01]: $130
Location: Near Moscow State University. A long walk from the nearest Metro. Very nice; several restaurants, wonderful service.

Cost/night: [3/02]: $90.

Cost/night: [4/97]: $190, [11/97]: $250, [11/98]: $240, [7/99]: $200, [8/00]: $180, [6/01]: $180, [11/01]: $165, [12/01]: $160, [8/03]: $198, [10/03]: $205, [10/04]: $220.
Western style hotel, large, comfortable rooms, good restaurants, excellent room service & breakfast buffet. Too far away from attractions to walk. Too formal for children.
Lots of stairs in lobby -- difficult for strollers. Limited room service menu.
[12/00, 12/01]: Restaurants not great but Willem Tabac, two blocks away, is.

22 Novozavodskaya ulitsa. Phone: (095) 797-3300
Cost/night: [11/98]: $110, [6/03]: $110.
Newer, cleaner, better food than Belgrade. Quite adequate and the price was good. Other than the front desk staff it was difficult to communicate in English, especially in the restaurant. The hotel was not near anything! We had to arrange for our driver to take us in to Moscow. We were not at all pleased with the location of this hotel and would not recommend it based on that. We were the only adoptive couple there at the time and felt very isolated.

2 Berezhkovskaya naberezhnaya. Phone: (095) 941-8020
Cost/night: [96]: $300, [97]: $218, [1998] $200-$225 [99]: $190-$200, [00]: $168-$250, [01]: $140-$185, [02]: $119-$180, [03]: $110-$160, [2/04]: $169, [5/04]: $127, $160, [7/04]: $250, [8/04]: $78 [arranged by EAC], $145, [8/05]: $140-$199.
Has portacribs and air conditioning. The later was especially appreciated in very hot weather. Near Metro. EAC has office in the building.

One reasonably priced restaurant; market & McDonalds across the street. 2 minute walk to Metro.

Cost/night: [2/03]: $135, [5/03]: $215, [9/03]: $125, [10/03]: $230, [8/04]: $240.
Very nice hotel. English speaking staff. Great food. American style rooms. A nice lounge area on most floors where many adoptive parents could hang out with their children and play. Several child friendly restaurants.

Far away from any tourist areas but near a couple of good parks for kids to play in.

Rossia (Russia) email
6 Varvarka Ul. (095) 232-6046, 232-6254 or 232-5000 (?) Fax (095) 232-6248 or 232-6283
Cost/night: [01]: $65 -$135, [02]: $55 - $104, [1/03]: $95, [4/03]: $95, $150, [5/03]: $110, [6/03]: $95, $130, $120, [7/03]: $86, [9/03]: $90, [11/03]: $90, $115, [1/04]: $90, [2/04]: $100, [3/04]: $110, [4/04]: $145, [5/04]: $150, $170, [8/04]: $125.
Can also be booked through the Decarn company, an official agent of the hotel.
Location: Near Red Square and Kremlin. Western restaurants around Red Square. "We gladly sacrificed the amenities of a hotel like the Marriott for the experience and view."
No screens on the windows; no air conditioning. Cigarette smoke. Very hot in summer. Has feather pillows. Noisy at night. Impossibly large. Little English spoken.
Cribs available.

Formerly known as the 'Comrade Hilton', the Rossia was once the largest hotel in the world, and is still vast enough that it best not be tackled with tired feet. Foreign reservations are handled in the Intours office on the 11th floor, and your room may be far, far away from the front entrance. But a room on the west or north side will reward you with a spectacular view of Red Square and the Kremlin (Stalin would have been jealous). Rooms are clean in a motel 6 sort of way, and despite it's size the staff is friendly and usually helpful. There are cafes on every other floor, some possibly provided for the aid of travelers lost in search of an exit. Nicer restaurants are on the lower levels.

Rumours abound that the whole place may be demolished as an eyesore on Red Square, but for now the price and location are hard to match if you want to be in the center of things.

We loved the hotel. The view of Red Square couldn't be beat. The staff was helpful, the rooms beautiful and modern. Definitely comfortable and couldn't beat the price.

Be sure to ask for a refurbished room. Its worth paying $10 extra for a Kremlin view.

[11/01]: "Staff acted as if they were doing us a favor letting us stay at their hotel." Similar reactions in [6/03].

Good sushi restaurant on 1st floor.

Sheraton Palace
Cost/night: [6/02]: $200, [1/03]: $200, [9/03]: $153, [12/03]: $200, [11/04]: $200.
Clean. Warm, accomodating staff. It felt like we were home.

32/2 Leningrad Prospect (095) 960-2000 email
Cost/night: [10/02]: $83, [10/03]: $160.
Very clean, wonderful employees & food.

Ukraine Ukraine
2/1 Kutuzovsky Prospect. (095) 232-0179. Fax (095) 956-2078
Cost/night: [97]: $120, [98]: $125, [99]: $100, [00]: $80-$120, [01]: $70-$75, [02]: $70-$98, [2/03]: $85, [4/03]: $150, [6/03]: $85, [4/04]: $85, [2/04]: $93, [8/04]: $100, [11/04]: $150.
The Stalin era wedding cake building just north of the embassy. (See map).
Beautiful, charming but old. Uncomfortable beds. No portacribs. Also described as having large rooms and being very comfortable. Ask for a renovated room.

Great breakfast & room service. Or, breakfast buffet with lots of low quality food. Service was bad and rooms were adequate after a call to replace all the lamps, none of which worked. More votes for good food & service than for bad.

Ask for a suite ... includes refrigerator & you'll be glad to have the room with your child.

Lots of tourists & foreigners; English spoken. Helpful staff. BBC on TV.

No screens on the windows and no air conditioning (the norm for Russian hotels) [hot in summer]. No heat until October.

Shuttle to Red Square. Low cost internet access.

University Inn
Cost/night: [11/98]: $25

World Trade
Cost/night: [12/02]: $150.

Places to go

Map locations are in parentheses right after the place name.

All of these are accessible on foot starting from the Belgrade:

McDonalds (BC5) Its convenient, the food is consistent and you won't get sick on it. McDonalds is at the beginning of the old Arbat.

Old Arbat (B5-E4) (tourist street, good for souvenirs) Starts across the street from the Belgrade and goes halfway to the Kremlin, where it meets the Novy Arbat. At the end of the Arbat, if you turn hard left you'll be on the Novy Arbat going back toward the Embassy and if you bear right, you'll be heading toward the Kremlin.

When walking from the Belgrade there is a reasonable food store on the right and a good souvenir store further on the right at #27. They have everything there, and you can pay by credit card. There is no bargaining. They clerks go by the Soviet system of helping you choose your item, then they wrote the price on a little slip of paper, while they put your intended purchase behind the counter. You must do this at each counter, and can end up with a fistful of little pieces of paper. You then take them all to the cashier and pay, then return to each counter to collect your purchases. If you have limited souveneir shopping time, you can do it all here. The prices are about the same as what you'd pay on the street anyway.

Novy Arbat (A4-D4) (Western merchandise, book store). Internet cafe in the basement of the Konica store.

Irish Pub (C4) On Novy Arbat. Serves a reasonable facsimile of Irish food, considering the location.

Danilovsky restaurant. 15 minute taxi ride from Kremlin; on grounds of an old monastery. Very nice traditional Russian cuisine and not expensive, considering the fancy atmosphere. Smoke free. (unusual in Russia!)

Kremlin (G4) The Kremlin opens at 10AM and you must buy tickets. Go to the main gate, which is in the middle of Alexander Gardens (see map). There are well dressed Russian women who will approach you and ask if you want a translator. [11/98] They are $20/hour and will tell you that the quick tour is 1 hour and a lengthier tour 2 hours. We spent 2 1/2 hours. The translator was difficult to understand but would repeat herself when asked to. It would not have been worth seeing the Kremlin without a translator. You should definitely see the Armory and a number of the churches.

You may not bring a briefcase or backpack but there is a coat check room. We left our dossier in our room.

Red Square (H34) We circumnavigated the Kremlin once and found ourselves in Red Square. [5/97] Lenin's tomb (next to Kremlin wall) was closed and St. Basil's church (southern end) is only open during certain hours. It was closed when we were there. There are more souvenir sellers here.

Rostick's GUM (H3) 3d Line, Second Level, provides American style fried chicken, only not as greasy as some places here.... The 'Rostick's' dinner gives you 3 pieces of chicken, nice crisp french fries, cole slaw and a roll for about $3. Order at the counter and take your tray to a table, American fast food style, it's clean, good, and an alternative if you want fast food but can't stand going halfway around the world to eat at Mc Youknowwho's.

US Embassy (B2)
There is more information about the embassy below.

Zoo (AB1) When walking from the Belgrade, the zoo is past the Embassy and then to the left. The entrance is right across the street from the big round metro station. We don't yet have any reports of what its like.

Planet Hollywood (A1) is past the zoo on the left side of the street. [5/97] We went there to buy T shirts and had meals that were about the same as what you could get in the States. If you go at lunch or early afternoon, you may be the only ones there.

[5/97] There is a flea market across the street from Planet Hollywood (A1).

Accessible by Metro:

Bolshoi Ballet (H2) [11/98] Our facilitator got us tickets for $100 each. The Americans in the row behind us bought from their concierge for $75 each. As we were walking in, people were hawking tickets in perfect English for $10 each, in the orchestra section! We felt that the dancers were not the best performers; those must tour abroad.

US Embassy (B2)

Address:19/23 Novinskiy Bulvar ,121099 Moscow.
Telephone numbers: (prefix 011-7 if calling from the US; omit the 095 if in Moscow)
Main number: 095-728-0000. Main FAX: 095-728-5090
American Citizen Service (if you need help while you are in Russia) 095-728-5577.
Duty Officer, after hours number 095-764-1524 if you need some kind of help.

Adoption Unit 095-728-5058. Call this number to confirm your I-171H if email doesn't work for you. Adoption unit FAX: 095-728-5247. Make sure to put "Adoption Unit" on your fax.

email the Embassy or visit their website. The consular section website has a bunch of useful phone numbers. Some people have reported that this email address or this one also work.

The embassy now takes credit cards! Latest fees:
[1/03]: The I-600 fee is $335. Thus, the fees collected at the embassy are:
one child - $ 335
two related children - $ 335 + 335 = $670
two unrelated children - $ 335 + 335 + 332 = $ 1002

[10/98] We used the email address to confirm their receipt of the BCIS I-171H approval cable but wouldn't use it for general questions.

In December 2000, the embassy changed its procedures for handling adoptions. Read about the new procedure here. There is some more information here.If your facilitator makes the morning trip, you can be in an out in under a half hour in the afternoon when picking up the visa. Security is very tight. There is an obvious sign in window in the adoption room.

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