|~ Frequently Asked Questions ~|
We were licensed as an adoption agency in November, 1994.
We have assisted over 1700 families in adopting children from Russia and Kazakhstan.
We are accredited by the Russian Ministry of Education and are pursuing national accreditation through the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services (COA).
Yes. Frank Adoption Center works with families nationwide.
Frank Foundation is our parent organization and has its main office in Washington, D.C. Frank Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide cultural, humanitarian, and educational assistance to children throughout the world. We utilize their in-country resources to facilitate the completion of the adoption process.
There are several ‘first steps’. You should submit your I600A form to USCIS (formerly INS and BCIS) for approval for international adoption and then choose a home study agency. Once that it done, submit your application to our agency so you can receive your dossier instructions and materials.
Currently, married couples, cohabitating couples and single women may adopt from Russia and Kazakhstan.
As a general rule the couple should be married or cohabitating for a length of time that would establish their stability as a couple. However, the legal status of their relationship is not crucial.
The adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old. Because judges pay more attention to the age of the adoptive mother than the father the age of the adoptive father is not usually a significant factor. At times, exceptions can be made, and you would need to discuss your specific situation with one of our social workers.
The home study is a report written by a licensed agency or social worker in your state of residence. Its purpose is to confirm that the adoptive parent(s) are financially, emotionally and physically able to add to their family. The study consists of medical reports, criminal record checks, income verification, autobiographies, copies of marriage and divorce certificates and reference letters in support of the adoption. A social worker will visit the prospective family in their home to insure the adoptive parents are suitable for such an undertaking. An approved home study is required by your state of residence, the USCIS, and the foreign country.
Frank Adoption Center can complete home studies for families living in North Carolina. For our out-of-state families, we can provide contact information for home study agencies that previous families in your state have used. However, you can look in your local yellow pages or conduct an Internet search as well. You must use a home study agency that is licensed to do international home studies due to regional restrictions in-country. The agency should have experience in completing home studies for Russia or Kazakhstan, and it is helpful (though not necessary) if the agency has previously worked with Frank Adoption Center.
You will need to download the I-600A form from www.uscis.gov. Once you have submitted your application, you will need to complete a home study and be fingerprinted. You will receive a letter from US CIS regarding the fingerprinting procedure/appointment and the approval process. Your home study provider will forward your home study to USCIS. After processing and approval, your local USCIS office will send you the I-171H approval form. USCIS Approval is valid for18 month, fingerprints – for 15 months.
The financial condition of the family is a very important factor. Frank Adoption Center complies with the USCIS guidelines for income for international adoption. Currently, USCIS requires a family’s earned income to be 125% above the poverty guidelines. Poverty guidelines vary per state, and per family size, ranging from $15,150 to $38, 700 according to 2003 figures.
[While all fees are set, the total cost of adopting varies by each family’s individual circumstances, including the age and number of children adopted, cost of the home study, airfare, lodging choices, meals, gifts, etc. The agency’s fee schedule is included in the free information packet sent to prospective adoptive families.
Agency and application fees are due at time of application. In the Russia program remaining fees are due between trips one and two along with in- country fees. Because there is only one trip involved in the Kazakhstan program remaining fees are due before your trip.
The majority of placements occur within six months to one year of submitting the home study application. However the waiting time consists of two parts. First of all there is a period of time from when you apply to the agency until your dossier is approved according to the Russian requirements. After you received all necessary approval waiting time varies from one to six months. Timeframes can also vary somewhat according to the country and the age and gender of child preferred.
Are there any financing options or loan and grant programs I can investigate to help with the costs?
Please see the document titled Financing Your Adoption which is enclosed in the information packet.
Two children, related or unrelated, can be adopted at the same time from both Russia and Kazakhstan. There are no restrictions on the age between the children for these countries.
We work in 19 regions in Russia, and 11 regions in Kazakhstan. Other regions are being developed on an ongoing basis.
Families are not assigned to a particular region unless they request regional specificity.
You will return to the same place on the family waiting list. You do not go to the “bottom of the list”, and there are no consequences as a result of declining a referral. We want every family to feel comfortable and well informed before accepting a referral and traveling.
There is a team working in each region employed directly by the Frank Foundation, consisting of a coordinator, an interpreter and a driver. This team will see you through each step of the in-country adoption process.
Your Frank team will make all travel and accommodation arrangements for you from Moscow (Russia) or Almaty (Kazakhstan) to your child’s region. You are only responsible for reserving your flights to and from Moscow or Almaty, and any Moscow hotel stays.
In Russia all regions are currently requiring two trips to complete an adoption. Kazakh adoptions involve one trip usually lasting approximately 4-8 weeks.
After your dossier is approved you will travel within approximately 2-4 weeks. Kazakh families will likely have a longer wait for travel due to the lengthy processing of the dossier paperwork by the Kazakhstan government.
There is usually a 2 to 4 week wait between trips.
Included in your ‘Adoption Kit” is a list of consultants Frank families have used with positive results in the past. However, there are many international pediatric consultants available, and many may be located in a search of the Internet.
Because of the Russian government registry process children are not usually available until 6 months of age.
Minor correctable conditions generally involve such diagnoses as rickets, anemia and delayed psychomotor skills.
Special needs children usually have surgically correctable conditions such as cleft palate, heart conditions, and extra digits (fingers and/or toes) or other limb differences.
There are 10-12 children in a group and there are 3 caretakers during the day and 2 caretakers at night.
Most children show the effects of institutionalization in their physical size and growth rate, as well as a delay in their developmental stage. Children will have a lighter birth weight than is common in the US, and their small size tends to continue so long as they are living in an orphanage. You can also expect approximately a two month delay in reaching developmental milestones. In most cases, these delays are fully correctable once the children are adopted into a loving home.
Travel to Russia or Kazakhstan does not present any unique dangers to families. The assistance and attention of your in-country team, coupled with basic common sense, assures your safety during your family’s travels.
Children are placed in orphanages for many reasons. The most common reasons include: termination of parental rights, abandonment, death of parents or relinquishment of parental rights. Most of the children relinquished have parents who are financially unable to care for them.
There are an estimated 500,000 orphans in the former Soviet Union.
Although there are thousands of children in Russia and Kazakhstan without loving families, many of the children in the orphanages are not available for international adoption due to legalities. These children may still be adopted by Russian or Kazakhstan citizens.