Friday, October 06, 2006

Adopting from Russia

I got an email today about adopting from Russia. I am all for it - especially with the possibility that the entire process can take as little as 7-9 months from start to finish! I haven't discussed it with J yet because he wasn't home when I got the emails, but here is the breakdown of how much some of it will cost:

The service fee to adopt a child from Russia is $18,500 payable to Faithful Charities Foundations and abroad in installments as follows:
1st installment (agency fees): $2000 is sent with the signed contract to start the adoption process.
2nd installment(foreign fees) $4500 is due upon submission the dossier.
3rd installment (agency fees) of $3200 is sent when referral or notification of travel is received.
4th installment (foreign fees) $4300 due during the first trip in the region and a Moscow representative
5th installment (foreign fees): $4500 due during the second trip in the region and a Moscow representative

The service fee doesn't cover traveling, home study and INS expenses.

As a baseline for approximate travel amounts, I did a search for the first week in Jan. If we left on Jan 1 and came back on the 7th, the round trip cost for the flights would be anywhere from $1675 (total for 2 of us) and up. These prices will vary a little depending on when we actually go - I'm well aware that the beginning of January is a busy time for traveling - I chose those dates based on us staying about a week but J still not having to miss school (although I would hope that his professors would be understanding). If we can go over a weekend that would help, but I don't know how possible that would be considering that we have to deal with Russian courts on these trips and I doubt that they're open on the weekends. I'm going to tell J to do his best to not have classes on either Monday or Friday, giving us that much more time around a weekend available. One advantage we have is that we can easily go to one of several airports in the state, since we have family and/or friends close to many of them. The cheapest airport will probably be the one in Detroit, and my best friend lives there; I know that she would gladly keep our car for us and take us to & from the airport.

I have no idea what Home Study or INS costs would be. I need to look into those still.

This is actually pretty close to what I expected it would cost (I was figuring around $20,000) so the amount is not a surprise.

I guess it all depends on when we would start. Sooner is better for me - the sooner I have my child the better! But we also have to think of timing, because J is in school and I have work to think about (arranging for time off - would it fall on this year's or next year's vacation schedule?) If, for example, I started it today, our first trip would be in Jan-Feb. Not only is that bad timing as far as J's schooling is concerned (both parents must travel on both trips), but having that much money available right after Christmas is unlikely (although all of our Christmas money will go towards the adoption fund). At the earliest, we could have our child by mid-April - which would mean another trip to Russia (this time we'd have our tax refunds by then so that will help as far as funding the trip goes) but I'm not sure I'd still have available vacation time to take from work (my vacation year runs from July-June).

It's a lot to think about, and a lot of money to save up. I'm still undecided as to whether I am going to tell the families now or later. At the moment, I'm thinking that I want to keep it pretty quiet until more has been decided (like where we'll be adopting from and when). No need to get them all involved from day one. I wasn't even going to tell my IRL friends right away, but as it will affect something we had been hoping to do next summer, I need to tell them that my money-saving priorities have changed. It's something to ponder.

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