Amy Carlson and her husband Eric adopted children from orphanages in Russia and now the whole family assembles care packages for the facility.
The gifts consist of toys, medicine, and clothes, they say.
“We traveled literally thousands of miles to make our family,” said Amy. “We’ll never forget watching one of the caregivers with four bundled up three-year-olds going out for a walk on the frigid sunny Siberian winter day that we arrived at our son’s orphanage.”
In the 1990s she and her husband traveled to Russia twice, to adopt their daughter and older son.
A few times each year the Carlsons assemble the gift boxes for the children’s orphanages.
Amy said she is especially proud of her daughter, who spent much of her first year in an orphanage.
Children adopted from Russia are generally six months to six years old, according to one website.
At Adoptions & Aid International, they provide translators, information packets, and other items needed by prospective adoptive parents as they travel to Russia to adopt a child.
In Russia only a single mother may adopt (not single dads).
Parents either travel to the country alone or with other groups of parents adopting children.
At All for Children Adoption Agency, children from eight months to 14 years old are placed for adoption and they all come from Russian orphanages. All background information, a photo, and video is made available to the adoptive parents but background information is limited. Children are tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, and TB prior to referral.
Singles up to age 48 may adopt through this agency, married couples, one spouse under 48, and the other up to 52 are accepted for infants. Couples must be married at least one year. The agency is currently unable to process additional applications from single males.
Prospective adoptive parents must apply to the INS for advanced approval prior to travel, satisfy the laws of the state where the applicant resides, meet the eligibility requirements of Russian Adoption Law, and have documents notarized and apostile sealed for Russia with the assistance of the Alliance for Children. It takes approximately three months to obtain INS approval and referral is about two to four months from submission of completed documents to the Russian government.
Travel takes place approximately two months after referral and both parents must go.