If you're interested in learning how the Serbian adoption process works, you've come to the right place. There is currently only ONE U.S adoption agency approved to provide adoption services in Serbia.

***It is a violation of Serbian law to have orphaned Serbian children photo listed on public websites. Any agency or organization doing so is in violation of Serbian law and should be avoided***



Friday, February 14, 2014

Announcement


On December 18th, 2013, Serbia deposited their instruments to become part of the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. Effective April 1, 2014, all families adopting from Serbia will be required to work with an agency approved by the Serbian Ministry to provide adoption services in Serbia. The Serbian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy has designated Hopscotch Adoptions as the exclusive adoption service provider for all US families seeking to adopt from Serbia. You can find out more about their Serbian program by visiting their page here. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hague

Effective April 1st, 2014, Serbia will be party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Serbian adoptions started after April 1st must meet the requirements of the convention and U.S. law implementing the convention.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Serbia Continues to Move Forward

Since 2007 Serbia has been under a mandate to empty all the institutions in the country. Their priority, in this order, is to get kids  1) reunited with birth families 2) placed with domestic adoptive families 3) Placed with Serbian foster families 4) International adoptive families. International adoption is the exception to the rule in Serbia.

There are approximately 500-600 Serbian families waiting to adopt healthy infants. Because Serbia has a negative birth rate, healthy infants are not available for international adoption.

In Serbia, a child can be located in a facility on the other side of the country from where their Center is located, it is possible the Center has not had contact with a child for many years. Recently all the Centers for Social Care (which are like the U.S. county level) have been notified and directed to go through the records of all children they service. There are many children in the country who are eligible for adoption (either domestically or internationally) who have never actually been registered.

In June and July there were many children added to the registry, and in September and October more will be added. Those children already added include those with Down syndrome, older (healthy) children, Roma children, and children with developmental difficulties. For those who have asked, so far there are no children who hare HIV+, but this could change in the fall when the registry will be updated again.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Adoption Ethics


Today Jen Hatmaker has Pt 2 of a series on ethics in adoption. She makes many valid points, some of which I would like to highlight here because they are *all* issues I ran into during my first adoption from Serbia, which are no longer an issue!!!  Please  take a trip over to Jen's blog and have yourself a read. 

 Can we see a copy of a recent audited financial statement? Annual report? 

When you ask questions, do you feel shut down, disrespected, bullied, or discouraged? I asked my agency hard questions and got pages and pages of immediate, thorough responses. If you are discouraged from talking to other families, researching, asking difficult questions, or investigating, RUN.

Are other adoptive families with concerns are painted as lunatics or troublemakers?

Does correspondence lean too heavily on emotional propaganda and "rescue" rhetoric, as opposed to professionalism and an obvious commitment to best practices?

An agency that claims to have special connections or processes in country.

If you hear the word “expedited,” run for the hills. That is not a thing. That is corruption.

Payments without receipts (common in Eastern European adoptions).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Alert: Serbian Adoption


This was posted on March 29th on the Department of State website, confirming what I posted back in December

Alert: Serbia Adoption

U.S. Embassy Belgrade has received reports that one or more U.S. adoption agencies may be giving prospective adoptive parents misleading information about the process of adoption in Serbia.  
Serbia places a priority on domestic adoption.  The only children who are generally available for intercountry adoption are children with special needs.  There are no adoption agencies authorized to offer adoption services in Serbia, and families should not seek to work with an intermediary.  You are strongly encouraged to read the Serbia adoption country information, which outlines the only way to adopt children from Serbia.
There is no legal alternative to the Serbian adoption process outlined in this adoption country information page on Serbia.  If you have received contradictory or misleading information from a U.S. accredited or approved adoption service provider, you can register a complaint with the Hague Complaint Registry (HCR), which is administered by the Council on Accreditation (COA).

To report such activity by a non-accredited or approved agency, you may contact the licensing authority of the state where the agency is located.  You can also contact the Office of Children’s Issues via email toAdoptionUSCA@state.gov  and have your complaint recorded

Friday, March 29, 2013

Two more families

There are two more families headed to Serbia! One family leaves tomorrow (Saturday) and will meet their new child for the first time on Monday. I'm hoping after that point I'll be able to say their name so I can give them some bloggy love.

Then, if you don't read my other blogs, you may not know that we're headed back to Serbia too! We leave in just a couple weeks. You can follow our story here.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ready to Travel!

Many of you have read the blogs of those of us who have already adopted from Serbia. (and if you would like your blog link posted please send it to me!) The Lakes family will be traveling soon to bring home their new son!

I am especially excited for this family, because their new son holds a special place in my heart. He is in the same foster family my son Axel was part of. I have been able to hold and play with him. The Lakes will be working with all the same social workers, etc. I know exactly what amazing people make up this team, and the Lakes couldn't be in better hands.

Please join me in wishing the Lakes family an amazing trip, safe travels, and health and safety for all their kids waiting anxiously at home. You can click here to visit their blog.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

45 Day Moratorium. NOT!!!

It has come to my attention that a couple adoption agencies in the US are claiming there is a 45 day moratorium on Serbian adoptions that is directly related to Russia's recent ban on adoptions into the US.

This is absolutely untrue! There is no 45 day moratorium on Serbian adoptions!  If you are being told this by ANY agency in the U.S. you need to 1) Report them to the Department of State Adoption unit. 2) Contact the Serbian MLSP (government) Adoption unit directly. Be an advocate for yourself, your money, and the child you've been told you can adopt and contact the ministry yourself.

There is contact information for the Serbian ministry posted on the Department of State's website, however I have a different email address that goes directly to the English speaking desk and is checked daily. If you would like that email address please contact me and I'll send it to you.

The information listed on the website is:

Serbia's Adoption Authority
Address:  Nemanjina 22-26 11000 Belgrade
Tel:  +381 11 3631448
Email: socijalna_zastita@minrzs.gov.rs
Internet:  minrzs.gov.rs/cms/en/home
                                

You can also visit the Department of State website area for International Adoptions. On the bottom right you will find a drop-down box where you can choose a country. Pull up Serbia's information and you will see any alerts or notices related to Serbian adoptions. This information is current and kept up to date. If you're ever unsure you can contact


Office of Children's Issues

Mailing Address:United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
SA-29
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Phone: 1-888-407-4747; 202-501-4444
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov



Sunday, December 2, 2012

Montenegro

I have seen a couple of agencies recently that have advertised on their website they are processing adoptions out of Montenegro. Here's a link to one of them.

I found this interesting, since I know Montenegro to be closed to US adoptions at this time.

On July 1st 2012, the Hague Convention went into effect in Montenegro. That means that all adoptions from there must follow Hague regulations, but they have not yet started processing adoptions under Hague.

Montenegro has not yet started processing adoptions into the U.S. 

Just to make sure the Department of State's website information on Montenegro was correct ( I know how difficult it can be for them to keep up with everything.) The website also states that there is only one adoption that ever happened into the US, and that was in 2010. I emailed the Department of State for verification.


Dear Ms. Spring:Thank you for your inquiry regarding adoption from Montenegro.  The Montenegro country page has ourmost current information on adoptions from that country, at:http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_info.php?country-select=montenegro.Please continue to check that page for updates.  When Montenegro implements an effective Convention intercountry adoption process and the U.S. can process adoptions from that country, the country pageshould also have information on eligibility requirements for both the child and prospective adoptiveparents. Yours truly,AskCI

So how is it that adoption agencies can state in emails they currently have families in process from Montenegro when the US Department of State says there is no convention process in effect?

Interestingly the same agency linked above claims to be processing adoptions in Serbia. The information listed on their country program page says two unrelated children can be adopted at the same time. I know this is absolutely not true for Serbia. The only way you can adopt more than one child at a time from Serbia is if when they are biological siblings. The website also says children can be as young as three months old at the time of referral. This is also untrue in Serbia. A Serbian child is not eligible for referral for international adoption until one year of age.




Saturday, October 6, 2012

Are you researching Serbian adoption?

In the last six weeks I have received several emails about four Serbian children who have been listed on the Rainbow Kids website. Here's one listing in particular.

Although it doesn't say "Serbia" on it, if you contact the agency International Family Services they will tell you the child is in Serbia.

Photo listings of Serbia's waiting children is a violation of Serbian law. It doesn't matter if you or I agree with the law, the fact is it's not allowed.

These children are said to be "healthy", without any identified special needs, with birth dates putting them at *just* over 12 months old.  If you inquire about the children you'll be told they have all been matched with families.  (healthy infants go fast, you know!)

You are welcome to verify what I'm about to tell you by contacting the Serbian ministry directly. Serbia ONLY allows children with special needs to be adopted internationally.

What you will also get is IFS's information on their country programs and fees. I think you will find this information quite interesting. I know the Serbian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy adoption unit along with officials at the US Embassy in Belgrade will find it interesting as well.

Here is IFS's description of their program. I will break it into chunks and insert my comments.


"SERBIA ADOPTION PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
International Family Services is excited to offer an international adoption program through the country of Serbia.

One trip is required, for approximately 16 days (in Belgrade), approximately 4-6 months after your completed paperwork is in Serbia. Adoptions through this program are expected to be less costly than an adoption through Russia. The staff in Serbia speak English and will be with you to help you through the process."
This is very interesting. When doing a Serbian adoption, through the Ministry of Labor and Social policy as you're supposed to be, most families travel within a matter of WEEKS after their paperwork is submitted in Serbia. With Asher I traveled within two weeks. Axel was almost a month but only because that's the date we CHOSE.
"Un-related children can be adopted at the same time."
This is absolutely untrue. Two unrelated children cannot be adopted from Serbia at the same time. Serbia only allows the adoption of one child at a time except in the case of sibling groups.

This is one of my favorite parts, read it very carefully and see if you can find the discrepancies. Oh wait, I'll highlight them for you!:


At this time the IFS/partner Serbia adoption program is going to be available to healthy, married couples only, but could change later. Both parents go to meet the child but only one needs to stay for 3 weeks, while the other can return home. The parents must be at least 18 years older than the child, but no more than 45 years older than the adopted child. Adoptive parents must be 25-45 years old. 
Ok wait a minute. The parents must be at least 18 years older than the child, but the parents must also be at least 25 years old. Let me think: 25 - 18  = 7. That would mean the youngest child you could get out of Serbia is 7 years old???? How can that BE when they've just listed four 12 month old children???????

Ok, here is more, most of which is copied directly from the US State Department website:
Prospective adoptive parents will be disqualified from adopting if they have been diagnosed with mental disorders or infectious diseases. Adoptive parents with other serious health conditions must demonstrate to the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy their ability to raise the child. In most cases, Serbia will allow Americans to adopt only children with physical or mental disabilities that are most effectively treated in the United States. Children between the ages of two months and 18 years are eligible for adoption. Please note that a child must be under the age of 16 in order to qualify for a U.S. immigrant visa.

Did you just read what I read???? IFS is claiming they have healthy children they're willing to help you adopt, and yet in their own email they said Serbia will only allow parents to adopt children who have physical or mental disabilities who are better able to get help in the U.S. The only 'healthy' children coming out are siblings to those already begin adopted who have special needs.
And more
A foreign citizen may adopt a child in Serbia only after the child has been registered for adoption for at least one year and no domestic adopters have been found. If prospective adoptive parents have located a child prior to their arrival in Serbia, the whole process may be finished within four weeks. 
Ok, let me explain this to you. A child must be on the domestic registry for one full year before they are able to able to be added to the international registry and must have been rejected by at least three domestic (Serbian) families before they can be added to the international registry. Do the math...you're not going to get a "healthy" 12 or 14 month old child out of the country legally.


For all the information they copied directly from the Department of State website, they forgot to include this (which I have taken directly from the Department of State website!)

Currently there are no adoption agencies operating in Serbia.  Prospective adoptive parents must work directly with the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy 
In a recent email from the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy I was told there is only one agency who has made an attempt to get approval to conduct adoptions in Serbia but they have not yet moved forward to conduct any adoptions. International Family Services was not on this list of ONE.

Now lets talk about money, shall we? I find this to be quite interesting.

Here is what I paid during Axel's adoption in December 2010 with the corrupt facilitator who is now facing an upcoming trial for several counts of criminal activity:

Hometudy App. Fee: $150
Background check: $210
Fingerprints: $50
Birth certificates: $150
USCIS fingerprints: $830
Homestudy: $2400
Passport: $123
Apostille: $50
Reece's Rainbow commitment fee: $210
About A Child agency Fee: $2000
FEDex: $100
Translation Fee: $900
Airfare: $1700
Ticket Change Fee: $463
Facilitation Fee: $6500
Hotel: $1028
Visa/passport: $500
Medical: $100
Food/expenses: $1000
Total: $18,529

Exactly one year later, December 2011, the corrupt facilitator no longer in the picture, I completed Asher's adoption. This was working directly with the Serbian ministry as people were supposed to have been doing (this adoption I needed only to update my home study not start from scratch).

Homestudy update: $1900
Airfare TO: $500
Translation: $750
Medical: $100
Birth certificate: $60
Passport: $100
Visa: $404
USCIS: $720
Airfare Home: (1 adult, 1 child) $1000
Lodging (25 euro/night x 20 nights): $670
Transportation and daily per diem (15 euro/day x 20 days) $600
Food/Misc: $400
Total: $7,194

Now, let me show you the fees that International Family Services has quoted for their Serbian adoption program:


The adoption fees for each child are:
$4,950 Agency fee
$22,000 Foreign Fee paid out as follows:
$10,000  Due at time of match with a child $7,000 Dossier FeeDue With Completed Dossier (without I 171H)Can retain $1,000 of this fee to carry with you to Serbia $5,000Due when travel date is scheduled
Did you add that up???  

$26,950 
This does not include your homestudy, USCIS or other expenses required to become paper ready to adopt. 
So add in the fees according to where you live. Home studies are more expensive is some parts of the country that others. USCIS has recently been reduced. Also add your airfare and travel expenses. The actual cost is significantly more than $26,950. 

As I have always said, please feel free to contact me privately and I will give you the contact information for the Serbian ministry, where you can always verify whatever I have said and ask your own questions. Although I usually respond to people right away, please know that sometimes emails coming off this site sometimes go to my spam mailbox. I try to scan it at least once a week so but don't always catch them. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meet the Lakes!


Meet the Lakes family!

Shawn and Tara lakes live in Indiana with their seven kids. Their three year old son Simeon had Down syndrome and like their other kids has been an amazing blessing to their family. So much so they've decided to add another! 

Did I mention the Lakes have seven kids? They are the first large family to receive pre-approval from the Serbian ministry to submit their dossier, which is now complete and ready for translation then submission to the MLSP adoption unit! 

The next step is for the ministry to provide them a list of children who meet the criteria the Lakes have requested. And then? THEY TRAVEL!!! Once they choose a child, their dossier will be sent to that child's social worker for review. Once the sBing Bang Boom!

Remember how I've said the Serbian process is fast? The slowest part of the process is completing the homestudy and dossier, and waiting for immigration approval. The Lakes have already completed all of that. I expect they'll be traveling the middle of September. 

Now it's time to raise the last of the funds needed before they travel. They have approximately $7000 to raise before they travel. If you would like to help in any way, you can send contribution to Rivers of Life Fellowship, 607 N. Meridian, Greenwood, IN 46143. The family would also appreciate prayer for the child they are adopting, for all the funds to come in, for safe travels overseas and back, and anything else God lays on your heart to pray! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Pastor Duane Lakes at 317-440-4286.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Serbian Process



So you're wondering about adopting from Serbia. Is it for you? Will it work for your family? How much does it cost? What types of children are waiting for families? What are the requirements? I hope I can answer some of your questions, or point you in the direction of someone who can.


The Serbian Adoption Process

Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia) is located in the Balkan region of Europe. It is a small country, covering 34, 116 square miles.

Serbia is not party to the Hague Convention


Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia) is located in the Balkan region region of Europe. It is a small country, covering 34, 116 square miles. You can find out a lot about Serbia's history by reading here.

You can go to the Department of State's website for more details, but here are the basics:

Serbia is not party to the Hague Convention.

Who can adopt? Serbia requires that parents not be more than 45 years older than the child they are adopting. Parents must be married, but a common-law marriages can qualify. Single parents are approved on a case-by-case basis. If you are single be prepared to explain how you will care for a child with special needs.

What children are available?  There are currently more than 500 families in Serbia waiting to adopt healthy infants. While Serbia is slowly making progress in the area of services and acceptance for those with disabilities, they still have a long way to go. Because of this, the only children available for adoption from Serbia are those with physical or mental impairments who's needs can be better met in a country such as the U.S. There are currently approximately 50-70 children who are registered for international adoption in Serbia, though significantly more will be added in the fall of 2013. Their needs vary from Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Cleft lip/palate, Autism spectrum disorders or sibling groups. (keep in mind that except in the case of Down syndrome or other genetic disorders where a chromosome analysis can be done, diagnosis, particularly of Autism Spectrum Disorders, are not always accurate.) It is important to keep in mind that some things seen as "severe" in Serbia are diagnosis that are "no big deal" here in the U.S. This is mostly do to the services, both educational and medical, available in the U.S. Historically, children in Serbia born with obvious differences have been institutionalized at birth. Although current laws state that children without parental care be placed in foster care at birth and that those currently residing in institutional care also be moved to foster care, the fact is there is a shortage of foster families willing to take the children with special needs. While education and public service announcements are becoming more common (I just saw some AWESOME t.v. commercials including many adults with Down syndrome during my most recently stay!) change takes time. While the children wait for change, they do just that....wait....

With the exception of sibling groups, families are only allowed to adopt one child at a time from Serbia. Families must wait one year between adoptions of non-related children.

Now that you have some background, let me explain the adoption process.

What are the agency requirements? At the moment Serbian adoptions are independent. While you need to work with a licensed homestudy agency to complete the homestudy process, you do not need to work with an adoption agency. You can make all your own arrangements for travel, lodging, translation etc. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, and would like more of a "hand holder", you can contact Cherish Our Children International. They are a US based 501c3 NGO registered with the US Embassy in Belgrade. (I'll cover this more later in the post.)

I want to know more. What is my next step?

1) Contact the Serbian Ministry directly. (email me and I can send you the email address) This should be a formal email in biography format. Include information about your family, your background, your income, etc. If you have a child with a disability already, include that as well as why you feel you can handle another child with special needs. Also include information about your relationships with extended family and what support systems you have in place should you adopt a child with special needs. In other words, what makes YOUR family a good candidate for a child with special needs from Serbia. List the criteria for a child who would fit into your family. For example, we were willing to adopt a child, either boy or girl, between the ages of 6-12 with Down syndrome or any other special needs. If you are specifically requesting a child with Down syndrome, you need to be open to all the medical diagnosis that are possible with Down syndrome because many of the issues are not diagnosed in Serbia. I also included photos of our home, our yard, the bedroom the child would sleep in, as well as some pictures of Angela participating in some of her many activities in the community. I explained how normal life for is for Angela in our community.

2) The Ministry will respond to your inquiry. Please be aware the "adoption unit" is run by a group of people who wear several hats, and adoption is just one of their many responsibilities. There are also only two English speaking contacts in the office. While people often receive a response with a couple of business days, there are odd holidays thrown in there and there, not to mention it's a very busy office. Please be patient. If you don't receive a response within two weeks, contact them again. When they do respond to you, it will be with additional questions, and/or requests for more information. At some point the ministry will request your dossier.

3) Items that must be included in your dossier. All items must be certified, notarized an apostilled:
   1. Homestudy
   2. Birth certificates for all adults in the household
   3. Marriage License (and divorce decrees if applicable)
   4. Federal Criminal Backround check (this is not the same as the Adam Walsh)
   5. State Criminal Background check
   6. Local Criminal Background check
   7. Medical reports for both parents. This is very generic, and only needs to state that the individual is free          of serious or communicable diseases or psychological disorders. Must be on physical letterhead and notarized.
   8. The following financial records:
      a. Bank statement including account balance (checking and savings)
      b. copy of latest income tax return
      c. Letter from current employer which must include annual wages
      d. Mortgage certificate listing you as owner of your home, or a letter from landlord stating rent paid w/copy of your lease.
   9. Proof of US residency (copy of passport)
  10. Photograph

4. Your dossier must be translated into Serbian. You can contact the US Embassy, Belgrade to request a list of translators. Please note the Embassy cannot endorse any translator. They will only provide you a list of translators who are qualified to translate your documents. You can find the list here or contact the embassy directly.
US Embassy in SerbiaKneza MiloŇ°a 50
11000 Belgrade
Serbia
Tel: (+381 11) 306 4655
http://belgrade.usembassy.gov/


Your other option is to contact COCI (Cherish Our Children International) and they will make translation arrangements for you. The going rate for translation is 10 euro per page. There is a 1900 keystroke per page limit, so some documents (such as your homestudy) will translate to several pages more than the original. (for example, my updated homestudy was 8 pages but translated to 14) When counting pages of your originals, be sure to count the appostille pages! (You may also contact COCI for information about walking you through the rest of  your in-country process. I have been involved with COCI for a little over a year  now and their staff is amazing! Please read more details about their work in Serbia by clicking here. COCI is a true example of what it means to work with a society for change!)

5. At some point in the process - it seems to be a little different depending upon the circumstances of certain children/families - the ministry will provide you with a list of children who are registered for international adoption who fit the criteria you have requested. When I adopted Axel, I had met him on a previous visit.  My adoption of Asher was the first truly "blind" adoption, meaning I did not have any information on a child prior to my inquiry. At that time you may ask for further questions to help you make a decision. Please be patient with this process. The ministry (which is like the state) must contact the child's social center (which is like the county) who is responsible for the child. However, the child might actually be housed in a facility at the other end of the country from the social center so it can take a few days to get your questions answered. It is possible you will not receive a picture of the children! Due to the selling of information that happened in previous years, Serbia is extremely protective of the privacy rights of it's children. Please be respectful of us. We did not get a picture of Asher before we traveled. We could have chosen to wait for a picture, however Dean and I decided together that just like a pregnancy when we have no idea what our child will look like, this adoption was no different. We didn't care what he looked like. (and to be honest, Asher took horrible pictures and I think having his picture could have caused us to choose a different child.)

6. Both parents are required to travel. Once you have made your decision on a child, the ministry will give you a travel date. This is a FAST process! We were formally accepted for Asher on November 15th, and my meeting with the ministry in Belgrade was on November 22nd! The ministry will work with you on establishing a travel date that works for your family. We were prepared to travel quickly since we wanted our child home fast. In my opinion, if you're working toward completing an adoption, you know the travel is coming! With a Serbian adoption it's pretty easy to figure out a timeline.

7. Your first task in Serbia is to meet with the ministry. In attendance will be members of the Ministry, the child's legal guardian, social worker, and psychologist. If the child is in institutional care, a representative from the facility will be there was well. During this meeting they will go over the child's entire history with you, including social, medical, etc. You'll learn the circumstances that caused the child to come into state care. ( In both of my adoptions - both Asher and Axel were from the same birth city and represented by the same social center - I learned the names of the boys' birth parents, and that they were interested in contact.)

8. Immediately following the meeting you will go to meet the child. If your child is in Belgrade, it's a drive of just a few minutes. If the child is in another city you'll be driving there. Expect to stay in that city during the process of visitations with the child. For example, Axel was in a foster home in his birth city of Kragujevac. I stayed there for 9 days.

9. At some point in the visiting process two reports must be sent to the Ministry stating the social worker's opinion of how visits are going. If your child is in foster care, you will take the child into your custody much faster than if the child is in a facility. (In Axel's case I was granted custody on day 3, in Asher's case it was day 14. Even though I got custody of Axel sooner, the second report still had to be done, which was on day 6 or so.) The second report must be signed by the head minister of Serbia. Once you have a signature, hold on to your socks because things are going to move fast!

10. Usually the day after the signature, you will have the adoption ceremony in the child's birth city. If your child is over age 7, he or she must go with you because their finger print is needed to issue the passport. If your child is in institutional care and under age 7 he or she will not go to the birth city with you.

11. Once the ceremony is done, it takes 3-4 business days to complete the paperwork allowing the child to leave the country. Please allow yourself some room for error. Every adoption is different, and many cities have never processed an adoption before. I fly into Serbia on a one-way ticket and book my return flight 2-3 days before flying out.

What's the time frame? I have completed three Serbian adoptions. The timeline for each is included on the left sidebar of my adoption blog. Axel's adoption, from the time we started the homestudy until I traveled was 4 months. Asher's adoption was much shorter! More like 4 WEEKS. Abel's adoption was four months. The ministry asks you to plan on 16-21 days in country. For Axel's adoption I came home on day 16 (we could have come home on day 15), and Asher's adoption I came home on day 18, Abel's adoption we came home on day 14 but this is not typical.

What's the cost? You can go to my adoption blog where you'll find a cost summary on the left sidebar. You'll notice a significant difference in cost between Axel and Asher's adoptions.  You will notice Axel's adoption was significantly more expensive. There is a corrupt facilitator that has since been removed which reduced the cost by $5,000!!! Asher's adoption was completed after the removal of said facilitator, and before all my documents had expired. I had my original homestudy and Immigration approval written for two children from Serbia so I only needed to update a couple of things. The variable will be the cost of a homestudy in your state, where you stay while in-country, the location of the child's birth city, where the child is housed, etc. If the child is in another city your expenses will be at the higher end. If your child is right in Belgrade your expenses will be at the lower end. You can use my list of expenses as a guideline, then add/subtract what your own expenses would be. Currently, starting from scratch, a Serbian adoption will cost somewhere between $8,000-$13,500 dependent upon the variables I just listed.

I hope you've found this post helpful in understanding the process of adopting from Serbia. Please don't hesitate to contact me for the email address of the Serbian ministry!