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***

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.

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???  

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. 


  1. This is a good post, but your math is wrong. They are breaking out the $22,000 by explaining when each part is due. So it's really $22,000 + $4950 (from how I am reading it) which still seems incredibly high. Agencies like About a Child advertise a Serbia program too. I can't find their fees readily on their site, so I have no clue, but hopefully they are more competitive than this! It doesn't surprise me that people advertise children with SN as without them...but it's definitely not ethical!

  2. The general message is well taken. Just 2 comments on the math:

    1. If a parent is at least 25 years old and at least 18 years older than the child, that does not imply a minimum child's age of 7.
    (x>25) - (y>18) could be anything at all. For example, if x=26,y=26, then x-y = 0. Or, if x=40, y=22, then x-y=18

    2. In the breakdown of IFS's fees, you counted the $22K twice. They list $4950 agency fee and $22K country fees, and then break down the $22K. That is an explanation, not additional fees! So the total is only (!) $26,950. Still outrageously more than what the actual costs are.

    Sorry to be pedantic, but I am a math teacher....

    You don't have to print this, but I do suggest you update the post to avoid damaging your credibility.

  3. Thank you both for correcting my math. You're right, I had read the statement of fees incorrectly, which I have corrected. Jennifer, my first adoption was through About A Child. I paid them $2000. It was a 100% unnecessary $2000 that was literally wasted. I prepared my own dossier (with the exception of the homestudy, the dossier took me only days to put together) and sent everything myself. I emailed directly with the facilitator. I kept asking AAC what that $2000 was for and was told "a receipt when you're done." I'll leave it at that. It is not necessary to use an adoption agency to adopt from Serbia. You need to use a licensed agency to do your homestudy and that's it.


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