Availability and Reliability of Records - Part 2 - The Legal Grounds
“I am writing to you because I had heard that you mentioned on a list-serv that certain medical documents are available to adopting families per Russian law. We have been home for one month. Many families I know claim to have received extra information at court; we did not. I am wondering:
Is it still possible to obtain some of our daughter's records?
If so, does your office help adoptive families do this -- or do you have another person you could suggest to us?
What, typically, should we expect to be able to receive (if there is a "typical")?”
First of all, we have to talk about the LAW. According to the laws of Russian Federation, approved by Duma and signed by President Putin,
- one of the major goals of Federal data Bank is to create conditions to fulfill of the rights of individuals, willing to accept children to be razed in their families TO RECEIVE COMPLETE AND RELIABLE INFORMATION about children, left without parental support
- any prospective adoptive parents has a right to access the written confidential information about their prospective adoptive child as a part of the selection process
- any unjustified denial of access to the Federal Database, or PROVIDING DELIBERATLY INACCURATE INFORMATION, WITHHOLDING OF SUCH INFORMATION, and OTHER ILLEGAL ACTIONS, WHICH ARE DEPRIVING CITIZENS OF THEIR SUCH RIGHT (to receive accurate and complete information about their prospective child) CAN BE APPEALED THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM ACCORTDING TO THE LAWS OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION
- prospective adoptive parents have a right to have an independent medical evaluation of their referral
Therefore, it is ILLEGAL to:
prevent prospective adoptive parents from viewing the orphanage chart (ther can be problems with photocopying and faxing, but you can always at least attempt to take digital pictures of all or some pages)
limit the length of time, that family is spending in the country or visiting the child in the orphanage (at the same time we have to understand that such visits can be disruptive and overwhelming to the orphanage and to the child)
limit the amount of referrals given to a particular family (unless there is no other adoptable children on the database of this particular region)
provide deliberately incomplete and/or fabricated information
demand signing of any acceptance documents as a condition of receiving any additional information about prospective child
demand finalization of adoption as a condition of receiving any medical, social and/or educational information
deny the release of educational documents of school-aged children and so on and so forth
So, returning to original questions:
1. Yes, it is possible to obtain records, even after adoption. It does take a lot of effort and communication, but it is an achievable goal. For those of you, who are still in the initial stages of adoption – remember, it is crucial to obtain all information during the first visit. This way you will need just to update some documents at the time of adoption.
2. No, I am not able to assist you in obtaining such records. You can contact your agency, local facilitator, or – international adoption lawyer.
3. There is no such thing as “typical” in EE adoptions, but you can refer to my list of available documents from the Availability and Reliability of Records in Russian Orphanages - Part 1.
GLOBAL PEDIATRICS is an international adoption medical support service that has specialized in assisting families adopting from the Former Soviet Union through every step of the adoption process for the past ten years. Dr. Gordina's unique professional background and attention to detail ensure the highest possible level of service. She is recognized by her patients and peers as a leader and pioneer in the field and has presented her adoption-related research at sessions of the AAP, JCICS, NACAS and other meetings. Dr. Gordina has both participated in and organized several humanitarian missions to pediatric clinics and orphanages in the Former Soviet Union. For all questions regarding our services please check www.globalpediatrics.net