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07/15/08

Special Issue No 10 (Adoptions)


Information Note #2 on international adoption from Kazakhstan

Category: General
Posted by: admin

 
Special Issue No 10, July 15, 2008


Information Note #2
on international adoption from Kazakhstan

We are pleased to advise that the Embassy's first Information Note has been positively received by prospective adoptive parents and families that have adopted Kazakh children. We thank American families for this great attention and appreciate their feedback, ideas, and suggestions. We look forward to further developing mutual understanding and fruitful cooperation.
In this second information letter of ours, we would like to further detail the adoption procedure and documentation requirements as well as the rights and duties of adoptive parents, while providing some advice on selection of Adoption Agencies.

First of all, any foreign national wishing to adopt a child from Kazakhstan should visit the adoption web page of the Embassy’s Consular Section* that contains the full list of the requisite dossier documents, and should take note of the timing requirements applicable to any documents furnished.
It must be emphasized that having such documents notarized and getting them properly apostilled by the relevant US authorities is a key point in collecting such a dossier.
All of the documents so listed must be translated into Kazakh or Russian. As regards document translations, please make sure such translations are notarized by Kazakh notaries or contact Embassy-recommended translators within the United States. The Embassy will reject dossiers featuring substandard translations.
In reviewing any application, the Consular Section of the Embassy may also require other necessary documents.
Thus, in case the prospective adoptive parents have different nationalities, they further have to obtain adoption clearances from appropriate agencies of both nations, a certificate from both countries’ appropriate agencies (including their Embassies, General Consulates in the USA) showing absence of a criminal record, plus a permit clearing the adopted child to enter and stay in the countries whose nationalities are held by the spouses. It will suffice if such permit for adoption, potential entry and stay of any child having Kazakh nationality is executed in the form of a guarantee letter by any government authority in charge of adoption issues.
In order to coordinate a date for filing documents with the Consular Section, the prospective adoptive family or any Agency filing an adoption application must give the Consular Section an advance notice at almat@kazakhembus.com (kzconsulny@un.int for the Consulate of the Republic of Kazakhstan in New York), stating the prospective adoptive parent's surname. In submitting adoption documents, an Agency must note that a new dossier may only be filed once that Agency’s prior dossier has been reviewed.
Please note that, for the purpose of consular fees, adoptive parents should make out a Money Order payable to the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan themselves (the Money Order should NOT be made out by your Agency) and should send it to the Embassy either attaching it to the dossier or through an Agency.
Upon receipt and review of a valid dossier, the Consular Section gives the prospective adoptive family a special-purpose registration with the Consular Section.
Upon review of a dossier and in the absence of any issues with it, the Consular Section forwards adoption application materials to Kazakh child trusteeship and guardianship authorities through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Once an affirmative response is received from the above authorities as to potential adoption, the Kazakh Embassy issues a special entry visa to the applicants (visa category – private, purpose of travel – adoption). Such visa may only be granted pursuant to an invitation letter by the Kazakh Education Ministry or its regional departments.
On arrival in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the foreign prospective parents are obliged to personally select a child and stay in direct contact with him/her for at least two weeks. Over such period, the adoptive parents establish contact with the child, get to know his/her hobbies and interests, and talk to the child care facility's psychologist.
Kazakh legislation also provides for an adoptive parent’s right to retain one or several proxies, i.e., coordinator(s), in Kazakhstan. A consolidated list of such coordinators is currently being compiled by the Committee for Protection of Children's Rights under the Kazakh Education Ministry and, following completion of that effort, will be posted on the Embassy's web-site. Such persons are not civil servants. They provide services, such as interpretation, guidance, and facilitation, etc. to foreign nationals within the Republic of Kazakhstan in their private capacity based on letters of authority issued by prospective adoptive families.
Normally, upon expiry of the above biweekly period, the head official of the respective child care facility (chief medical officer of an orphan's hospital or headmaster of an orphanage) issues a written consent to adoption. To the extent any child has surviving biological parents, their formal consent is required as well.
Adoption by foreign nationals is performed by a court of law, just like any adoption by Kazakh nationals, pursuant to their application. In fact, foreign nationals enjoy the same procedural rights and perform the same procedural duties as do Kazakh nationals.
In considering any adoption case, the court of law seeks to objectively establish the child's opinion (provided the child is at least 10 years old) as to his/her adoption, and the opinion of a trusteeship and guardianship agency; it verifies and factors in any moral and personal qualities of foreign adoptive parents, their relationship with the child, etc.
Following the final court ruling, the Kazakh civil registry and Migration police authorities issue the adopted child with adoption and birth certificates, plus a Kazakh passport.
Please remember that, under Kazakh laws, any child adopted by foreign nationals retains Kazakh citizenship until he or she turns 18. Such child may only give up Kazakh citizenship on coming of age and only to the extent he or she so wishes. Respectively, the child may only enter and exit Kazakhstan using a Kazakh passport.
Before leaving Kazakhstan, the child should be registered with the Consular Service Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Such procedure is needed to know where the Kazakh child may be staying and to potentially assist him/her if need be. Such assistance may come in the form of reissuing a lost document, extending a passport, issuing a new passport, etc.
Please note that, by adopting a child from the Republic of Kazakhstan, foreign nationals assume responsibility for his or her future. In fact, knowing that the adopted child is a Kazakh national, foreign nationals should respect both the laws of their own country and the laws of Kazakhstan and must comply with all requirements established by such laws as regards adoption.
Under the Kazakh laws, adoptive parents must furnish annual reports on health and living conditions of any adopted Kazakh child until he or she turns 18.

The Embassy advises that any family that resolves to adopt a child from Kazakhstan should take care in selecting an Adoption Agency. The Embassy’s Consular Section will regularly post, on its web-site, a list of Agencies recommended by the Consular Section for the purpose of adopting children from Kazakhstan, based on their transparency, good faith, performance, etc.
The Embassy is looking forward to fruitful cooperation with prospective adoptive families and adoption Agencies in the highly noble cause of international adoption. Appendix 1 provides a step-by-step explanatory guide on adoption of Kazakh children by foreign nationals.

DEALING WITH AGENCIES AS THE CONSULAR SECTION STREAMLINES THE ADOPTION APPLICATION ACCEPTANCE PROCESS

As we have advised in the first adoption Information Note, in parallel with the Consular Section reviewing any adoption dossier received from American adoptive parents, the Embassy has been further streamlining the procedure of working with Adoption Agencies and the adoption application process. In the context of this effort, we see absolute value in Agencies furnishing as much information about themselves and their activities as possible. Our reasoning is that the greater the amount of and the more comprehensive the information an Agency provides about itself, the more grounds the Embassy will have to recommend this Agency to prospective adoptive parents. Such materials regarding various Agencies will be posted on the Embassy’s web-site and will be accessible for prospective adoptive families. In identifying any criteria based on Agency-furnished information, the Embassy takes note of US adoption specifics and a key role of adoption Agencies in the process. Here, the Embassy would like to count on adoption Agencies' responsible and painstaking approach to the adoption procedure and the post-adoption period alike.

In this regard, any Agency that intends to engage with adoption in Kazakhstan should furnish the Embassy with the following documents prior to September 15, 2008:

- a letter setting out their intention to engage with adoption in Kazakhstan. Such free-form letter should be accompanied by detailed information about the Agency's operations, including in Kazakhstan, cite the number of adoptions sourced from Kazakhstan, broken down by years and Kazakh and US regions, the dates of most recent post adoption reports on such cases, and a tentative number of adoptions planned in the current year, and must contain a commitment to furnish post-adoption reports on any subsequent adoption cases. Going forward, such letter must be updated annually and must enclose reports on any adoption cases of the previous year;
- a license issued to an Agency by respective US authorities to deal with international adoption. Such document must be updated once any license issued by the respective US authority expires;
- a document that confirms an Agency’s accreditation with the respective US authorities as per the Hague Convention criteria. This requirement has been established given the specifics of the adoption process in the US (as there is no single government authority charged with supervising the adoption process), as well as Kazakhstan’s pending accession to the Hague Convention;
- annual submission of a model service contract to be made between any Agency and adoptive parents, which lists all charges and fees payable by parents for various Agency services, being the most important indicator of the transparency of such Agency’s operations; and
- information as to charitable work performed by such Agency in the Republic of Kazakhstan and Kazakhstan-related charitable work in the US (if any). The initial submission of such information should cover the entire prior period and should be updated annually in the future. The information about charitable work should include both a description of the project (its scope and goals) as well as an itemized budget, and the proof that the IRS (US Internal Revenue Service) has approved the Agency to be a 501c3 entity. (the amount of charitable work WILL NOT affect the number of placements the Embassy will approve).
The Consular Section may request further documents if need be.
Such Agencies may please note that, to file the above documents, they have to contact the Consular Section directly, not via any intermediary entity whatsoever.
Based on the above information received from the Agencies, the Embassy will optimize the list of preferred Agencies that are being recommended to adoptive parents. We are hoping that such optimization will be completed before the end of this year. The Embassy will seek to make the results of its review of Agencies open and accessible through its web-site. Before this process is completed the submission of documents by Agencies will continue in the normal mode, although following September 15 of this year Agencies that have failed to provide the above information about themselves will have to do so in an accelerated fashion since it will be a pre-requisite for their submissions to be reviewed.

REGARDING THE ASSOCIATION OF KAZAKH KIDS
ADOPTIVE FAMILIES

The idea of establishing an Association of Kazakh Kids’ Adoptive Families, as raised in the Embassy's first Information Note, has been met with great enthusiasm and support on the part of adoptive parents, to whom the Embassy is grateful. In this context, we are also happy to note the efforts of volunteer founders of Kazakh Aul in the USA public organization, in particular, Mr. Daniar Baidaralin and Ms. Susan Saxon, in supporting and promoting this idea.
As Danyar Baidaralin and Susan Saxon have said in their recent letter to the Embassy:
We strongly believe that the Ambassador's proposal for the establishment of an adoptive families association is a great opportunity to bring together the Kazakh-American Community. We also recognize that establishing a new association is a major undertaking, and to effectively pull off something of this magnitude will require people across the US to work together. This effort will require a collaborative approach that will need collegial, committed, and experienced participants who represent different interests in the adoption, post-adoption, and Kazakh Diaspora worlds.

Our understanding is that Susan Saxon and Danyar Baidaralin who reside in Rhode Island (email: ssaxon@kazakh-aul-us.org, tel.: 401-486-4023; details about Kazakh Aul in the USA are available at the site www.kazakh-aul-us.org) are prepared to act as coordinators in establishing the Association that could provide assistance to American adoptive parents in raising children during the post-adoption period, information support on matters of Kazakh adoption by Americans, as well as conduct cultural and educational events for US-Kazakh families, thus promoting mutual cultural and information enrichment.
The Embassy is not authorized to be directly involved in establishing such an Association but would welcome its creation and would be prepared to closely work with it.
Susan Saxon and Danyar Baidaralin are open to suggestions from US parents and are prepared to discuss with them steps towards creating the Association. In particular, on July 21-26 of this year, yet another summer camp will take place at Geneva Point Center in the city of Moultonborough, New Hampshire.
On July 24-25, a visit is planned to the camp by the Chairman of the Committee for Protection of Children's Rights under the Kazakh Education Ministry, Mr. Zhumazhan Zhukenov, and head of the Consular Section of the Kazakh Embassy in Washington, DC Mr. Almat Aidarbekov. It could be a very good opportunity for those parents who are interested to participate in a discussion of the matters involved in the establishment of the Association and cooperation on matters of adoption and cultural and informational enrichment.
We recommend contacting Susan Saxon and Danyar Baidaralin directly regarding this matter as well.

This is the final letter from the Embassy regarding adoption matters. Once again we would like to thank US parents and the Agencies for their cooperation. Should there be a need for additional information exchange during the process of our interaction, the Embassy will make it public in due course.


Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States
 
Appendix 1
CHART
Adoption of Kazakh Children by Foreign Nationals

I
PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS
- Prospective adoptive parents collect requisite documents shown on respective list (published on the Embassy’s site), have them translated into Kazakh or Russian, notarized and apostilled.

II
CONSULAR SECTION OF THE EMBASSY OF KAZAKHSTAN
- Provided the above documents meet the requirements of Kazakh legislation, the Consular Section carries out a special-purpose registration of foreign nationals wishing to adopt Kazakh children with the Consular Section of the Embassy. Once their dossier is reviewed, a registration certificate is issued to the prospective adoptive parents within one month. The Consular fee for such services shall be collected in the amount of up to USD 180.

III
CONSULAR DEPARTMENT
OF THE KAZAKH MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
- Once any dossier is reviewed (which may take up to one month), the Department forwards adoption materials to the Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science (Education Ministry) for review and further dispatch to regional education, trusteeship and guardianship agencies. 

IV
KAZAKH MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SCIENCE
(for a period of up to one month)
- The Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science, jointly with its respective departments, selects children for prospective adoptive parents, and refers them to the regional education departments in order to visit the child at his or her actual place of residence and resolve the adoption issue.
- The Ministry or its regional departments issue prospective adoptive parents a letter of invitation to visit the Republic of Kazakhstan.

V
CONSULAR DEPARTMENT
OF THE KAZAKH MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
- Based on a letter of invitation issued by the Education Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sends a visa support (within 5-10 days) to the Consular Section of the Embassy of Kazakhstan

VI
CONSULAR SECTION OF THE EMBASSY OF KAZAKHSTAN
- On receipt of a visa support communication, the Consular Section of the Kazakh Embassy, where the prospective adoptive parents are registered, issues an entry visa to the Republic of Kazakhstan (within 3-5 days). The prospective adoptive parents have to furnish their passports, duly filled-out visa application forms with a photo, a reference number of the visa support, and a Money Order for a visa in the amount of $60 payable to the Embassy of Kazakhstan.

VII
PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS*
- On arrival in the Republic of Kazakhstan, they contact the regional (oblast) departments of education as per the reference issued by the Kazakh Education Ministry and respective trusteeship and guardianship authorities.
- Foreigners seeking to adopt a child are obliged to personally select such child (when already in the orphanage), to maintain immediate contact with him/her for at least two weeks, and to file a written application stating their desire to adopt such child, plus other documents, with trusteeship and guardianship agencies.

VIII
TRUSTEESHIP AND GUARDIANSHIP AGENCY
(orphanages and children’s homes)
- Prepares an opinion on whether such adoption is justified considering the adoptee's best interests, and forwards such opinion to a court of law, along with any other adoption-related materials.

IX
COURT
- Under Paragraph 1, Article 77 of the Kazakh Law "On Marriage and Family", adoption cases are considered by a court of law subject to a special procedure, based on the rules contemplated by civil procedural legislation.
- Within three days of effectiveness of the court’s ruling on any child's adoption, the court is obliged to forward an extract from such ruling to the Civil Registry and the trusteeship and guardianship authority at the location where such ruling was issued.
- Once such a ruling is issued, the adoptive parents should contact the Civil Registry (in person) to obtain an adoption certificate and a birth certificate.

X
CIVIL REGISTRY
- Pursuant to an extract from the court ruling, the Civil Registry makes an adoption entry, issues an adoption certificate and a birth certificate.
- Once the relevant certificates have been obtained, the adoptive parents should contact the Registration Service Committee of the Ministry of Justice to obtain the child's Republic of Kazakhstan passport.

XI
REGISTRATION SERVICE COMMITTEE
OF THE KAZAKH MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
- Pursuant to an extract from the court ruling and on the basis of adoption certificate and birth certificate, the Registration Service Committee of the Kazakh Ministry of Justice issues a Republic of Kazakhstan passport for the adopted child.

XII
ADOPTIVE PARENTS
- Having obtained the child's passport, the adoptive parents must contact the Consular Department of the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs to have the child registered for consular purposes, and also contact the Migration Police Department to collect a stamp indicating the child’s departure from the Republic of Kazakhstan for permanent residence purposes.

* - Prospective adoptive parent may directly or through their Agencies retain Kazakh coordinators to receive assistance in the adoption process.