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Bad news...but is it?
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Jim reported that the MOE has requested that all of the adoption agencies submit an additional document as part of the accreditation review process. On FRUA Jim shows the english translation from the MOE website. Although he has not yet given his opinion (as usual Jim first reports the facts, then shares his opinion), I'm going to give my take on this.

First a summary on what is being requested. The document required needs to explain that adopted children will have the same protection and enjoyment of the same rights as are enjoyed by children who are nationals of the host state (i.e., the country of the adopting parents).

Now to some analysis.

First, the document itself does not seem to be either hard to get (for the agencies I mean) or out of ordinary. In fact, if I were the head of the MOE I would absolutely want this as part of the accreditation agreement. So it's not really some odd or outlandish request.


The timing of the request begs a few questions. Already on FRUA and the various other forums people are up in arms and claiming that the Russians are stalling adoptions, blah blah blah, basically the world is coming to an end.

Taken at the surface it does seem strange that on the very day that marks 90 days from when accreditation documents were allowed to be submitted they are requesting an additional document from everyone. Remember the law implies that MOE has 90 days after document submission to either approve or deny accreditation to an agency. Although it's sort of unclear what that 90 days really means.

The quick reaction is that this is some ploy to delay adoptions. The theory would be that they wait until just before they need to announce accreditations and then request something else to give them another 90 days. And indeed it is possible that this is what is happening.

However, I would like to give an alternative theory.

In doing so, it is necessary to question that this is a delaying tactic. We know from various sources that many (probably all) of the agencies that have submitted their documents are currently under review by the key 4 ministries which must approve the accreditation before the MOE grants it.

Let's assume this new document request is a means to delay the answer for another 90 days. Why would they (the MOE) have the other ministries even review the documents then? I mean, if they really wanted to delay adoptions wouldn't it make more sense to just hang on to the submitted documents rather than have the ball rolling by having the reviews? If this is a conspiracy to delay things, it's a pretty poorly executed one.

Let me further pontificate for a second. There was a comment from one agency that a final committee comprised of members of the four ministries and the MOE do a final yea/ney approval of an agency's accreditation (this is what was done before so I'm pretty sure it's valid). I very easily could see a scenario where this committee sits down and goes over any issues each of the ministries may have with a specific agency or the process in general prior to issuing the approvals.

It may be that this committee have met and determined that there was some information that is absent from the documentation packet. It was suggested by someone on the FRUA forum that this very information the MOE is now requesting is often asked by regional judges at adoption court dates. Isn't it then plausible that before they open the flood gates of adoptions that they make sure everyone from the judges to those four key ministries (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, etc.) are all happy and on the same page?

And that too should be considered in this analysis (being on the same page I mean). The Russian federal government and regional governments are in some ways like the U.S. federal government and the state governments. I mean that they both think they are more important than the other. Thus this request could just be some thing that this committee (which is federal) is trying to standardize across the regions.

I am far from an eternal optimist and am pretty pissed off that this has come up now. However, I actually believe it shows that accreditations are in fact imminent. Prior to my beloved retirement I was at Sun Microsystems and was fortunate to be part of a few of very high level agreements which span the company's divisions. And in every case there was always one or two minor amendments or things that needed clarification or rectification prior to the final agreement being set in stone. That, I'm afraid, is the way of bureaucracy.
posted by Steveg @ 1:42 PM  
  • At 7:20 PM, Blogger Suz said…

    Steve, I believe you very well may be right on this one. I've just had a hunch that we're going to go along thinking all this news is terrible, then out of the blue good news will come.

    I think the scenario you paint is very likely.

  • At 9:05 PM, Blogger mother said…

    It is really hard to wait, and it almost seems like they are throwing up roadblocks, but I think it won't be too long. Your reasoning makes sense to me, let's hope it makes sense to them.
    Love, Mother

  • At 9:07 PM, Blogger mother said…

    Oh yes, the gardening set is relly cute.
    Love again, Mother

  • At 10:09 PM, Blogger Cristina Warner said…

    Russia works in mysterious ways. Russia is a vast country, with really old-fashioned methods of getting things done. It's all about who you are, who you know, and covering your ass since you don't want to lose your coveted, well-paying government job (hmm, sounds familiar). What I do know from experience, is that when they decide to move, they do and things happen quickly. My take for what it's worth? They were unprepared after coming back from Christmas and New Years vacations for the workload and backlog. I was shocked that they actually gave themselves a deadline (and 90 days). I think they are trying to save face as in the nth hour someone told a higher up they won't possibly be able to complete the reviews/accreditations for all agencies within the previously set and publicly announced timeframes. Hence, the manufactured loophole.

  • At 9:16 AM, Blogger B said…

    I am hoping you are right. It would be nice if this was the only request and things progressed nicely. Oh and I loved the gardening set, it is too cute!! nice buy.!

  • At 10:05 AM, Blogger Jim said…

    Steve - People caught in the wait are very sensitive to any little thing right now. I think the biggest mistake people have made is to assume that "the clock" resets with each new document request. It certainly might, but we don't know that for certain. I think that those who assume it resets are more prone to see each announcement negatively, while those who don't are less likely to panic. Anyway, I like your analysis. It's a little different from mine, but I can tell we are both looking at this in a similar way.

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I'm Steve and this is my wife Stefanie. This is our story, mostly seen through my eyes, of the journey to create our family by adopting a child from Russia.

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