Frequently Asked Questions, Page 2

How many children have been adopted from Kazakhstan in the US?
The following figures are from the US Department of State (DOS) Visa Statistics [external link], US DOS Intercountry Adoption [external link] (for world numbers and other countries) and International Adoptions from Kazakhstan [external link].

Fiscal Year IR-3 Visas IR-4 Visas Total Visas Ranking World Total
1996 0 1 1 not listed 10,641
1997 23 3 26 not listed 12,746
1998 44 10 54 not listed 15,774
1999 110 3 113 > than 12th 16,363
2000 394 4 398 10th 17,718
2001 657 15 672 8th 19,237
2002 799 20 819 6th 20,099
2003 803 22 825 5th 21,616
2004 823 3 826 5th 22,911
2005 755 0 755 6th 22,728
2006 587 0 587 6th 20,679
2007 540 0 540 8th 19,613
2008 380 0 380 8th 17,438
2009 298 0 298 10th 12,753
2010 182 0 182 11,100

Notes about data in the table:
*IR-3 visas are issued to orphans adopted abroad (most families).
*IR-4 visas are issued to orphans brought to the US and then "readopted".
*Ranking: top countries of origin; China has been 1st since 2000, Russia (1st in 1997-1999, 3rd in 2006-2007, 2nd the other years, 3rd in 2009 and 2010), S. Korea (3rd in 1995-2001, 4th 2002-2006 and 2009-2010) and Guatemala (4th 1997-2001, 3rd 2002-2005, 2nd in 2006-2007, 5th in 2009); Ethiopa is on the rise (in the bottom ten from 2000-03, 9th on 2004, 7th in 2005, 5th in 2006, 2nd in 2009 and 2010).
*World Total: total number of orphans adopted abroad by US citizens.
*In January 1999 a law went into effect that recognized adoption by foreigners and required a court proceeding. Prior to that date, the law did not mention foreign adoptions as either legal or illegal; foreign adoptions were approved by local administrators (akims).
*Through the 2009 fiscal year there have been a total of 6228 orphans adopted from Kazakhstan by US citizens.

I want to make a baby book/lifebook for my child, but I can't find anything appropriate for international adoption.
Each of the companies below have adoption and/or multicultural products. Many of these now have a "Kazakhstan" sticker that is flanked by flags. Some offer products for single parents.

How can I organize all the suggestions I find on the e-mail lists?
The amount of information you can find on the various e-mail lists can be overwhelming. The Yahoo groups are at least archived, but wading through lots of old messages can be time consuming and frustrating. Create a word processing document, then copy and paste what you want to keep into it, making categories as you accumulate information. The categories might include: travel (airlines, airports, travel agents, hotels, restaurants, etc.), medical (adoption specialists, resources, terminology, etc.), post-adoption (social security, citizenship, readoption). Make as many pages as you need to enable you to find the information quickly when you need it. Organize your online links the same way into folders in your favorite browser.

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Any suggestions on what to do while I am waiting on paperwork or to travel?

  • Cook meals and put them in the freezer for those days after you come home and just don't feel like cooking. There is even a Yahoo group Friendly-Freezer [external link].
  • Do spring cleaning, even if it is the dead of winter. It may be a long time before you will have much free time. Have the house painted, carpets cleaned, what ever needs to be done. Also do a safety check as appropriate for the age of child: gates on stairs, cabinet latches, lock up guns, etc.
  • Prepare the child's room. If you are adopting an older child, leave some things that they can have a say in what it looks like. Keep it simple.
  • Shop: like I have to tell you to do this. Be cautious in buying clothing; it is sometimes difficult to figure out exactly what size to buy, and your child may experience rapid growth when he/she comes home. Don't go overboard buying toys: children raised in orphanages are not used to having anything and could easily get overwhelmed.
  • Find a pediatrician. Check out the FAQ How do I find a pediatrician?.
  • Make sure your immunizations are up to date. For example, Hepatitis takes multiple shots over 6 months.
  • If you will need childcare, get friends and neighbors suggestions and visit day care centers.
  • If your child is school-age, visit the school and discuss language issues, etc., and find out what resources they have available to help your child.
  • Talk to neighbors and friends to get names of baby sitters. You may not want to leave your child with someone else for a while, but you want to be prepared when the time comes.
  • Join an online mother's group in your child's age group; it will give you a good idea of the range of normal behavior and development. Try iVillage Parenting [external link] or Baby Center [external link].
  • Acquire orphanage donations and gifts. If people want to help you with this, collect money instead of goods: easier to transport, will allow you to purchase what the orphanage really needs, and will support the local economy. Related FAQ: Does anyone have suggestions on what to take for gifts?
  • Talk to your bank about obtaining new currency for your trip. For more information, go to the FAQ Is it safe to carry all that money?
  • Make a list of everyone that you want to bring a souvenir back for. I did not do this and ended up forgetting a few people.
  • Start your packing list. For suggestions, see the Packing section.
  • Download applications for a social security number and a citizenship certificate. Research readoption in your state.
  • Check with your insurance company about how to add your child to health insurance. Prepare to add your new child to your will.
  • Find out what programs are available locally for children, such as museums, swimming lessons and day camps.
  • Exercise. You will do a lot of walking in Kazakhstan, so get used to it now. Climb stairs. If you are adopting a small child, work out your arms. Carry around a 5 lb. then 10 lb. sack of flour, put it in a snugglie.
  • Learn Russian. You should at least learn the alphabet (so that you can sound out street names) and common phrases (please, yes, no, thank you); The people in Kazakhstan will be pleased if you can learn these in Kazakh as well. The older your child is, the more important it is to try and learn some of their language. Look in the Language section for hints and resources on learning Russian and Kazakh.
  • If you have children that you are leaving at home, make living arrangements for them. If they are going to be staying somewhere else, have them spend the weekend there while you are still at home, to see how it goes. Tape yourself reading stories. If you decide to leave something for them to do every day (open a note, hang a paper chain, etc.), be sure that you leave extras in case your return is delayed. Write a medical power of attorney: FAQ Is there a legal document to give a caregiver authorization for medical treatment?
  • Order or create adoption announcements. Address the envelopes so that they are ready to send when you get back.
  • Look into an online photo album, such as Shutterfly, so that you can share the pictures of your new child. Look in the Shopping section for other companies that offer this service.
  • Sign up for free baby stuff and coupons. The company websites often have tons of information, especially useful for first time parents. You can do an internet search and find many sites that offer free coupons and products for children and parents; some of the offers have time limits. For babies: Similac [external link] (Ross Labs), Family Beginnings [external link] (from Mead Johnson, makers of Enfamil), Pampers [external link], Huggies [external link], Gerber food/Nestle Good Start [external link], and Heinz food [external link].
  • Start reading books on Kazakhstan, parenting, adoption. Look in the Bookstore for suggestions.
  • Other lists of suggestions are available from Blisstree.com [external link] (blog) and in an excerpt from the book [external link] Adopting a Toddler.
  • Read other blogs (Families) and think about what pictures you would like to have and make a list.

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What should I apply for first - proof of citizenship or a social security number? I would recommend getting the proof of citizenship first. If you apply for the SSN first, your child will be listed as an alien resident. You will then need to go back once you have the proof of citizenship to get them to change the status (this is only done in the computer; you won't get a new card or number) in their records. If it is close to the time that you need to file your income taxes, then you would need to get the SSN first. Go to the Post Adoption page for details on social security numbers and citizenship. As of January 2004, the USCIS is automatically mailing the Certificate of Citizenship.

My child weighs xxxx and is xxxx tall. What size of clothes and shoes should I buy? Children's clothes are sized no better than women's clothes; in other words, brands are not uniform in sizing: a size 10 in one brand is not the same as a size 10 in another. The best thing is to go by weight/height rather than age; this is true for any child, but especially for international adoption. For some examples of sizes, try one of the following sites.

I want to breastfeed my adopted child. Keep in mind that most of these deal with newborns.

Will the airport x-rays damage my film? DO NOT put any undeveloped film - exposed or not - in your checked luggage. The x-ray machines that they may use to scan checked luggage can damage your film in one pass. Multiple passes through the x-ray machine used for carry-on bags may damage the film. Either purchase your film at your destination and/or have it developed over there. Another alternative is to ask for a hand inspection of the film. Put all your film in a clear bag and hand it to a screener. In the US, they are required to do it if asked, overseas they may not be as cooperative. I have done this many times traveling in the Caribbean and have never been refused. Even if you can avoid having the film scanned only a few times, it will still decrease the possibility of x-ray damage. Do not take any videotape through the magnetic screening door as it will damage it the first time; the x-rays will not hurt it, so send it through with the rest of your carry-ons. Digital cameras and pictures on CDs are also not affected. For further information, see the following articles: X-ray Fog [external link] and Baggage X-ray Scanning Effects on Film [external link] from Kodak, Transportation Security Administration [external link], and from the New York Institute of Photography [external link]. You can do an internet search and find many examples of film ruined by the x-ray.

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Page last updated on 19 December 2009.

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