July 29th, 2008 at 11:14 am
DALLAS – Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services received its official accreditation certificate from Russian authorities July 28, completing a two-year process that caused Buckner to suspend Russia adoptions until the notification was received.
“We are so thrilled to receive this good news,” said Debbie Wynne, director of Buckner Adoption. “Russia is our oldest international adoption program, so it’s a privilege to be able to continue serving these children and to find them loving homes.”
“It has been a long process, but we’re so thankful to the Russian government for working with us to get to this point,” said Albert Reyes, president of Buckner Children and Family Services. “Having this accreditation means Buckner is able to provide loving homes for Russian orphans.”
In May 2006, Buckner Adoption’s annual accreditation expired. Laws required Buckner to file paperwork as an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Russia before re-accreditation would be renewed, Wynne explained. From that point, the Ministry of Education had to review paperwork and receive signatures from multiple government agencies in regions across the country.
There are currently 38 U.S. adoption agencies accredited to facilitate international adoptions from Russia.
“The good news about all of this is that Russia passed a law which provides accredited adoption agencies with a non-expiring certificate,” Wynne said. “We used to have to re-apply for accreditation each year.”
With the non-expiring certificate comes much stricter regulations and close monitoring to assure adoption agencies are working with utmost integrity, she said.
“It has been our goal all along to continue to operate with the highest standards in adoption,” she said. “We want to show them that they made a good decision.”
There are currently 20 families who have waited for more than two years with Buckner to adopt children in Russia.
Felipe Garza, vice president of the ministry and missions group at the Baptist General Convention of Texas-affiliated institution, said his heart goes out to the families who have been waiting for two years to complete adoptions in Russia through Buckner.
“There are 20 families who have been waiting and can now send in their dossier to get started,” he said. “Talk about faith and patience. There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel.”
It is Buckner’s goal to move these families forward in their adoption as quickly as possible, he added.
“Buckner will seek new ways to develop its Russian adoption program to help meet the needs of Russian children,” he said.
Part of the new development includes providing the government with support, education and training to facilitate their own domestic adoption and birth parent counseling programs.
There will be some “starting over,” Wynne explained, to establish new relationships and learn new regulations in the country. “It’s going to take a little time.
“We need prayer to help us move through this transition and re-establish things quickly.”
With more than 700,000 estimated orphans in Russia, there is still a huge need for adoptive families; especially families open to adopting older children and sibling groups.
“Most of the children we see available for adoption are 5 years old or older,” Wynne said.
In addition to facilitating adoptions from Russia, Buckner works with several orphanages, providing consultation, staff development, foster care, and humanitarian aid. Russia was the first country Buckner entered in 1995 when the Dallas-based organization began working outside the United States.