Hello all! Just been lurking for awhile and thought it time to get involved. My wife and I got a call the other day asking permission to send out paperwork to the Astrkhan region. Have any of you been to this region? If so, what was your impression of the region? Any problems or concerns? I do not know much about the Astrakhan region. All we were told is that the child would have a 50% chance of an asian appearance (which we do not care about really). We were told that due to the region things would move faster than in other regions, as in we could be making our first trip as early as August.
Any help, concerns or comments would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the Welcome Agapi!
Thanks for the response Lisa. Congratulations as well on your trip. I assume as I type this response you are on your way! That is very exciting! Thanks for the information. If you don't mind I am sure my wife and I would have some questions about your experiences when you get back. Please let me know if you are willing when you get back, after you are your little boy are rested that is.
Again Best wishes to you!
I went to the city of Astrakhan in March. I don't remember the hotels name, but the other one is closed now. Be prepared for the gypsy women to beg in front of the hotel. The town is poor. There is a nice little mall there. I am adopting an 11 year old girl. The orphange we visited was for the older children. Almost every child was beautiful. Some had asian appearing eyes, but I didn't even think of them being of asian heritage until I read your post. Most of them seem to look like Russians. The regian was originaly populated by gypsy's I believe.
This adoption process is very taxing on my family. We took some time initially trying to raise the crazy amount of money we didn't know about. We were very uninformed. We just got a picture of her and decided we needed to adopt her. Then, after the second trip, we were denied by the INS. That took over a month and hiring a lawyer to get past. We were finally approved about five weeks ago. Now, the last I heard was that we are waiting on a court date there. That was weeks ago and it seems my adoption agency doesn't reply to emails. I have NO idea whats going on and getting very discouraged about it.
Good morning Fred, Thanks for the post and the information. I am very sorry to hear of your troubles and your frustrations. My wifes Brother is adopting from Guatamala and has had a terrible time getting contact and answers from the agency they used. They are already paying for the daily care of their two children and have no idea when they will get the little boy and little girl. They get a video tape every month or two (for the last year).
My wife and I have not had many troubles. Just waiting for the call now and taking care of Visas.
Again I am sorry for your problems with the process. You have had a lot to endure. More than most. But be patient and dilligent and all will work out. Your family will be one 11 year old larger! Please let me know any news and I will offer any support I can.
Best Wishes!
We have been assigned to the Astrakhan Region and currently in the waiting stage for a girl. I have spoke to others from my agency that have had good experiences. Since it is a very poor - I have been told there is really not much to do so bring reading materials and other things to do. I was told, "It is not a place you would vacation at."
We are using Children's Hope International? What agency are you using?
I am patiently waiting for MyHeartsDesire to come back to tell us all about her little guy and her trip.
Waiting since March...
Morning Jo!
I too am waiting for MyHeartsDesire to get back! I was wondered just a bit ago what they were doing over there today.
We are using CHI as well. So far we have had a fantastic relationship with them. We would highly recommend them to anyone looking for an agency to use.
I have not been able to find much info on the Astrakhan Region. Even on the internet. Basic statistics mostly. If you have any web sources for info please let me know.
I guess since you are waiting for a girl you will have a longer wait. We could not specify sex dues to our combined ages, which generally means we wil get boy I would wager.
Please keep in touch and I will share any Astrakhan info I find if you are interested.
Best Wishes!
I don't have any words of wisdom about Astrakhan , but all the children in all regions are little angels just waiting for loving homes. Best of luck to you.
My dh and I just got back from Astrakhan about two weeks ago. It was our first trip, and we are waiting to hear about a court date. Our little girl is ADORABLE! (although I may be a little biased lol). She just turned 6 months when we were there, although I had her referral since she was two months. (It was a LONG wait!) She is considered Asian (Kazak), but she has fair skin and brown fuzzy hair. You can tell she is Asian from her eyes. Most of the children at that orphanage looked similar to her . . . I wish I could take them all :-)
She is at the main orphanage baby house. The orphanage is very clean, and the people seem to care for the children. We stayed in Astrakhan for a week, and were able to visit her often - usually from 10 - 12 and then from 3 to 6 (although a few nights we stayed much later). The director was VERY nice, and she even had us over to her house for a BIG dinner with her family.
For hotels, we also stayed at the Victoria. It was very nice, but expensive . . . and they are raising their rates even more. It was closed down for a while, and it just reopened. We will be staying at the Korvet next time.
As far as the city goes, don't expect much. It surprised us to walk through the rubble and enter what looked like a building to be torn down to find very nice restaurants and shopping areas. They have some very fancy restaurants, and a very nice new mall. You can find ANYTHING you want there . . . so you can pack light.
There also is another chat room on yahoo for people adopting from Astrakhan - you might find it interesting.
Let me know if you have any other questions, and congrats!!!
The Korvet is where I stayed. It was pretty nice with breakfast included. Our room was on the backside where the view is if a ghetto looking scene. I suggest asking for a room on the front side. It overlooks the river.
The city was very dumpy looking. That was in March. I imagine with flowers and trees bloomed by now it may look a little better. The old city (kremlin) is a must visit. Especially if you are new to traveling outside of the states.
The grocery store in the new mall is great. I bought two bags of groceries and 5 bottles of vodka (local) for about $17. What a steal.
The orphanage we went to (older children there), was dull looking from the outside. The inside was awesome. That director should be running the city there. Most of the children I saw were very good looking and better yet they all had great hearts. I wanted to take them all home. My 9 year old son has a new girlfriend from there. It was so cute. They write each other often.
We are adopting an 11 year old girl. My wife got a call answered at the agency. Seems she is in the dark as far as when our court date will be. A frustrating wait. Its like being in the car as a child. Are we there yet? Our girl wrote us once since. She says "I wait for you" We have written back several times. But I know she is in good hands.
I suspect we will have to stay at the Korvet rather than the nicer places just due to the expense. Out agency quoted us about $55 per night in Astrkhan. sounds like they were pretty far off. I will remember what you said about the view of the river. We would certainly like that better!
Glad you got in touch with your ageny. Sorry they had no knews for you. Are We There YET?
I am so glad you get to write your daughter!
Did you make your own reservations at the Korvet?
The agency made the reservations for me. I thought it was more than $55 a night. I could be wrong though. The hotel room was very nice. My son and I enjoyed it. The is a fridge, foyer, living room, bathroom and bedroom. The beds themselves were not very good. We slept on the floor the first night. I think the only english television station was bbc news channel. We still sing the same commercial they played over and over.
In Russia, it seems as though there is hotel staff on every floor. They want you to turn in your key to the floor staff everytime you leave. This hotel always had several men standing around the lobby all day. I think they were security. We felt very safe the whole time. Can't say as much about flying on Aeroflot. The hotel wanted to be paid in full up front in Rubles. I suggest exchanging at a bank in Moscow while you are there. You will get better rates than at the hotels.
The gypsy women will be all over you right out the front door of the hotel. We just keep yelling NYET!!! There are stray dogs everywhere there. Daniel and I went for a good walk one morning and lost track of how many dogs there are. There were more than a dozen just laying in the front yard of the orphanage when we pulled up.
Our driver there was top notch. I hope we get him again. Can't say as much about our driver in Moscow. He drove like a madman and told our interpreter that he was insulted because we put our
seat belts on. That it showed we didn't trust him. Astrakhan does have some nice restaurants.
The hotel does not seem to have a breakfast menu. You just sit and eat what they bring you. It was pretty good food though.
I have some pics I could email if you would like.
Love to see any picts you have. thank you so very much for your advice and comments!
I figured breakfast would be a challenge for me anyway as I do not care for eggs and everywhere I have ever been where a full breakfast has been included was all about eggs.
I hope the dogs look at least basically healthy. My wife will not handle it well if the dogs are sickly. She will want to adopt them too!
How much money did you take to Astrakhan?
I'll get you off some pics. The breakfast there consisted of rice, peas, fruit, ham, bread, desert, an egg....there was plenty.
The dogs all look surprisingly good, especially since I went in March at the end of their winter.
I took about $2500 on that trip and it seemed to be plenty of money. Food there was very inexpensive. That paid for hotels, transportation, food, drivers, interpreter and we took out the social worker, interpreter, our future daughter for lunch for four days and went to the aquarium and animal sanctuary and we bought plenty of presents and candy for the orphans.
One thing else I remember, don't bother to stand in any lines. There are none. People just cut infront of you everywhere. I was very surprised. Also the people at the stores don't take cash from your hands or give it directly to you. There is always a little bowl by the register. Use that.
Everyone says to pack light. I know that you have to pay for extra luggage and/or pounds going into Astrakhan. I wanted to know if anyone noticed if there were washer machines in Astrakhan.
And how about Internet Connections?
Any info is greatly appreciated.
Married: 05/02/98
4 years ttc & 2 failed IVF's
Sent in application - 10-03-03
Sent in I-600A - 10-24-03
Homestudy completed - 12/24/03
Homestudy received - 01/21/04
Fingerprinting for INS - 02/10/04
Received the I171-H - 02/25/04
Assigned to Astrakhan region - 03/08/04
Dossier sent to region - 03/12/04
Waiting for the CALL..
I took $2500 on our 1st trip and brought home about $900 of it. We took $3500 on our 2nd trip and only brought back about $600. Everything is more expensive in the summer. We loved the Korvet. We thought it was cozy and the rooms were so much better than the Palace. The folks were nice, but not many spoke English. Breakfast is included in both hotels...the Palace is a buffet, the Korvet is whatever they're serving. We got yogurt, bread, cold cuts and cheese and tea or coffee everyday. The main dish varied and I didn't always like it (twice it was fried fish and once it was fish pizza). The Palace said their internet was "broken" so we couldn't use it. The Korvet allowed us to use the internet but racked up a bill on our room charge whether the internet actually connected or not....we really got cheated with this charge. There is an internet cafe somewhere so you might try to use it instead. If you're using CHI, you do not HAVE to bring gifts. In fact, their paperwork says that the regional coordinater could be fired if she accepts one. I asked and they said I could take her a small one if I wanted to but that they pay them well and it's not required. We only took gifts for her (pen/pencil set) and the 2 interpreters (hand bags w/ some chocolate inside) and then tipped the driver a little money. They will have you buy the orphanage a gift while there (we were asked to buy a stereo...about $300) and then part of your fee to CHI will be a donation to the orphanage as well. They will also ask you to take the orphanage director a flower arrangement when you pick up your child...about $35. If you have anymore questions, just let me know.