ELKOST International Literary Agency

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Children of Rogozhin

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Rights sold to: Russia - VREMYA, France - NOIR SUR BLANC, World English - Amazon Publishing, Italy - ODOYA

Longlisted for the 2013 NOS Award


Nadia Guerman’s Children of Rogozhin is a psychological suspense thriller based on a true story. Novel reveals a deep-hidden secrets of probably the most cruel and cynical business in modern Russia, a corrupt schemes of international adoption.

Novel’s main character Nina is a fresh Moscow University graduate; she’s writing her thesis work and combines academic studies with short-time Russian-Spanish interpreting jobs. When she’s accidentally hired by Spanish family, Nina accompanies them to provincial city of Rogozhin where the family is to adopt a child from local orphanage.

When in Rogozhin, Nina makes friends with young and ambitious international adoption agent Ksenia, and gradually gets involved into adoption business and sets aside her academic career. Slowly she learns that a humanistic activity of international adoption is reduced to a mere money-making, overfilled with corruption and bribery, and aimed to suck money out of naive foreign adopters. She meets immoral functionaries of provincial state orphanages in which children live in poverty and are treated as human commodities. Dozens of wrecked lives of poor orphans pass before her eyes, as well as lives of foreign adopters ready to overcome any difficulty to get a child, even a most ill and helpless one.

Nina’s life gradually fills up with a continuous psychological stress. She’s afraid of a possible revenge of business owner they’ve dumped; she feels guilt and looks for excuses in vindication of her involvement into this dirty business. Her worst fears turn into a reality quite soon: Nina and Ksenia are denunciated for forgery of documentation; their corrupt partners from city administration refuse any contacts and deny any connection to their case. Abrupt murder of business owner followed by a series of staggering revelations presents Nina with a dilemma: to continue with adoption business or to quit and begin a new life.

Children of Rogozhin exposes a dirty background of international adoption schemes, discloses difficulties and challenges associated with international adoption in Russia, and depicts fraud and corruption accompanying it. Novel’s plot is based on author’s personal experience as an interpreter for foreign adopters in Russia. Nadia Guerman holds readers on the razor’s edge with swift pacing, abundance of detail, unexpected plot twists and several surprises; her bright literary talent and profound understanding of physiological motivations of all parties involved make her debut novel a real page-turner.


  • Russia and China are two primary countries from which US and EU citizens adopt.
  • Adopters come to Russia from US (51%), Spain (19%), Italy (11%), France (6%), etc.
  • Adoptions from Russia have grown exponentially since the Soviet Union dissolved. In 2001, thirteen times as many children were adopted from Russia as when it was newly independent in 1992.
  • Married couples and single women over the age of 25 are accepted for Russian adoption. Prospective parents are required to travel to Russia at least two times during the adoption process.
  • Foreigners who adopt Russian orphans typically pay up to $40,000 in agency fees, travel expenses, and legal and translation costs. Experts say that problems cropping up for prospective parents in Russia have been encountered elsewhere.
  • Some 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by foreigners over the past decade. The Russian figures have spiked in recent years, with more than 10,000 international adoptions in 2006.