As the headlines tell of yet another wrinkle in the tug-of-war between the U.S. and Russia over adoption and human rights, sadly the children there are the ones who will continue to suffer. The latest story to fuel the Kremlin’s anti-adoption stance is the death of a three-year-old adopted Russian boy in Texas. The case is currently under investigation by local authorities.
Sadly, Russia is using rare circumstances to broadly paint U.S. adoptive parents as unfit and unsuitable to adopt waiting children from the orphanages. Sadly, the children who are not adopted and age out of the system will face a future far worse than that of the vast majority of adopted Russian children who have opportunities, medical treatment, and loving families here in the U.S.
Here are just a few of the shocking statistics (from Big Family Russian Orphan Ministry):
- Russian children “age out” of the system at age 15 or 16, with little education or job training. Many are quickly frustrated and turn to alcohol and drugs.
- 9 out of 10 children who age out end up criminals or prostitutes
- 95% of orphans are “social orphans”, meaning they actually have at least one living parent but have been abandoned due to the parent’s addiction, imprisonment, or poverty.
Russian adoptions have now been halted indefinitely. This is one of the more expensive countries to adopt from ($40,000 to $60,000) yet has remained consistently popular with U.S. adopters due to the relatively short wait for Caucasian toddlers and children. Many families were in progress but are now left to wait, hope, and pray that the child they have been waiting for will still come home one day.
If you are considering international adoption, please realize that what has happened in Russia can happen to ANY country. We’ve seen it in China with added restrictions and rules that added years to the wait, in Guatemala where unethical practices have cast doubt on an entire generation of adopted children, and Haiti when the earthquake devastated the entire infrastructure. This is an adoption risk that families should take into consideration when evaluating their choices.
I address these concerns in my book, Called to Adoption: The Christian’s Guide to Answering the Call. It is of special significance to those families considering the need for orphan care.
Please ensure your choices are educated and that you know the risks going into any adoption.