On December 21st, 2012, Vladimir Putin signed into law a ban on all international adoptions. It came as a shock to the international adoption community. There could be a long-lasting effect on thousands of Russian orphans and the Bill has left countless American families in a state of grief and uncertainty. There are currently 1,500 American families in the middle of the Russian adoption process. It is thought that there are at least 200 American families that, not only have been matched with a child in Russia, but have traveled to meet their child. Bonding has already taken place. Promises have already been made to these vulnerable little children.
In a report from CBS news, Kim and Robert Summers have been matched with an 18 month old toddler. They have traveled twice to Russia to get to meet and hold their little boy. They have already fallen deeply in love with the cuddly red head. The family has decided to name him Preston. This recent news has pulled the rug out from under their future.
Josh and Jenni Johnston, in an interview with CNN, talked lovingly about their little girl in Russia. Anastasia is four years old and HIV positive. The chances of her ever being adopted by a Russia family are slim. They already know and love little Anastasia. Jenni has spent time as a volunteer for an international charity and knows firsthand the uphill battle orphans, like Anastasia will face. They have taken classes to learn about her culture and are ready to carry the financial and emotional burden of parenting an HIV positive child. “We just hope everything works out so we can bring her home,” says a tearful Josh.
Russia has remained a popular destination for international adoptions. Over the last twenty years, over 60,000 children have been adopted from Russia. In 2011, almost 1,000 children were adopted. This ranks third, only to Ethiopia (1,727 American adoptions) and China (2,589 adoptions). Many families have gone back to Russia several times, to add to their family.
Some mistakenly believe that it is less expensive to adopt internationally. This is just not true. In many countries, several visits are required before an adoption can take place. The costs can range from twenty thousand to over fifty thousand dollars. Others believe that adopting from overseas guarantees a healthier child. Again, this is a false assumption. It is common place to see children adopted from Russia and other countries with fetal alcohol syndrome, drug effects and delays due to severe neglect.
With American adoptions, the issues are usually revealed as soon as the child is born. Most birth mothers in the United States receive health care throughout their pregnancies. They are given food vouchers and nutritional counseling. Medical issues are dealt with, quickly and professionally.
Some people choose to adopt overseas, because the future is bleak for these children. In this case, they are right. For those that age out of orphanages and care homes, they are left out on the street to fend for themselves. It is a terrible and heartbreaking thought.
So why now? Why would the Russian President support such a measure? Some believe that these orphans are being used as pawns in a much bigger political game. Recently, Obama signed a new law that prohibits Russians (that have a history of civil rights violations) from traveling to the U.S. or investing in real estate in America.
Is Putin’s recent ban a popular one among his countrymen? It depends on who you talk to. Not everyone in Russia is supportive of this decision. Several protestors have been arrested in Moscow, voicing concern and outrage. It has also caused a split in the upper levels of the government. Some high ranking officials have chosen to voice their protest.
This change in policy has shocked many in the U.S. and around the world. There have been on-line petitions started by adoption groups. Adoption blogs are lighting up with concern, not only for the adoptive families, but mainly for the undeserving orphans caught in a political crossfire. What does the future hold for these babies? We can pray for God’s provision over their lives and a swift reversal of this Russian law. Let us know if you have had experience with overseas adoptions. Share on with us your story. Or if you are interested in starting a domestic adoption, visit us at: apply with Lifetime Adoption.