Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Russian-American Adoptions

I wanted to take some time and focus on some Russian issues. As some readers may recall, in April 2010, a woman in Tennessee created an international uproar when she sent her seven year old boy on a plane back to Russia with a note saying that he was psychologically unstable. The Russian government demanded a child adoption treaty citing seventeen cases of death of Russian children by their adoptive parents since 1995. I am happy to report that the two governments came to an agreement last week that will allow adoptions from Russia to the United States to continue, albeit under tighter conditions. First, All U.S. adoption agencies will be obliged to meet the requirements of the 2008 Hague Adoption Convention in order to work in Russia. Unregistered independent “mediators” will be banned from handling adoptions. Most significantly, children adopted from Russia will retain dual citizenship until the age of eighteen where previously they were stripped of Russian citizenship upon being adopted. In addition U.S. social services will monitor families for a period of three years following adoption with the adoption agency monitoring the family until the child reaches age eighteen. Credit http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/green-light-for-adoptions-yellow-light-for-visas/440497.html

I believe overall, that this is a solid agreement that benefits everyone. This way were not left with a stateless child at the airport in Moscow and hopefully with increased monitoring, any physical or psychological issues can be reported before we have incidents like those that occurred in April 2010. Russians need to understand that most Americans who adopt children from Russia are well intentioned, good people. Unfortunately, this one incident received so much press. You could probably have found a hundred stories of Russian children happy and well cared for by their American family. But prospective American families need to understand that the Russian orphanage system is brutal and no child is going to get out of it without needing major psychological counseling that can be very expensive. The orphanages there are overcrowded, understaffed, it’s going to take a lifetime of love and commitment to undo the damage such unfortunate conditions cause, and its’ a commitment not every American family is physically and psychologically prepared for.

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