Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ban on US-Russian Adoptions Would Have ‘Dire Consequences’ - Consider Ukrainian Adoption

Russia's Children's Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov called for
the ban on foreign adoptions of Russian children at a hearing
before Russian lawmakers in Moscow on US human rights issues. The
bilateral agreement 2 years in the making has just gone into
force Nov. 1st, yet the Russians continue to threaten to close
adoptions to foreigners and the US. Sadly, the most dire
consequences would be for the tens of thousands of Russian
orphans that need loving homes.

By Maria Young for RIA Novosti

A call by a Russian child rights official to halt foreign
adoptions of Russian children, including in the United States,
would result in more harm to a greater number of children, said
US adoption experts Monday.

Russia's Children's Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov called for
the ban Monday at a hearing before Russian lawmakers in Moscow on
US human rights issues.

Astakhov said the $1.5 billion adoption industry attracts
unscrupulous people and that concerns over the future of orphans
"are all lies."

Astakhov's call to ban foreign adoptions comes just as an
exhaustive,bilateral agreement between the US and Russiato
dramatically improve the adoption system is set to begin.

"Why we would just throw that away doesn't make any sense," said
Kathleen Strottman, executive director of the Congressional
Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), a non-profit organization
that works with policy makers to remove barriers to safe,
successful adoptions.

"The two governments have been working in earnest for two years
to address the concerns. This is a very solid agreement that will
improve the outcomes for children," Strottman said.

The US-Russian adoption agreement, signed into law in Russia by
President Vladimir Putin and set to be phased in beginning
November 1, mandates a number of changes including more screening
and training for adoptive parents, and greater scrutiny

The US and Russia put the agreement into place "to promote
stronger safeguards for adoptive children and parents in the
inter-country adoption process," said a US State Department
official not authorized to speak on the record.

The official added that it incorporates several fundamental
principles of the Hague Adoption Convention, which Russia has not
signed. That agreement signed by 89 countries, including the
United States, sets standards for international adoptions, and
puts safeguards into place to prevent the abduction, sale and
trafficking of children.

Russian officials claim at least 19 Russian children have died
following abuse by American foster parents since adoption of
Russian children in the US began in the early 1990s.

Since 1999, parents in the US have adopted more than 45,000
Russian children, including 962 children adopted last year.

The numbers are down in part because of more than a dozen
high-profile adoption abuse cases.

A father in the US, who left his adopted toddler son in a hot car
to die, was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, a
ruling that infuriated many Russian officials.

They were also outraged when an American woman decided the
7-year-old boy she had adopted had too many emotional problems
and put him on a plane back to Russia unaccompanied.

"That was the final straw that led to this agreement," said Chuck
Johnson, president of the National Council for Adoption, a
non-profit advocacy group that works to promote a culture of

But he adds, with an estimated 700,000 children in orphanages or
other state-run care facilities, the idea that Russia can serve
the needs of its institutionalized children without an
international adoption process doesn't work.

"They have an orphan epidemic in their country," said Johnson.
"Inter-country adoption will never be the cure but it is a viable
solution, a viable option."

Strottman said an increasing number of Russian orphans have been
institutionalized in Russia for longer times, and more of them
have been exposed to alcohol and other substance abuse, factors
that lead to significant physical, emotional, social and
developmental delays, and make adoptions very challenging for
both parents and children.

"As we have learned more about the needs of these children who
are adopted, we are better able to prepare adoptive parents," she

Adoption Services International unites loving US families with
Ukrainian children. We provide a unique combination of
professional, individualized, quality service (including a
maximum guaranteed adoption fee), personal adoption experience,
affordable local cost and 20 years Ukrainian experience.

If you or someone you love would like to expand your family,
provide a permanent home for a needy orphaned child, welcome a
sibling for an existing child or discover an alternative for
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adoption, Adoption Services International can help.


Upcoming Events:

Ukrainian Adoption 101:

Conversation On International Adoption: Opportunity, Process,
Concerns and Questions

Monday, November 12, 2012 6:00-7:00PM

Location: Califon Book Store: 72 Main Street, Califon, New Jersey

Ukrainian Adoption Information Meeting

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:00-8:00PM

Location: Wellness Rocks: 133 Rupell Road, Clinton, New Jersey

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