Saturday, 29th December 2012
A QUESTION OF FOREIGN ADOPTION – A ban restricting US adoptions of Russian children is ready and waiting to be signed by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. According to American news sources this is directed towards the US President Barack Obama who recently signed the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act. Sergei Magnitsky was a hedge-fund lawyer who exposed corruption among Russian officials and was then imprisoned, where he died. Differing accounts have him being beaten and starved to death by guards while in prison, some say at the order of those in higher authority. The law calls for the prosecution of Russian officials guilty of corruption and believed to violate human rights.
Putin argues that the ban is not based solely on politics but a statement on national preservation. The ban, known as the Dima Yakovlev Law came into existence after the senseless death of a 2 year old who died of heat stroke after his adoptive American father left him in a closed car for several hours. There have been 19 deaths in recent years and we all remember the young 7 year old who was sent back to Moscow alone. The US is under scrutiny by Russia, and perhaps we should take a long, hard look at ourselves as well.
Once a nation that held honesty and integrity woven with high morals and family values America has been on a slow decline toward instability. With reduced family values resulting in high divorce rates and teen pregnancies, coupled with prostitution, pornography and pedophilia we have become the antithesis of all that was good. Add to this the frequency of school shootings, crime, poverty, with a government that is going bankrupt and there is no doubt that the US is not the great country it once was.
With over 60,000 adoptions from Russia in the last 20 years Putin has every reason to examine where the children of his country are going and what their future may be. Even if many of these children are never adopted, they will have the benefit of being raised in their homeland, with their language, customs and traditions. It has been pointed out that Russia has no opportunities available for handicapped children in place and that they are the ones who will suffer the most. Putin has said that he will be re-vamping the system to provide better care for the children. I would hope that the intent behind this Russian ban is not politically motivated, but the timing seems to imply that it is. We will find out soon enough, and I pray that the children will not be found in the crossfire.
Russia is not alone in its concerns. China who also sees a great many American adoption began re-evaluating their standards so that adoptive parents must be married and under the age of 50, meet financial and educational guidelines, not be obese, or have taken anti-depressants within the past two years. After these guidelines were put in place, China saw a 50% decrease in adoptions. Vietnam, Cambodia, Ethiopia and other African countries have all initiated restrictions on American adoptions over the last 10 years.
Foreign adoptions are high in America. Children from Aids-infested villages, war-torn orphans and the discarded have become a symbol of charity and goodwill. Babies are abundant in foreign countries and until recently were easier and cheaper to adopt. At one time it was reported that there were more families applying for foreign adoptions than there were children under 2. Without serious changes to our own adoption system, there will not be a turnaround anytime soon.
It is a sad fact that most American families considering adoption desire either a Caucasian or foreign baby. Most of the children in America who need adopting are African American. We are not adopting our own, but they are being adopted by families in Canada and Western Europe.
As for the families who still would like to adopt, why not adopt American? I understand the emotion behind wanting to give a child from a poor country a better life; one filled with hope and promise. I understand the desire for a baby over an older child, but really, don’t they all desire a chance for the security a family can give? There are thousands of neglected and abandoned children within our own borders that would also love to have a warm home and a loving family. Don’t our children deserve at least that much?
The Russian bill also calls for the closure of non-government organizations receiving funding by the US if their activities are considered political.