Moscow to Manhattan: Russian Adoption Ban puts Focus on American Abuse

Happy New Year!

I have been mulling over the Russian adoption news announced in late December, and after two weeks of contemplation, here’s my take on the situation. As most of you have heard by now, Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has banned the adoption of Russian children to US residents.

President Vladimir Putin

President Vladimir Putin

The Wall Street Journal reports that the adoption ban was “pushed through parliament to retaliate for a new U.S. law aimed at punishing alleged Russian human-rights violators.” Reportedly, Putin also considered recent cases of American’s returning adopted children when they could not cope, and the killing of 19 Russia adoptees in American homes.

In February, I blogged on the news that a  Tennessee woman put her Russian born adopted 7-year-old on a plane back to Russia, due to his violent behavior, and the death of Nathanial Craver,  a 7-year old Russian adoptee killed by his adoptive parents.  In that post, I suggested that all countries require etxtensive psychological testing for prospective adoptive parents.

While I feel horrible for the fifty or so families who were in the process of adopting from Russia, when Putin pulled the rug on the adoption process, I feel worse for the 19 murdered Russian children who were sent to live in our great country, where parents are purported to be superior and the opportunities abundant. Those orphans left Russia with the same heart hope that every abandoned child carries, and landed in the killing fields of poorly monitored US adoptive homes.

Child abuse is rampant in America. Monitoring and background checks of prospective adoptive families are lax, and even long term monitoring would not expose all the demon parents out there. However, more needs to be done.

Just because you happen to be American, and want a kid does not automatically entitle you to adopt one. Adoptive parents should be held to high standards, because they are raising a child already damaged by abandonment.  I think Putin saw a political opportunity, and used it to his advantage, but it was America’s plague of abuse, and lack of child justice that made it easy for him to do so.

Some statistics from the National children’s Alliance:

  • Nearly five children die every day in America from abuse and neglect.
  • In 2010, an estimated 1,560 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States.
  • In the same year, Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country served over 266,000 child victims of abuse, providing victim advocacy and support to these children and their families. In 2011, this number was over 279,000.

Blessings for a safe, just and honorable new year,
UPDATE 1/11/13: Washinton Post reports that Putin’s ban on American adoption will not go into effect for one year. This could mean that adoptions already approved by Russian courts will be completed. It would be interesting to follow the adoptions that do go through to see how many are healthy and successful for the children.


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