The adoption of a child should be a happy and joyous time for a family as parents see their dreams of having a child become a reality. The Russian government, however, has just passed legislation that will most likely harm many American families who were interested in adopting Russian children, or who are already in the process of adopting a child from that country.
The new bill puts a total ban on Americans adopting Russian children and is believed to be the response of growing tension between the two countries. The adoption legislation follows the heels of a highly controversial law signed by President Obama last month. The US law is in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who uncovered political corruption among several Russian tax officials. Magnitsky was arrested and detained. While in detention, he died. It is strongly believed that his death was the result of the actions of prison officials. The United States’ bill imposes a ban on the entrance into the US by several of the Russian officials involved in the Magnitsky case and prohibits them from using the US banking system. Russia touts its adoption ban as its own human rights’ measure because the bill is named after a Russian child who was adopted by Americans and died in 2008 from neglect. What is the real effect of this new legislation? Well, it certainly won’t stop Americans from participating in international adoptions all together, but it will have an impact. Americans have adopted over 60,000 Russian children in the last 20 years. American adoptions from Russia are third in line after those from China and Ethiopia. This ban will definitely have an impact on Russian children. The US State Department also reports that it will most likely jeopardize the pending adoptions of 46 children. While, the adoptive parents of those children could certainly go elsewhere to adopt a child, many of them have already met and interacted with those children and created a bond. Adoption is a happy time, but it can also be tense because of the many unknowns involved. This could be a hard blow for these families who thought that the realization of their dream of having a child was near.
While Russia’s legislation has rocked the adoption community, it is not uncommon for countries to impose restrictions on the adoption of its children. Many countries have specific requirements for inter-country adoptions. The list of requirements can be viewed on the US State Department’s website.