REFORM Talk Response to Proposed Russian Ban on US Adoptions

By on 12-27-2012 in International Adoption, REFORM Talk Notice, Russia, US

REFORM Talk Response to Proposed Russian Ban on US Adoptions

I have been reading all the reactions over the likely Russia ban on US adoptions and it is time to weigh in. While it is surprising that this is the way that Russia will likely stop adoptions to the US (and I don’t agree that adoption should be politicized in this particular way), it is not surprising that the situation has come to this, as I have been reporting on the problems in Russia for years, mostly to the blind eyes and deaf ears of PAPs who didn’t want to know.

That’s because the premise that Russia has been on board with international adoption in recent years is a myth. I know that the bilateral agreement was signed in November of this year and that US agencies and APs and PAPs gave a victory cheer, but anyone who has followed the Russian reactions at the time could see that there were major concerns that had yet to be assuaged during the process.

To PAPs and fellow APs: Might it be possible that Russia actually does want to reform their child welfare system  ?

Three years ago, Russia named Pavel Astakhov to become the Children’s Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation, often called Children’s Ombudsman. Naming an ombudsman is usually Step One to cleaning up a child reform system. Many US states have created this position. In early 2011, Astakhov was already voicing concerns. See our post from January 26, 2011: Ombudsman wants halt in adoptions .

All the Chicken-Little responses against the ban have the following in common: they are solely focused on the future for the prospective adoptive parents; they have completely bought into the false marketing by adoption agencies; and they feel that past happy US adoption statistics somehow should be reason to grant US citizens the authority to adopt Russian children. (I am including Russian adult adoptees who recount their own experiences and petition here). None of the Cry-Me-Me-Me-Me-a-River responses so far focus on the goals of child welfare reform in Russia; the real and multiple alternatives to international adoption; or what the US is not providing to Russia.

This decision does not constitute an emergency. Children in orphanages will not drop dead like flies. The world will not end. There are alternatives other than dying or being stunted in an orphanage or being adopted to the US (or other countries). Find a sampling of alternatives at the end of this post.

Let’s Get Real on Statistics

The number being thrown around in most US publications in the past week is that there are 740,000 children in care in Russia. This is derived from a UNICEF report and like the 147 million orphan number derived from another UNICEF report, it is being misused. What is not being stated is that includes ALL types of care—family and out-of-family care. I have seen comments that lament over how political this Russian decision is but what really is political is constantly repeating the 740,000 number that is meant to tug at the heartstrings of the US public and make them think that 740,000 children are in dire and immediate need of adoption…and even more crazy–international adoption. This is JUST NOT TRUE!

Our February 2012 post cites a more realistic number of children that are in need of new or better care options. It says “140,000 in orphanages” and “The percentage of orphans living in orphanages dropped from 23 percent in 2006 to 16.5 percent in 2009.”

The number of children in out-of-home care is trending downward.   Fewer children in orphanages means less of a need for child placements regardless of the reasons which include population implosion and orphanage reform. It is documented that the Russian population is in great decline, so wouldn’t it make sense for Russia to develop better programs to keep their children in Russia?

There is even a lower number reported on December 27, 2012: This Reuters article says that only 110,000 are living in institutions .

It is hard to take any argument seriously when a figure 7 times greater than reality is continually being used as the reason that US citizens should be allowed to adopt Russian children.

The Reuters article makes an erroneous claim, however: that disabled children will suffer because of this decision.

So, let’s look at disabled child placements. Our December 29, 2011 post  quotes from local statistics:

“Last year foreign citizens adopted 3,355 children. Out of these 3,355 only 4 per cent – to be more exact, 148 children were handicapped. Which means that Americans adopted 44 disabled children out of more than 1,000. Russian citizens adopt disabled children far more willingly.”

My analysis from that post a year ago bears repeating:

“There’s one more thing that should be mentioned here – they say that foreigners adopt the children which were rejected by potential adoptive parents in Russia. In reality, they adopt children under 3 years old, that is, the children for the adoption of which Russian citizens are queuing. People also say that foreigners pay children’s surgical operations, thus, saving their lives. Meanwhile, in Russia high-tech medical help was offered to more than 50, 000 children, including orphans in the first place, last year. “

Let’s mention domestic adoptions in Russia: Our December 15, 2011 post  gives a statistic:  72,000 domestic Russian adoptions. Other articles quote 7 to 9 thousand per year which fits with this total number.

Russian Parliament Sends Adoption Ban to Putin[NY Times 12/26/12 by David M. Herszenhorn] says: “There were slightly more than 10,000 adoptions in Russia in 2011, about 3,400 of which were by foreigners.” Hmmm…sounds like some reform is happening, doesn’t it? All Russians must not be evil and uncaring.

 

Disruption, Abuse, Death, Concealment, Blockage,Violations

Here is a sampling of cases showing the breadth and depth of issues that have angered Russia over the past two years.  I dare you to argue with me that Russia should just shut up and take it and keep placing to the US when situations like this occur on a chronic basis.

From the US adoption cases: Russia was the top disrupting country in past 2 years, and the top abuse and death country in past several years, yet it was NOT the top sending country. See our disruption data and international adoption abuse, death and other crime data .

Missing or disrupted children show that the US has not delivered postplacement information that was promised: On January 28, 2011  , we reported about the 400 missing children. They may be missing due to unfiled post-placement reports or disruptions or worse.

Concealment of Disruption by WHFC:  From Oct 2012, see here.

Secretiveness of RTC/unlicensed Ranch for Kids From June 30, 2012, see  here. (As an aside, the owner of Ranch for Kids had the gall to be interviewed today about the ban on adoptions.)

Canada concealment Dec 2011 of 2002 death: See  here .

Craver Child Death case.  On November 21, 2011, Russia wanted to arrest them: Obviously, US law would not allow this. See here.

December 2, 2011 Russia just learns of the 2005 Isaac Dykstra death and is not happy about adoptive dad’s acquittal: See here.

Some adoptive parents said at the time of this report that Russia should have known about this case and that it was “political” to bring this death case up, even though the trial did not occur until 2011. As there was no mechanism for reporting incidents with internationally adopted children in place at that time and still isn’t, how were they supposed to know?

June 2011 Ksenia Antonova case of disruption and abuse in new family: See  here.

Blockage of access to Maxim Babayev: This one is extremely fresh on Russian minds as Russia requested access to an abused adoptee AFTER the bilateral agreement was signed. Access is a requirement of the bilateral agreement: See here  Do you think US judges will allow access even if it is part of a bilateral agreement? I certainly don’t.

Russian Judges experience US PAP entitlement: From February 2012, see  this post involving Reece’s Rainbow .

Violating Rights of Russian Adoptees : From Russian Parliament Sends Adoption Ban to Putin[NY Times 12/26/12 by David M. Herszenhorn] says: “In addition to banning adoptions by Americans, the bill approved on Wednesday would impose sanctions on American judges and others accused of violating the rights of adopted Russian children in the United States. “

Practicality of Adoptions from Russia

We thought it was obvious in May 2012 that regardless of the political wranglings, Russia adoptions were not going to be practical anymore. We issued a notice to not start a Russian adoption despite continuing bilateral talks and laid out the reasons here .

Adoption Industry

Adoption industry publicly admits they don’t prepare APs in public child welfare forum : From June 29, 2012, see here

Historic Issues from PoundPup Legacy’s JCICS files that we summarized:

July 12, 2005-deflecting child deaths
Coming off of a Russian adoptee death in North Carolina, JCICS was starting a strong push to deflect attention away from this tragedy, and market families who are doing well instead.

January 2006-Industry concerned about its own longevity

The JCICS concerns were competition with the NCFA and business closures, not corruption and fraud perpetrated upon PAPs.

“A group of accredited agencies met in November before the conference held in Worcester. They have selected NCFA as their spokesperson. The latest concern is what the reaction in Russia will be now that an article has been published in Moscow regarding the investigation/closure of Yunona.”

January 2007 Psychological Testing (remember that this is part of the screening that Russia requires in bilateral agreement)

Countries like Russia, Colombia, and others require a psychological exam for the homestudy. These meeting notes described attempts to water-down the psychological checks.

First, “Some time ago an agency posted contact information of a therapist who was willing to do a psychological testing over the phone. Upon investigation, the American Psychological Association indicated that this is not acceptable protocol within the professional field.”

November 2007-demanding agencies receive clearance to place (Russia stated in 2011 that the number of agencies would decrease threefold when bilateral agreement specifics came into force.)

Here’s a new one: They tried to influence Interpol through the Department of Justice!

“Russia

Joint Council is working with a few members of congress & CCAI to leverage the DOJ to pressure Interpol to issue clearances for agencies waiting for approval since July.”

 

Individual Assessment

The 46 children “caught” in the possible shutdown: First of all…really… only 46 children?I know that these are the ones that passed court, but until the child’s case passes court, the children are merely in referral stage. Russia appears to be prepared to place them locally, stating that they will give $50,000 to each domestic family to take each child.  Giving families money…like US foster care!Dismay APs in America are moaning about this, yet they spend…$50,000 to adopt from Russia!

Russians spend $50,000 = bad. US adoptive parents spend $50,000 = good.

Each region operates its own placements. This is never stated in the propaganda articles circulating in the past week. Many regions do not need international adoption at all. Our June 26, 2012 post discusses 3 areas of success and how Russia needs to be looked at by region. Note how Russia recognizes that corruption causes children to be diverted to international adoption over domestic:

Orphanage funding: “The expenditure per child ranges from 350,000 – 600,000 rubles ($11,000 – $18,000) – depending on the region”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June goal set forth in the National Child Welfare Strategy: transfer “90 percent of orphans to families in various forms of guardianship.”

Schools in Moscow to train foster parents: 32

Where the money is used: “not spent so much on the children, however, as on school maintenance, staff salaries and utility costs. In addition, orphanage staff members receive substantial bonuses for working with sick children, which leads staff members to add diagnoses in some cases.” ” Russian legislation says that a child cannot be approved for international adoption until he or she has been rejected by five potential local foster families. Orphanages make more money from foreign adoptions, whereas Russian families can adopt for free, so orphanage staff are encouraged to give a child as many diagnoses as possible to scare off potential foster parents from Russia.”

Krasnodar Territory foster parents: “25 foster families in 2005. Today, there are over 2,000.” “As a result, 9 out of 10 orphans in Krasnodar today are living in families. The state encourages this process financially, too: the adoption of a child with a disability is supported with up to 500,000 rubles. The foster parents themselves also receive a monthly payment.”

City of Cherepovets (largest city in Vologda Oblast): “until 2006, there were nine orphanages for 300,000 children. The local authorities then realized that the problem’s solution starts with the family and the charity fund Doroga k Domu (The Way Home) appeared in the city and opened a Foster Parent School. Soon, the number of orphanages was reduced to five. Most importantly, no foster families have returned children placed with them.”

Tyumen Region: “Parents in need are given help finding a job and giving up drugs and alcohol, if needed. They are granted financial assistance to start small businesses. As a result, the number of parents deprived of parental rights has been sharply reduced. And 89 percent of the children live in families.”

Orphans, Other Countries and Child Welfare Reforms

The Australian Adoption website AICAN shows that many countries receive Russian children.  For example, Italy adopted 704 in 2009 and Spain adopted 899 in 2008.

A graphic that shows how nonUS countries are on the rise for receiving internationally adopted children can be seen in the second graph at this link . It clearly shows that the US has been cut in half over the past few years.

I am not saying that these countries have less corruption than the US programs, but I link to this only to show that there would still be international options available if Putin does sign the bill as he stated today.

Our April 14, 2011 post shows that the orphan number is half of the UNICEF number:

“The number of orphans in Russia is also decreasing from year to year. In 2005 there were some 450,000, today that number has decreased to 370,000. This decrease is the result of two things: an overall drop in the Russian population, and the placement of orphans in adoptive or foster families in Russia. According to the Ministry of Education, around 9,000 children are adopted every year by Russian citizens. “

The Russians recognized the need for reform a decade ago. They are not there yet, especially with aging-out children, but perhaps the current focus on how they will be helping these children may spur even greater changes.  The CoMission for Children at Risk, 2002. Excerpts from the report:

Child Welfare Reform

“In the opinion of experts from the Ministry of Education, the number of orphans could be reduced through a special foster care system to help both poor families and adoptive parents. Today, the guardianship system has a mainly punitive function: It imposes fines on negligent parents, deprives them of their parental rights and puts their children in orphanages.

Positive examples of such services already exist in several regions of Russia, such as Tyumen. They help families in need find work or organize a small business. They offer these families financial subsidies as well as treatment for alcohol or drug dependence, if necessary. Most importantly, there is no talk of depriving these parents of their parental rights and putting their children in orphanages.

A draft law drawn up by the Ministry of Education would make such help mandatory. You would think that no one could object to a much needed law like that. But it has prompted real resistance. The problem, it turns out, is money. In recent years the oil-rich Russian government has spent large sums on orphans—over 6 billion rubles ($20,000,000) a year. To provide for a child in an orphanage officially costs between 45,000 and 65,000 rubles (from $1,500 to $2,000) a month. Yet there are few families in Russia that can afford to spend that much money on their own children. Needless to say, not all of that official money goes directly to the orphans. A substantial part of it goes to pay for all the various staff members in orphanages.[emphasis Rally] Boris Altshuler, head of the NGO Right of the Child and a member of the Public Chamber, is convinced that regional departments in charge of social welfare are opposing the draft law because they do not want to lose the vast sums allotted to them by the government. If fewer children are put in orphanages and increasingly placed in adoptive and foster families, then in time orphanages will disappear altogether”

This ban decision really dovetails to another law that was enacted earlier this year:

From BBC on July 21, 2012 Russia: Controversial NGO bill becomes law

“President Putin has signed into law a controversial bill forcing foreign-funded non-governmental groups (NGOs) involved in political activity to register as “foreign agents” in Russia.

The Kremlin has said the law is needed to protect Russia from outside attempts to influence internal politics.”

“Such NGOs would also have to undergo financial audits and issue twice-yearly reports on their activities.

Failure to comply will be punishable by heavy fines or even a two-year prison sentence”.

“The US State Department earlier expressed “deep concern” about the new law – but was swiftly reproached by Moscow for “gross interference.”

Alternatives that people concerned about Russian orphans and children at-risk could support

This is merely a sampling:

Action for Russian Children

Downside Up (Russian Downs Syndrome Family Preservation Link)

Every Child

Illustrated Books for Blind Children

Miramed

SOS Villages Russia We highlighted them in our June 11, 2011 post .  According to SOS, currently there are five SOS Children’s Villages, three SOS Youth Facilities and eleven SOS Social Centres in Russia.

The Promise

To Russia with Love

Additions: Charity Fund Murland aka Murzik, a Russian-run charity, which boasts a team of 700 people that go out to orphanages to assist and they check to see that their donations are being used at the next visit. See here. I recommend also looking at the December 2011 photos at this link showing disabled children getting new wheelchairs.

In summary

Americans don’t have the power to stop Putin from signing the bill.  This bill was overwhelmingly voted for by the lower and upper Parliaments and a recent poll had 53% of the Russian people supporting it. Do the Russian people get to decide what happens to their children or do Americans get to?

Petitions about happy placements really do not address the serious concerns that Russia has moving forward, nor do they assist in any of the reforms that are already taking place. The ultimate goal of child welfare reform should be for countries to handle their own children. International adoption has always been a temporary bandage for poverty and child welfare and should always be seen as a last resort. Instead of crying “It’s not fair!” why not pool the caring energy (and money)that US APs and PAPs have for the children of Russia into supporting the many efforts that have begun?

And ask yourself this: Do the Russians tell us how to run our child-welfare programs? Do the Russians adopt American children? Does one sovereign nation have the right to demand that another sovereign nation give up its children for adoption?

When you can answer honestly, perhaps you will then be able to look at the current situation with a clearer and less emotional perspective. This is not a surprise to those of us who have been watching country after country close due to adoption industry practices and corruptions and US government turning a blind eye to the whole thing.

REFORM Puzzle Piece

21 Comments

  1. Great article!

    Is there any indication that Russia has concerns regarding PAPs ability to cover the costs of an adoption? Ideally a horror of PAPs who have “stepped out in faith to adopt” and are thus dependent on begging cash from strangers (or supernatural beings) to cover adoption costs?

    RR PAPs, as ever, do seem to be the worst about this, notably:

    1) RR Wades brag that a Russian judge has promised to expedite their adoption… provided strangers/deities give them $20k within a month (for adoption costs; they’re tapped out).

    “The judge said we can come back ASAP to adopt Ivan! The only thing standing in our way are funds! An adoption that usually take 12-18 months has taken us 4 months!!! Ivan doesn’t have time to wait. It is now even more urgent that their is a threatening ban on adoption. The facilitator says we will be safe from the ban, but we need to come. PLEASE help us get there! If you can spare $20 and get 20 friends to spare $20, we can get funded to go! Please help our son.”

    http://followingwheregodleadsus.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-judge-said-we-can-come-back-asap-to.html?m=1

    “The blessing: Ivan will be home more than likely by the end of January! If court is when we are hoping, we will have to expedite some clearances and need to raise the nearly 20 thousand needed to bring him home in about three weeks!!!! We need help, NOW! PLEASE, if you are looking to bless and save a life, PLEASE help us and donate today! Thank you!”

    PAPs are convinced the only options are 1) kid dies and 2) kid is adopted by their family. Barf.

    http://followingwheregodleadsus.blogspot.ca/2012/12/merry-christmas-to-ivan-and-wade-family.html?m=1

    2) RR Boyers are also convinced their referral (Russian girl, age 2) will die if they don’t adopt her and have a clairvoyant facilitator who has promised them they’ll get the kid even if there’s a ban:

    Mrs. Boyer is quoted ” believe we will still be able to bring our baby home, just from talking to our facilitator in Russia,” she said”

    They also need $24k (!!) within the month to adopt this girl and have no $$ of their own to contribute.

    http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2012/12/27/soon_to_be_adoptive_.html#.UNzJy2-o-Y0.facebook

    It is so very irresponsible to let folks who cannot afford to complete their adoptions… to adopt. The worst thing is many, many RR families like these get home only to begin fundraising to cover copays, diapers, MRIs, special formulas, etc for their newly adopted kid.

    • At this point, I don’t think the national government cares. It is typical that agencies are promising to get their children home anyway. Every country that closes has facilitators and agencies promising the same old thing. I think it is funny that the PAPs in your first example don’t question how a 12-18 month adoption would only take 4 months. They probably attribute that to God when that is a big red flag for bribery and corruption.I am sure certain IA-friendly regions are having cows today as their cash flow will be stopping.Who knows what they will do to get those last cases finalized?

      Technically, Russia is supposed to give 1 YEAR notice on shutting but as I stated with Maxim Babayev case US officials are supposed to allow access to Russian children and they did not. So US officials are allowed to break rules but Russian officials aren’t? That doesn’t make sense.

      International adoption has never been predictable. It is that so much of it flew under the radar that PAPs felt increasingly comfortable with riskier and riskier placements.

      Maybe the children in these cases will end up Italian!

      • Sadly, you’re right on all counts – federal government doesn’t care, PAPs refuse to see “4 months” as potential corruption and woefully underprepared PAPs who’ll more than likely get the $ from strangers to adopt an institutionalized high needs SN kid they’re unprepared to properly care for.

        I think it comes down to the fact that you just can’t save the Wades and Boyers from themselves. And the poor kid, should they eventually get them home.

        So sad.

  2. Okay, wow. This was REALLY interesting. Thanks, ReformTalk, for more work well done!

  3. “And ask yourself this: Do the Russians tell us how to run our child-welfare programs? Do the Russians adopt American children? Does one sovereign nation have the right to demand that another sovereign nation give up its children for adoption?”

    Yes, but they’re Russian and therefore, inherently evil and incapable of change (/sarcasm).

    This was a great write up and sums up the situation very well.

    The goal all along should have been supporting a better system IN Russia.

    I wish people would be honest about their intentions. Many people just want a child and the martyr complex the get from rescuing this “orphan who would DIE without US saving them!”
    I don’t think many of the groups and pap’s freaking out right now want to truly help these children and help make it so they are well taken care of by their own countries.

  4. Great Article! well done and spelled out.

  5. YAY! More hit and miss from reformtalk, and a bunch of yay-sayer comments to boot! Let’s just take SOME of this:

    1. Under 50 children with “handicaps” have been adopted from Russia; yet later in this piece, it’s stated that Russia has the highest disruption rate of any sending country. Why might this be? I’m sure it’s believed by the writers here that it’s because of US PAPs and their disenchantment with their perceived oh-so-perfect little under-3 year old. But could it also be that Russian children have some of the highest rates of “invisible” disability (FAS anyone???) of any sending country? That these children arrive, not “obviously” disabled, but behaviorally and emotionally damaged beyond what is generally considered customary for institutional delays? Could this be a key factor? Naturally, it is…but it’s better to quote ridiculously low “handicapped” figures to “prove” that Americans just want to adopt healthy infants from Russia. As if that actually exists anymore.

    2. Supporting the Russian government in their efforts to reform their child welfare system is laudable. But why not approach it as South Korea has? I’m sure all of us here know about South Korea and their multi-faceted efforts to boost domestic adoption and reduce international adoption through systemic changes across multiple domains within Korea. It’s worked. South Korean international adoption is slowed to a trickle, which is not a bad thing. South Korean citizens account for the vast majority of adoptions, and there is a workable foster care system for those unable to be placed. Perfect? No. But cutting off a safety net for children while you try to get your act together in a country the size of Russia is simply anti-American rhetoric and foolish nationalism. Anyone who thinks real change is within reach NOW is fooling themselves. And the collateral damage – children – will remain IF Russia can “someday” get its act together.

    3. “Do Russians tell us how to run our child welfare system?” Um, YES! Hello? How many Russian officials have come to the US, decrying their inability to see or investigate a child that is a legally adopted US citizen? That’s part of the complaint here. Last I checked, the US is a sovereign nation too, yet Russia wants to question and investigate on their own. The US couldn’t even do that in Pakistan when our citizens were killed and bombed for God sake. But sure, I’ll open the door the Vladimir Whoever and give them an interview. Sure. Makes sense to me.

    Adoption is AN answer to a problem in Russia that isn’t going away because of some fancy promises that apparently people on this site buy into. It is not the only answer. No, children will not drop dead immediately if they are not adopted by US citizens. Most will not die at all. Some may live decent lives. Others may not. Domestic adoption may increase in Russia beyond what it already has. Great. But it cannot keep up with the number of children placed. Orphanages in Eastern Europe are seen as a true placement option for a variety of social ills; ills that are not handled this way in many other countries. Special needs children are even worse off, since while Putin stands touting “Russian families” there are few resources for parents of special needs children.

    Come on, guys. Quit hitting and missing and get it right. You can do that by removing the editorialization and sticking to the facts. Good luck with that; I haven’t seen that yet here on this site but I’ll keep looking.

    • Name:

      1) Does this mean you think it’s ACCEPTABLE for Americans to disrupt/abuse their seemingly healthy but really “invisibly disabled” Russian children? That Russia has no reason to be upset at the horrific number of adoptees abused/killed by their American adoptive parents because many of these kids may have had an invisible disability? That Russia shouldn’t halt or reform adoptions by Americans as a result of this??

      2) Based on Rally’s statistics, it sure looks like Russia was and is taking steps to fix their child welfare system. Are you saying Russia’s not ENTITLED to make reforms in any manner that it sees fit? Or that perhaps the Russian children who may have been adopted by Americans (and who cannot be placed with Russian families) will instead be adopted by Canadian/British/Italian/Spanish families? You know, countries which abide by their adoption-treaty-with-Russia obligations, unlike the United States??

      3) ” “Do Russians tell us how to run our child welfare system?” Um, YES! Hello? How many Russian officials have come to the US, decrying their inability to see or investigate a child that is a legally adopted US citizen? That’s part of the complaint here. ”

      The Russian-born kids adopted by Americans hold dual US-Russian citizenship until age 18. And yes, Russian officials are entitled to have consular access to their citizens (even when said citizens hold both US and Russian citizenship).

      You also fail to mention that by signing the adoption treaty, the US **agreed** to allow Russian officials access to Russian-born adoptees AND to provde timely updates when these children are abused/killed in the US. The US has not done EITHER of these things – these ILLEGAL things, in violation of said treaty.

      Do you really, truly believe it’s okay for the US to violate the treaty AND continue to adopt Russian kids? That it’s wrong of Russia to be upset about this? Really? Really?

      Do you really, truly believe that Russia isn’t allowed to enact reforms to its child welfare system in a manner that it sees fit? That a Russian good faith effort should not be supported??

      (The child welfare system in the US is perfect, right? No foster kids ever get abused by their foster parents, internationally adopted kids do not get starved by their aparents on such a regular basis that Washington State commissions a REPORT about it. Noooo, never. That it’s very unfair/unreasonable that American parents are allowed to adopt/foster American kids despite the fact that the system’s not perfect AND the reforms to it are ongoing??).

    • Ah yes, my wacky commenter has returned. You missed all the points as usual.

      The main point is that we have seen this closure coming. Ok? Got it?Said it in the first and last parts of the post. The anger has not been hidden by the Russians. Just because PAPs worship on the altar of adoption agencies and have their heads in the sand does not make their fantasies that Russia loves international adoption true.

      Our experience is that Russia lies on both sides of health issue. You can read our May 2012 warning that we gave and I linked to in this post about Russia lying. The reason the lies are on both sides depends on which crooked facilitator and region a PAP is using. Some lie about a child being healthy to place children with mental illness abroad. Others game the system to say that a child has an illness to get them on the international adoption list for the large amount of money and when the child is adopted is miraculously cured (because they never were ill to begin with). You are very wrong about your guess on why we think people disrupt. I guess you forgot that we are running a study and therefore know why each one disrupts. Again, a poor try at trying to school us.FAS is not the main reason cited in our study by the way. If you don’t like the statistic I used, then link us to another one. You seem to know the percentage, smart-aleck, so show us the real number.

      It is competely true that the majority of PAPs no matter where they come from want children under 3 and the majority of children in care, no matter where we are talking about are over 5. It is a global mismatch. So why should any foreign parent be allowed to adopt the children that Russians want to-those under 3? Do you believe that locals accept bribes to put children in the international queue? Russians adopt for free. $50,000-$100,000 is what foreign PAPs pay to adopt from Russia. Where do all those fees go to, do you think?

      I have no idea why you bring up South Korea. We did not call for Russia to close to international adoption or say that this is the best way they should go about things. We just didn’t think it was going to work practically due to the mismatch of what Russia wants and what the US really can’t provide and I do believe that the corruption had reached a swelling point and Russia would decide to shut when it was politically expedient (We have said the same about Ukraine) and Russia did this during a politically expedient time.The fact is that they have closed it-it is not in our power to do anything about the adoption part, but it is in our power to help the various child welfare reforms that they have started. The number of children in Russian orphanages has dropped quite a bit over the past few years, but you don’t want to acknowledge that. Russia citizens also account for the majority of their adoptions. You missed that part of the post. The NYT just stated that the other day 10,000 adoptions with 66% domestic 34% foreign. Three years ago Russia appointed an Ombudsman, but I guess you feel that is just for show and that Russians hate their kids. US orphanages were the same as these years ago, but US citizens didn’t hate the children, I guess..they were just ignorant and didn’t have the means. But Russians hate their kids, right?And they are *punishing* their kids by saying that Americans can’t TAKE their kids. Sorry, but that is a pretty lame argument. I guess in your mind, reducing the number of children in orphanages and increasing foster care like in the examples I mentioned is not reform or a move in the right direction.Reform is already happening, but go ahead and keep your head in the sand.

      Russians have always seen the children adopted to the US as their children and you clearly don’t get that access is part of the bilateral agreement. Access was just denied to Maxim.If Russian hadn’t banned adoption today, do you really think that Ranch for Kids would have granted access to Russia as mandated in the bilateral agreement? I agree that is not compatible with US law and that is why we thought this was never going to practically happen..something was going to have to give.

      We clearly state that we feel international adoption should be an option in child welfare and we agree with UN CRC as a last resort. The US can’t keep up with adopting the number of kids that go into our foster care. So what? What kind of argument is that?

      And as for editorializing, we are a blog that gives opinions. I guess you thought we are a news site? You don’t have to agree with our opinion but you sure spend a lot of time wanting to know what we think.

      • No one here seems to really understand the situation clearly. Where does the US government get off lecturing any other about human rights abuses? The Russians did not cut off international adoption. The cut off international adoptions to Americans. Canadian, French, Swiss, English, irish, Italian, Dutch citizens are still able to adopt from Russia. Russia is tired of seeing their children abused by their US forever families. The press is Russia goes wild over every incident of reported abuse and death of Russian children at the hands of Americans. They get particularly incensed when the American who killed or abused the Russian child isn’t held responsible. Remember what happened to Tori Hansen? Miles Harrison?

        The people screaming loudest about how awful Putin and the Russians are behaving all have a huge financial stake in the Russian-American adoption industry. It is frankly quite disgusting. The Russians are using orphans as a political tool, and the folks trying to tell us what monsters Russians are use orphans to make money. The Russian adoption industry in the United States; adoption agencies, home-study agencies,international adoption doctors like Aranson, and a huge band of other charlatans are seeing their livelihoods becoming extinct, vanishing before their eyes.

        The Russian adoption industry in the United States is so corrupt, it’s a surprise it was able to last this long. But is probably easy to last out the years when you are completely unregulated by your own government. Russian adoption industry in the United States feeds on desperate couples who’ve tried every means possible under the sun to have a baby on their own, were unsuccessful, and turned to international adoption as a last resort. If they did not need a baby, they wouldn’t give a crap about orphanages in Russia. If the agencies were not selling babies, neither would they. Adoption agencies in the United States promise infertile couples the moon, often hiding behind ‘christianity’ somewhere on their masthead. These agencies will lead clients to believe they can get you that white baby as young as possible, as healthy as possible, knowing full well they are few and far between. No one anywhere in the world readily gives up a healthy baby. This ain’t Juno. And the amounts desperate couples are willing to play these agencies is scandalous. It’s usually in the range of $30,000 to $60,000, and the clients are not allowed to know exactly what it is for. If you ask too many questions, you could get put back at the bottom of the list, which you are also not allowed to see.

        On the other hand, anyone who turns over that kind of money and does not care how and for what it is used, as long as they finally get their healthy white baby, kind of deserves to get screwed. Clients are told to bring at least $10,000 in cash when they go to Russia, and turn it over to some guy you’ve never met before, and, again, don’t ask any questions. If a client willingly participates in such an obviously underhanded enterprise, how much sympathy do they deserve?

        So, to hell with the USA Russian Adoption Industry, everyone else who was making money off it, and anyone who was willing to buy a baby through it. The only sympathetic characters here are the Russian children still in orphanages, and anyone who says the only way to help them is by selling them to Americans is full of crap.

        • Thanks for sharing, Robert. Well put. I also want to add two more things. First, with regards to human rights abuses, I just learned today that on the day that Putin signed the ban, our Senators decided to pass the North Korea Refugee Adoption Act, something that had been sitting on thei desks since September. During the midst of fiscal cliff discussions, the House passed the Senate amended version yesterday. Talk about politics and not giving a rat’s behind about impoverished North Korean women’s plights. They think taking their babies is humanitarian? This could not have been a coincidence on a day when one country closes, our legislators create a new market for their buddies.

          Another thing that I alluded to but did not state is that our own government-DOS/Obama adminstration- is to blame for signing a bilateral treaty that couldn’t possibly be enforced on our side. I have yet to see anyone dare blame them. I fully expected this to collapse in the next year because of that alone.

  6. It is very important not to let a pesky little thing like a ban on Russian adoptions to stop soliticing cash from strangers to… adopt a Russian boy:
    http://followingwheregodleadsus.blogspot.ca/2013/01/progress.html

  7. Interesting interview with the Russian attorney general regarding Russia’s (still unaddressed) issues regarding the treatment of Russian kids in the USA;

    http://rt.com/politics/russia-us-children-abuse-adoptions-427/

  8. I’m not familiar with this newspaper (so don’t know how reliable or unreliable it is), but the headline “International Adoptions Down by 70% over 5 years” is offset by some veerrrry interesting stats in article:

    “The number of children adopted by foreign families has declined; the decline has been rather significant. Even before January 1, 2013 the number of such children had reduced by almost 70 percent in the past five years,” he told a press conference on Thursday. There is an opposite trend: the number of Russian adoptive families is on the rise, although the growth is slow, he said. “The rate of adoptions is growing slowly but surely,” the ombudsman uttered.
    He also said that the size of the state database of children needing state support had lessened in the past half decade.
    “There were 184,000 such children in 2008 and the state databank contains 120,000 children’s names now. There has been a 30 percent decline,” Astakhov said.

    If it’s true that the number of Russian kids in state care has declined by 30% in the past five years, I’m seriously impressed!!

    http://rbth.ru/news/2013/05/30/adoption_of_russian_children_by_foreign_families_down_70_percent_in_five_26543.html

    • Yes, this is consistent with other statistics coming out of Russia. We have one article as low as 106K children. There has been a child’s ombudsman for 3 years. You won’t see these true figures quoted in US-based media or adoptive parent groups.

      • Rep Bachmann pressing Russian officials to allow the in progress adoptions to be completed with vague assurances of “US due care” for the Russian-born kids does not strike me as an especially effective strategy for getting Russia to lift the ban:
        http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/30/3424385/us-delegation-to-russia-allow.html

        There’ve been SO many cases of inadequate “due care” (not the least of which was Max Shatto) and our govt has made ZERO changes/improvements.

        • Effectiveness didn’t stop adoptive parent groups in trying to get Senators and Reps from each state to sign a petition to Obama this week. They are making themselves bigger fools than previously.

  9. Katrina Morriss and her newly-founded Parents United for Russian Orphans is baaaaaack and still Doesn’t Get It — she’s the Reece’s Rainbow-ite who insists upon referring to Russian Natasha (her illegally pre-selected from an RR illegal photolisting) as her daughter despite having no legal claim to the girl… Yet plastering her photo/private medical info all over the web and Facebook and calling it “advocacy”:

    http://parentsunitedforrussianorphans.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-bloody-account-is-not-in-our-favor_10.html?m=1

    Katrina literally doesn’t get why Russia banned Americans from adopting — and insists its purely out of spite. Not the myrdered adoptees, the rehomed adoptees, the missing post-placement reports nor the fact that Russia’s a sovereign state that’s under no obligation to let Americans (or any foreigners) to adopt their kids.

    Katrina thinks the voluntary “additional measures” for letting russia check up on adopted Russian kids is something that Russia should have jumped for joy and let her adopt Natasha as a result of.

    Katrina doesn’t get that plastering private info and pics of NOT YOUR KID is pretty gross — that LOVE isn’t thinking so little of Natasha that she’s not entitled to privacy/dignity. She keeps participating in documentaries about the ban — as IF all that privacy violating makes her a “responsible” parent, likely to sway Russia.

    Her affiliation with RR? An organization responsible for the death of 5% of all Russian adoptees adopted by Americans and the dumping in foster care of another?

  10. Oh, Katrina Morriss — continuing to violate the privacy/dignity of a Russian child she has no legal claim to whatsoever by posting her photo/medical info all over the web and the OpEd page of the Moscow Times.

    She can’t or won’t see that the “assurances” she’s offering the Russian government — a non-legally binding promise of enhanced post-placement monitoring — is worthless.

    As far as Katrina’s concerned? Disruptions, rehomings and the exiling of Russian-born kids to unlicensed ‘ranches’ for ‘kids’ in Montana is no biggie.

    The fact that she illegally pre-selected her ex-referral from an illegal Reece’s Rainbow photolisting? Also no biggie to her.

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/mobile/opinion/article/i-ll-never-give-up-fighting-for-russia-s-orphans/523785.html

    The article includes a link to a documentary called ‘To the Moon and Back’, which Katrina is featured in. Be sure to watch it as it also features…

    Miles Harrison bragging about paying a $10,000 cash bribe to adopt little Chase Harrison

    Formerly known as Dima Yakovlev, who baked to death in a HOT car shortly after Miles adopted him a few years back.

    A teeny-tiny matter is justifiably still LIVID about.

    Featuring Miles Harrison – inadvertent killer of little Dima Yakovlev – is an unusual choice for a documentary aimed at getting Russia to lift the ban!

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