The Russian legislature has passed legislation making it illegal for Americans to adopt Russian children. Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, says he probably will sign the bill, which would make it law.
Just in case you may not know, this has nothing to do with adoptions, or with how adopted children are treated in the United States. It has more to do with “an American law that calls for sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators,” according to The Associated Press.
That would mean dozens of adoptions now in process would be halted, keeping the children in Russia and their would-be American parents, most of whom have paid a considerable amount of money, in limbo.
One wonders why Americans would choose to adopt children of foreign countries when there are many children in the United States who need adoption.
According to the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 136,000 children are adopted annually in the U.S. About 14 percent of those adoptions were from foreign countries. In California, from 12,000 to about 13,900 are adopted annually.
In the U.S., most adoptions are made through the nation’s foster-care systems or through other government-run agencies. Other adoptions are made by step-parents who adopt the children of spouses.
Private agencies also place some children, and those are the agencies that facilitate most foreign adoptions.
Adopting a child can involve mountains of paperwork and considerable expenditure of time and money. Private agencies take some of the paperwork load off the adopting parent, but they can be expensive, and for some of those agencies there is little oversight.
In passing their new law, the Russians aren’t interesting in regulating adoptions. They are interested, rather, in using adoptions to try to influence American foreign policy. To do that, they don’t mind hurting their own children to make a point.