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Ear to the Ground

Russia Puts Adoptions by Americans on Hold

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Posted on Apr 15, 2010
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Following last week’s diplomatically embarrassing—and for the child in question, no doubt traumatizing—fiasco involving a 7-year-old Russian boy whose adoptive American mom returned him to Moscow alone a year after bringing him to the States, the Russian government has put a freeze on adoptions of Russian children by Americans for an indefinite period. Way to go, Torry Ann Hansen of Shelbyville, Tenn.  —KA

The New York Times:

The announcement by the Russian Foreign Ministry gave no indication of how long the suspension would last. The State Department in Washington is sending a high-level delegation to Moscow to hold talks on reaching an agreement, and both countries have expressed hope that the matter can be resolved quickly.

“Future adoptions of Russian children by citizens of the United States, which are now suspended, are possible only if such an agreement is reached,” a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrei Nesterenko, said at a briefing on Thursday.

Officials at the United States Embassy in Moscow said they had not received official notification of a suspension and were seeking more information from their Russian counterparts.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

In most adoptions outside the US, you ARE “forced” to make a decision: Will you take this kid sight-unseen or not? That’s basically it.  You don’t get to “test-drive” the kid.  We didn’t and our child is from Guatemala, now also a closed country for international adoptions, but for far different reasons.

We adopted our child as an infant and is now a healthy, cheerful, active 5 year old.  We consider ourselves extremely lucky.

For whatever reason this mother clearly didn’t bond with the boy.  I fully understand that he could have been totally out of control, but her reaction was immature, unfair and should be considered illegal child endangerment and abandonment. There are better ways.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, April 17, 2010 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

diman:

What part of that didn’t you understand?  Forced to make a DECISION!  That means you are asked, repeatedly, to decide what you want to do.  The child is “yours” until you refuse to take it.  And, yes, we faced pressure to make a decision from the local authorities.  They want to move kids and, if you are not interested, they want to know so they can push it towards someone else.

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By diman, April 16, 2010 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

By C.Curtis Dillon
“This woman from USA probably visited the kid a couple of times before being forced to make a choice”

Why would anybody force her? Were you forced to adopt your kid?

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, April 16, 2010 at 2:56 am Link to this comment

Not commenting on the story but the whole “Russian/Ukrainian adoption” issue.  What this woman did was abhorrent and she should be punished.  If she had problems with the kid, she should have worked with the social services agencies in her state to solve or at least mitigate the problem.

That said, I’m very aware of the messed up system working here.  I live in Ukraine and my wife adopted a local kid a few years back.  It was a major problem for her.  The orphanage system in this country (and I’ve heard similar stories about the Russian one) borders on the macabre.  There is little money to fund these homes, they are in terrible repair and kids are just dumped into the system by parents who don’t want them.  In Ukraine, foreign adoption is limited to kids with physical or mental problems ... the idea being that they can get surgery and/or emotional help better elsewhere.  Ukraine doesn’t want these “damaged” kids so they are passed off on others.  Healthy kids (this is a relative term) are kept in the country and adopted locally.  But many of these kids, sick or healthy, are emotionally traumatized and have major issues.  Our kid was from an HIV infected drug addict who dumped her at age “2 days” on a neighbor and disappeared.  The kid was in an orphanage for 2 years and was, to be kind, a complete mess.  The orphanage lied to us about her condition (we did not find out about the drugs for several years) and she still has emotional issues of attachment and control.  We both feel the drugs impacted her development and will continue to be an issue for years (if not forever).  And we had plenty of time to visit and understand her before making the choice.  And we were “lucky”; we had an inside contact and influence to help us along.

This woman from USA probably visited the kid a couple of times before being forced to make a choice.  The system is rigged against the adoptive parents in many ways.  You are told to arrive in Kiev (or Moscow) and then given a dossier for a single kid.  You may be forced to fly to the local city where the kid resides and are given a few weeks, at most, to make a decision.  If you decline, it’s back to Kiev where the whole process starts over.  Imagine the pressure these folks feel ... and the expense of living and moving around a foreign country while under this extreme anxiety.  This kid was older and that is almost a guarantee of problems.  The rule of thumb here is don’t take a kid over age 3.  These orphanages are often corrupt and the staff are bad at best.  In our case, the care givers had no professional experience ... many were just women from the neighborhood.  There were doctors but they were overwhelmed with 150 kids, many with very difficult mental and physical conditions.  And I was appalled at the number of sleazy and strange characters hanging around the facility.  I’m convinced our daughter was molested as she had serious attachment problems with me that took several years to overcome.

I am not surprised this kid turned out to be a disaster.  Threats against the woman’s family are serious and she was right to be concerned.  Her reaction was not right but I think her fears were justified.  Many of these kids are in very serious trouble and should not be adopted by someone who doesn’t have the experience to deal with their issues.  I assume this woman was not prepared.  That is a failing of the system in America which needs to be fixed.

Just a word of caution ... be very careful dealing with these corrupt countries.  Their systems are not designed for your benefit ... they are in it for the money.  Moving bodies is what they do with no regard for either the kids or the adoptive families.  Proceed with great caution when dealing with these people.  THEY ARE CROOKS!

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By Inherit The Wind, April 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

OOOPPS!  It turns out the Russian Government did NOTHING of the sort—an official was speaking out of school and higher ups have denied the story.

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