FAQs About Putin & the Anti-Adoption Law
As in all cases of abuse, there is the tendency to blame the victim. What’s puzzling is why adoptive families would believe that they, or their like, have anything to do with President Putin’s recent signing of the child-abusive, anti-American adoption law. Did we “make” the Russian Federation do this because we were not good boys and girls?
Au contraire. Let’s take a look at some Frequently-Asked Questions concerning the issues surrounding Russian-American adoption.
1. All news outlets and comments of Russian politicians, themselves, have linked the Magnitsky Act, criticizing Russian human rights abuses, with their anti-American adoption legislation. The immoral nature of linking legislation involving helpless children with inter-country disputes led to protests in the streets and adoptive parents wondering, “Why?”
2. Trying to associate a later event, namely, a Russian consular official trying to gain access to visit a Russian adoptee allegedly being abused in Florida is simply tagging on an incident after the legislation had already been introduced into the Russian Duma. This is what we call “fanning the flames of hysteria” and cannot be connected if one is sticking to the facts of the case.
3. In the past 20 years, 19 Russian adopted children have died in American homes. Let’s take ONE YEAR of deaths in RUSSIAN adoptive homes: during 2006, 1220 children died. That’s MORE than 19 Russian adoptive children dying in Russia EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. Where is the outrage? I have written about this in the past.
4. The case of Dima Yakovlev, the Virginia toddler who was accidentally left in the car in the summertime by his adoptive father, is the case after which this anti-adoption law was named. What a shame. I do not believe that the parents in that case intended to kill their child, not for an instant. But it was horrible, and criminal, nonetheless.
Shall we discuss the extremely horrific abuse cases in Russia, ten times more intentional and abusive than an overheated car? Starvation, inflicting burns, rumored organ-selling, and drowning all come to mind.
5. There is a sense that the Russian ruling class lacks info about Russian-American adopted children, that we must inform them about how well-adjusted and loved the Russian children are in the U.S. Yet, these are Duma officials and executive-level elected officials who would have access to the post-placement reports submitted at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years after adoption. The reports outline the children’s health, medical appointments, daily routine, educational progress, adjustment to and bonding with the adoptive family, cultural events, and living conditions. About a dozen full-color, captioned photos of the child accompany each report, depicting the child at home, at outside activities, with their family, with friends, you name it.
Lack of information is not the issue. It is that these officials DO NOT CARE about orphans. Lev Ponomarev, a prominent Russian human rights advocate, has suggested that these Duma deputies take into their homes the children alienated from American families due to their law. But he notes that this will never happen to even one orphaned child.
6. Artyom Saviliev, a 7-year-old, out-of-control, Russian child adopted to America was returned to Moscow in a well-publicized case in April 2010. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called the boy’s abrupt return “a monstrous deed.” But what was Russia carefully omitting from this story?
The fact that each year, THOUSANDS of Russian children, adopted in RUSSIA, are either voluntarily or forcibly returned to orphanages. According to Russian sociologists, during 2008 more than 6,000 children were returned to orphanages or shelters. During 2009, that number would double.
The official Ministry of Education and Science statistics did not match those numbers, interestingly enough. In 2008, Russia had to terminate 1,216 cases of adoptions, said Alina Levitskaya, the Director of State Politics Department in the sphere of education and social protection of children. All together there were over 3,000 cases of returned children, whether voluntarily or forcibly, still half the number that sociologists clearly reported.
7. Since the stipend system came into being in Russia, adoptions have decreased, while the number of orphans entering the system have increased. Foster care, called “guardianship” in Russia, pays families much more than actual adoption, yet still, between the seminal years 2008 and 2009, even foster families dropped in numbers from the initial thrill of 75,000 to 38,000 the next year. Families were learning that, despite the attractive financial incentives (often a cash payment of $10,000 plus monthly stipends), taking in an orphan was not as easy as it sounded. No matter what the payments, Russians will not make up for Americans squeezed out of the equation.
8. Abusive behavior is not “caused” by victims. However President Putin chooses to punish helpless orphans and basically sentence them to further years of loneliness, deprivation, orphanage abuses, and substandard education and life preparation, it is not the orphans’ fault, nor the fault of American adoptive parents. If we act nicer, try harder, or just sit in a corner and keep quiet, he will not change his mind. It’s not about us. It’s about him. It’s all about him and his paranoid proclamations.
No matter how many broken lives are left in their wake.
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