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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Russian Ban on U.S. Adoptions

crying-boyRussia’s lower house of parliament approved a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children today, in retaliation for U.S. human rights legislation which questions Russians’ treatment of its own citizens.  The law is in response to American legislation known as the Magnitsky Act, passed by the U.S. Congress to impose visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials accused of involvement in the 2009 death in custody of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

And now the orphans are being put in the middle of the tug-of-war.  Statistically, the cry-girl2.nRussians will not adopt many of these children.  Now, Americans are being forbidden from adopting them.

The bill should be voted upon in the Russian Senate next week and President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign it into law following that.  Once again, children are the pawns in Mother Russia’s political struggles, for also linked to the bill is the outlawing of U.S.-funded “non-profit organizations that engage in political activity”, as well as the running of NGOs by Russians who hold American passports.

Putin-Bombings_full_600-550x366This is how Paranoid Putin says Merry Christmas to his comrades.

Hopefully, adoptive parents are smart enough to wake up and smell the coffee:  everybody knows that Russian coffee stinks.  That’s why they drink chai.  That’s why you should adopt from another country like Ukraine.

Read my lips:  I’m Russian-American and have four Russian-American adopted kids.oprhanukr_2  RUN. FROM. RUSSIAN. ADOPTIONS.

What if Putin nixes the law and he simply wants to flex his iron arm?  RUN. FROM. RUSSIAN. ADOPTIONS.

Hopefully, you are an intelligent pre-adoptive parent.  Read the writing on the wall.  Russia has gone from no pre-adoptive parental training to 80 hours of training required.  Russia has gone from a one-trip, no post-court waiting period system, to a 10-day wait, then a 30-day wait, and now a four-trip system to adopt.  The dossiers have gone from a book-like stack of documents maybe two inches thick, to those approximating double that size.  It’s not enough to ask that the children be fairly healthy (they never are, unless you count the absence of a cold on the day of adoption to be “healthy”, while they suffer FAS, Down orphan_girlSyndrome, PTSD due to horrific abuse and neglect), now the adoptive parents need to undergo 8-Doctor Medical Exams and the giving of blood on Russian soil.  Often repeatedly, if the earlier exam has “expired” after 30 or 60 days.

It’s nuts, people, it’s nuts.  While I want all of the Russian children to be adopted by safe, loving families, this is not worth it.

It’s time to pull the plug, let their economy and political structure go down the tubes, and just say no.  Get ready for a cold winter as the Cold War goes into deep freeze.


PS – Read some of my earlier posts about Ukraine’s process.  No upper age limit for parents, approximately school-age for children (few babies available unless they have an older sibling and you adopt both), about 1/2 the price of Russian adoption, one 5-6 week stay in country–or possibly make that into two trips, no agency necessary but a facilitator would be helpful.


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19 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Greg says:

    So sorry to hear this. Maybe the next picture we’ll see will be bare-chested Putin standing victorious over all the orphans he has committed to a life without a willing family. You are right, Ukraine is a great option. The need is enormous. The red-tape is easily handled by a facilitator. I’d be happy to recommend ours. Contact the author and she will put us in touch. We did two separate trips of two weeks each. It was a piece of cake and actually quite fun despite the fact that we did it in December and January. It’s cold over there!

    • avatar admin says:

      I know a family that just passed court in Ukraine this week, Greg. They had a few harrowing moments like all of us, one paperwork glitch in particular, but they did it in well under a year and are returning home with a brother and sister to join their other bio kids. Your facilitator sounds wonderful and I’d be happy to pass along any info.

      I would say that Putin should be ashamed, even some of his hardliners are a little shocked right now, but as former head of the KGB, I don’t think that shame is in his vocab….

  2. avatar AP says:

    As a mother who with my husband adopted our daughters nearly four years ago I am rather … “livid” with Russia’s attitude towards Americans adopting. How dare they lump all of us adoptive parents into the same category? Most of us jumped through burning hoops to get our children. Most of did things – required by Russia – that went against what we felt were …. shall I say, ethical? Most of us either spent our life savings or went into debt to adopt our child(ren) and where did that money all go?? Not to care for the orphans left behind! And healthy? Sure my girls have had nary a sick day, but mentally – their trauma issues have made our entire family appear “unhealthy”. And frankly, if they would not make the adoptions so financially draining we could possibly afford the nearly six digits in medical care this has cost us.

    It’s almost a relief to know that no other American families will be allowed to steal their children …..

    And my heart breaks over and over for all the children that will never find their family now ……… because I would never give up either of my two daughters. Thank you God for bringing us to each other in time.

    • avatar admin says:

      I know, AP, I know. Personally, I believe that it’s all political posturing. Every single Russian I met in Russia had positive and complimentary responses for our adoptions over the years, thanking us, saying “God bless you”, telling the kids to always listen to us, etc. There were some officials who were not of the same persuasion, but they were out to save their own necks/jobs.

      Maybe Putin will not put pen to paper at the last minute. Who knows?

      We do know that the incentive program for Russian adoptions has been a big bust. Families return the children to the orphanages when the rubles runs out. Much more popular is the fostering program where the money keeps coming. So sad….

  3. avatar hoonew says:

    I have been following this topic, because I would love to go back for one more, when time and money permit. We have one from Russia, and it would be nice to have two from the same country, in addition to our bio children. But I have been seeing the writing on the wall, and have been looking at other countries as well. Before our successful adoption, we had a failed adoption in Russia, and I do not want to go through that again, and the next time, since the next would be an older child, I don’t want to put a child through that. I appreciate your opinion on this issue, Alexandra.

    • avatar admin says:

      I know what you mean, hoonew. Our travels take us around the world, and there have been many children through the years that have tried to “attach themselves” to us in orphanages, etc. It’s not difficult for me to envision adopting from anywhere. But yes, for our family, it’s easier to keep all of them from the same geographic region.

      Not that I know whether or not any more children are in our future, Ukraine is not hard for me to imagine. My father’s mother was from there, having to flee during the Revolution, and back then Ukraine was… Russia! 🙂

  4. avatar Sarah says:

    Hello Alexandra, you know for the first time since I started my Russian Adoptions in 2003 I finally have thrown up my hands too and say enough! I have had it with all the garbage from them. I agree PAPs should run. I adore my fabulous children and our wonderful adoption agency IAG but, it is just too much. Four trips is insane , 30 day wait periods for children who have been abandoned in orphanages that are very similar to a prison is beyond crazy. Since 2003 I have been advocating for these kids. Now, you look at the numbers 750,000 in the system, 7000 adopted total last year with about a 1000 going to US. You just really start to wonder why I am spinning my wheels again and again. We go to,school with many oligarchs children and we are close with some very sweet little oligarchs children. However these children’s reality is brutal. They are here in London to avoid being shot or kidnapped . One Russian whistle blower was just assassinated outside his home in his neighborhood right by me. It is a very grim situation for all there and it makes me think maybe they need to be left to themselves to try to clean up,the massive mess they have created. The poor children but, there is a limit as to what PAPs need to endure. All so sad. However so eye opening to see the effects of the situation on the incredibly wealthy too. These kids are suffering too. I pray for the day when all can be treated well in Russia.

    • avatar admin says:

      It’s rough to see, whether from afar, or up close and personal, isn’t it, Sarah? The oligarchs often find it easier to fight their legal battles in London than to pay the costs of “doing business” in Russia. One crime watch reporter states that an average bribe in Russia today is $10,000, growing 500% in one year. Anyone who tries to be a force for good and/or change ends up disappearing or dead. I think of Paul Klebnikov, an American and Forbes Russia’s founding editor who was gunned down back in 2004 in the street in Moscow. And now it’s not enough to make adults suffer and squirm, Papa Putin has to hurt the children and deny them families….

  5. avatar Sarah says:

    Yes, you are completely right. So many are killed. I have always read about the journalists and lawyers that are killed. I have read the books on Khordokovsky, and Anna Politskaya but Now that I see it all so close up every day. I realize the problems there are so massive and really centuries deep of mistreatment of each other, I realize all I can do is love my kids and thank god we can give them this life they love so much. Of course we signed the petition and I did email my agency that the kids and I can hop a flight to Moscow if needed but I now see the writing on the wall. Lastly, did you see Putin said Khodkovsky and Lededev can go free in 2014? I was shocked! Will they actually go free? Hooefully they will fly directly out of Russia. The is a interesting book called Londongrad which talks about the Oligarchs being in London for safety, loose banking laws and quick access to Russia. It was very appropriate for me since there are 40 of these families at school with us. All the best, Happy Holidays with your crew! Will you go to,the Russian Embassy on December 26th to present the petition?

    • avatar admin says:

      Sorry for being a little pessimistic, but petitions and promises mean little to the Russian ruling class. They are out to protect Number One (and that’s not Mother Russia as a whole!) and do basically whatever they want, whenever they want. If this law is signed, sealed, and delivered, it will be bad news for American adoption agencies, particularly “the big three”. I hear that Wednesday’s weather prediction is windy, rainy, miserable–even the heavens are crying….

  6. avatar Cassandra says:

    My husband is Russian and we live in Moscow, where we will be for the next few years. It was our dream to adopt here and we were waiting until our youngest grew up a bit. They have just turned five and we were ready to begin, when this happened. Yes, I’ve been following the issue for a few years, and always knew it could happened, but I never imagined they’d do it in such an ugly and transparently spiteful fashion. My heart is truly breaking, for us and for the children who will be left here. I volunteer with orphan-related charities and find it beyond imagining that someone, anyone, would want to close the door on chances for these children to find families, any families.

    We’d consider Ukraine but are committed to preserving birth order so I think that might not work for us. I don’t know what we’ll do, or if we even have the heart to go on with this.

    Thanks for your blog.

    • avatar admin says:

      I’m so sorry to hear of your situation, Cassandra! If your husband has a Russian passport and you are living there for at least two years, I believe he would be eligible to adopt as a Russian. (Russians living outside of Russia have no such opportunity. They are considered “foreigners” in terms of adoptions.) Now with the anti-American legislation linked to this bill (not heading up political NGOs), I’m not sure that dual Russian-American citizens will have many rights at all in Russia, so it might depend on whether or not he has an American passport, as well. Bulgaria also has younger children, but it could take up to two years to adopt, and sometimes special needs kids are pushed.

      Maybe there will be a delay, or Putin won’t sign it into law, etc. Our family has been through numerous regional and nation-wide shut-downs in Russia, and the pendulum eventually swings back… but it’s rough waiting for it! This resulted in a four-year delay for our second son (friend of our first son), which meant more beatings and huge educational setbacks, but hey, his Russian is better than some of the others. A small consolation. Let us know how it’s going for you. We’ll be praying….

      • avatar Cassandra says:

        Thank you very much for your kind words. Your family’s travails are indeed an inspiration.

        We considered briefly trying to obtain citizenship (husband has passport from another CIS country, not Russia), but consider it too risky–you see how the government treats its own citizens here! We will hope that sane minds prevail. A Russian child rights advocate has called it “a law only King Herod could sign”; maybe Putin will play the good tsar?

        • avatar admin says:

          I understand, Cassandra. When Sergei Lavrov expresses reservations about Putin’s direction, anything is possible. It might just be Putin’s rattling of the sabres. And there are many parallels indeed between King Herod and a modern-day slaughter of the innocents-!

          I’ve often wondered if our 2nd son might some day wish to launch a lawsuit against Russian officials for holding him for four extra years when all he wanted to do was to be united with us, and we petitioned repeatedly for this. Talk about human rights abuses….

  7. avatar sarah says:


    For the first time in my long Russian connection to too am done with the whole thing! Good luck to them and yes it is only about the ruling class and nothing else. It is sickening and I realise there is nothing we can do. Actually, what we can do is do the very best we can with our young Russian crew, which we are already doing. All the best and have a great holiday season!


    • avatar admin says:

      Sarah, try to enjoy the holidays and not let this get you down. I realize that’s hard when our hearts are heavy. Unfortunately, I’ve been in this scenario a number of times. It’s easier for me to say with four kids home, rather than those just starting the process. But maybe the Russian ruling class will come out of their delusional state and start thinking about the future of their nation (and I don’t think they’re depending on any orphan kids to lead Russia into any glorious new era-!).

      You have to look at the whole picture of human rights in Russia, and right now, it’s dismal. Take into account the last elections and all dissenting voices quashed. People bussed from place to place to vote repeatedly. Protest rallies forbidden. The internet threatened to be shut down. Now non-Russian Orthodox churches’ properties are being confiscated and bulldozed. Journalists and lawyers continue to disappear or be gunned down in the streets. And finally the children in orphanages….

      It’s not as though foreign adoption drives the Russian economy, yet at four trips per family, numerous handlers, facilitators, interpreters, lawyers, and drivers involved, along with airline, hotel/apt., and food costs, that’s easily another $50 million year that will disappear overnight (based on 1,000 adoptions/year by Americans). Other than for Russophiles, Russia is not exactly the top tourist destination of choice….

  8. avatar Cassandra says:

    Well, the law was signed early this afternoon: http://lenta.ru/news/2012/12/28/putin/

    How silly of me to expect humanity, morality or heck, even attention to the law by Lilli-Putin.

    There’s a deputy calling for exceptions to be made for “deti-invalidy”

    • avatar admin says:

      I’m so sorry, Cassandra, that your hopes have been dashed. But I believe that in the ashes of one dream are found the building blocks of another. (Not much consolation at the present time, though!)

      Our second son was one of the “deti-invalidy”, suffering beatings and virtual imprisonment (high wall, many video cameras inside and out, I was screamed at when our first son took a photo of the FACADE of the internat from across the street, etc.), being farmed out as a foster child to an older couple who had them do all of the chores, until he had the commonsense, supposed oligophrenic that he was, to write a letter and ask to be returned. Absolutely amazing story.

      I doubt that they’ll want to get rid of many of the invalids, real or otherwise, because they get more money from the government for these kids. Not that the children benefit from it. When I questioned the parade of ten specialists who listed his supposed ailments, mental and physical, they admitted that there was no real testing done, just a general consensus and “understanding”.

      My understanding: the kid is “slow”. He probably has partial brain damage of some sort from FAS. None of the tests performed have been conclusive. But an extra several years in the system resulted in patterns of laziness and avoidance, too. Years that could have been avoided, but they didn’t want any foreigner adopting him from their anti-American region.

      So, miracles happen, even when they’re not on our timetable, and even when they’re fought tooth-and-nail by the Russian ruling class.

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