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July 21, 2005

Russian adoption opportunities may be in danger

From the London Telegraph:

Thousands of Russian orphans may be deprived of new homes abroad as officials in Moscow seek to suspend adoptions by foreign parents.

Following reports that up to 13 children have met with “violent deaths” while in the care of their adoptive parents in America, parliamentarians and state prosecutors want to shut the door to couples from the US.

Applications from Canada and Germany could also be blocked.

Russia's orphanages are home to more than 260,000 children, while an estimated 450,000 more are in informal care with relatives or living rough.

In a case that triggered uproar in Moscow, a North Carolina woman was charged earlier this month with fatally beating a two-year-old Russian girl she had recently adopted.

The Moscow government acknowledges, however, that up to 200 children adopted by Russian parents died in their care last year.

A spokesman for the US embassy in Moscow said: "Over the last 13 years nearly 45,000 orphans have joined secure, loving families in the United States through the adoptive process. They would otherwise have grown up in institutions deprived of the warmth and love of a family."

My sister-in-law spent that past year in Russia, and spent a considerable amount of time at a nearby orphanage. She sent photos from there, taken during her visits. The conditions are not very pleasant. Those children desperately need homes.

While the Russian Parliament is scheduled to debate the issue this fall, Boris Altshuler, head of the Moscow based children's advocacy group, Right of the Child said: "This is just dirty politics, these children are like pawns in a game A ban on adoption in our country will mean the collective punishment of a huge number of children, around 6,000 a year." He thinks the issue is a political tactic for smearing Putin's close ties with western nations.

Russia revoked the accreditation of Adoption Services Associates, Los Ninos International Adoption Center and ACCEPT. Due to “systematic violation of obligations to control the children's quality of life in the adoptive families,” last month.

Rosana Erichsen, executive director of the Los Ninos International Adoption Center, admitted that the firm, which has been operating in Russia for several years, had not always submitted the necessary reports on time.

Foreign adoptions are opposed by Russian nationalists who consider the children to be robbed of their Russian heritage. No word on whether those same Russian nationalist make much effort to improve the lives of the children living in squalor because they have no parents.

The St. Petersburg Times reports...

The bodies of two newborn babies were found this week in Moscow, the latest of 10 babies who apparently have been killed by their mothers in the city since the beginning of the year, Interfax reported Thursday, citing the police.

The body of one baby, believed to be five or six days old, was found Wednesday in the Moskva River near Letnaya Ulitsa in the northwest of the city. Around its neck was an object that appeared to have been used to strangle the baby, the report said. The baby had been dead for four to six days.

The second dead baby was discovered by the landlord of an apartment on Yuzhnobutovskaya Ulitsa in the south of the city, also on Wednesday. It showed no external signs of violence and had apparently been abandoned by the tenants, the report said.

The babies were among five newborns who were found dead in the first two weeks of March, Interfax said....

In all of Russia, police investigate the murders of up to 200 newborns each year, according to a paper written by Farit Safuanov, a senior researcher at the Serbsky Institute of forensic psychiatry.

It's sad that the welfare of children is used so callously as a tool for political as well as bigoted motivations.

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 21, 2005 09:57 AM

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