A Response to Russia

Adopting a child always poses risks. Adopting a child from another country poses risks that are often out of our control - whether it's due to a change in economy, adoption ethics, natural disaster, or political intention. Never have the perils of international adoption been more evident than they are today, days after Vladimir Putin signed the Yakovlov Law, banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans. The law is a pathetic and disjointed attempt to punish Americans in retaliation for the Sergei Magnitsky Act, which bans Russian human rights abusers from entering the U.S. and making use of the U.S. banking system. The Yakovlev Law, in the end, will punish only the Russian orphans, many of them with special needs, who will be denied possibly the only chance they have of a permanent, safe and happy life with a family.

International adoption has long been the successful source of giving permanent homes to children from other countries that would otherwise be left abandoned or neglected in their birth countries. Russia, after China and Ethiopia, has been the third highest source of international adoptions into the United States, though the number of adoptions has been decreasing in recent years. How tragic that there are over 200 American families at various stages of their Russian adoption journey who will likely never bring home the children they already call their own. Even more tragic is that the approximately 120,000 children currently available for adoption in Russia, the majority of which are special needs, are being unequivocally denied the opportunity for love, medical attention, safety and a family because of a poorly played political hand. While it is possible for adoptive families to transition over time and perhaps consider adoptions from countries other than Russia, the children left in the orphanages have no other course of action. They risk being forgotten, left behind and hopeless.

So where do we go from here?

It has never been more important for children all over the world to know that they are not forgotten, that there are families who want to love them and care for them and that people across the globe are united in fighting for them. Whether you are directly or indirectly impacted by this travesty in Russia, recent events should serve as a reminder and catalyst. There are children everywhere that need families and homes, who want and need to be adopted. You can help them. Maybe you are already considering adoption as a way to start or add to your family. If so, please, follow your dream and know that your journey will create the possibility of a secure and loving home for a child. If you haven't yet considered adoption, perhaps now is the time. It is unfortunate that it takes horrific events to help us understand how we can positively change the world. Even more unfortunate would be if we let this lesson pass without learning from it.

Reprinted with permission from USAdopt, LLC.

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