Thursday, April 15, 2010

Russia halts all adoptions to United States

This story just broke in the Los Angeles Times:

Russia halts all adoptions to U.S.

By Megan K. Stack

Russia froze all adoptions to the United States on Thursday, satisfying simmering national outrage over a towheaded 7-year-old's rejection by his adoptive Tennessee mother who put him back on a plane to Moscow.

A U.S. delegation is due in Moscow in coming days to discuss the crisis with Russian officials. Russia is pressing the United States to sign an agreement that would lay out new conditions for the screening of would-be parents, and would also bind adoptive parents to a strict set of agreements on the treatment of the children.
Russia last week suspended the work of World Assn. for Children and Parents, the adoption agency that paired the child with the Tennessee family.
But ever since the child turned up waiflike in the Moscow airport with nothing to explain himself but a letter from his adoptive mother calling him "mentally unstable," anger has boiled steadily in Russia.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told ABC News that rejecting the child was "a monstrous deed . . . not only immoral but also against the law."
The boy is now in a Moscow hospital, where doctors have reportedly found nothing aberrant in his condition. Just six months after adopting him, Torry Hansen wrote that he was violent, unstable and "psychopathic," and that she felt misled by the Russian orphanage workers who vouched for his mental health.
Since his return, the boy known as Artyom has become something of a cause celebre in Moscow, with multiple Russian families stepping forward and offering to adopt him.
But many more children continue to languish. Russia is home to more than 1 million "orphans," many of whom have a surviving parent who has been deemed unfit.
Last year, 1,586 Russian children were adopted by American parents, topped only by adoptions in China and Ethiopia, according to State Department figures.
But the adoption of children by American parents is deeply sensitive in Russia, provoking a touchy mix of protectiveness, wounded nationalism and distrust of the West. To many Russians, the country's inability to care for its children is yet another mark of shameful post-Soviet decay.
Cases of adopted children being harmed, or even killed, in the United States are reported in the state media with grisly detail and an overtone of outrage.
More than a dozen adopted Russian children have been killed by their adopted U.S. parents since 1996. With each death, public outrage has swelled among Russians.
Earlier this week, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament called for a moratorium on all adoptions to foreigners.
"A special agreement should be signed guaranteeing that the state maintains proper control of adopted children," Sergei Mironov told reporters.

1 comment:

  1. This entire situation is just egregious. How anyone can put a child, mentally unstable or not, on a plane halfway across the world alone is beyond me. Now everyone else will have to suffer for her lack of intelligence. Obviously something was missing from the screening process that allowed her to be given custody of this child, and I agree that must be addressed- immediately. BUT putting all Americans into the same category as her is unfair. I know you're planning to adopt from Ethiopia, I hope this does not affect your process, or add to what I'm sure is already an agonizing wait.