On Friday I appeared at the 6PM evening news of KUSI to discuss a very concerning topic in current International Adoptions Law. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law, December 28, 2012, a measure that bans the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families effective January 1, 2013.
His actions could affect hundreds of U.S. families seeking to adopt. Americans adopted close to 1,000 Russian children last year, according to U.S. State Department figures.
The U.S. State Department said it “deeply regrets” the law announced by the Kremlin.
“The Russian government’s politically motivated decision will reduce adoption possibilities for children who are now under institutional care,” it said in a statement. “We are further concerned about statements that adoptions already underway may be stopped and hope that the Russian government would allow those children who have already met and bonded with their future parent to finish the necessary legal procedures so that they can join their families.”
So why did Putin do this?
The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 28 December 2012, will take effect on January 1, 2013. The law is named after a Russian orphan (Dima yakovlev) adopted by a family from Purcellville, Virginia who died of heat stroke after being in a parked car for nine hours. The law is described as a response to the Magnitsky bill in the United States, which places sanctions on Russian officials who were involved in a tax scandal exposed by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
The bill passed the State Duma on 21 December 2012 and the Federation Council on 27 December 2012. We feel that this is a highly political move and the use of the children is very concerning.
The Russian measure also bars any political activities by nongovernmental organizations receiving funding from the United States, if such activities could affect Russian interests, Russia’s semiofficial RIA-Novosti news agency said.
And it imposes sanctions against U.S. officials thought to have violated human rights.
The law envisions the drafting of a list of U.S. citizens who will be prohibited from entering Russia, and will suspend the activity of any legal entities controlled by them in the country.
The Russian bill’s implementation kills a recent agreement between the United States and Russia in which the countries agreed to additional terms to protect children and parties involved in inter-country adoptions.
It is unclear what will happen to the pending cases filed in the past year, as well as families about to start the process now. We will keep you posted as new information becomes available.
Watch the news report here