Russia apparently intends to put an end to the export of Russian orphans. The adoption of Russian orphans is likely to be stopped entirely in the nearest future against the background of recent scandals stirred up because of foster parents’ brutality. Spokesman for the Russian Ministry for Education Sergei Apatenko stated yesterday that the so-called independent adoption of Russian orphans would be outlawed in the country before the end of the year. Independent adoption implies the activities of adoption agencies providing their services to foreign citizens wishing to adopt Russian children. Such activities are not subjected to state control. The official said that the ministry prepared a special document which had been already approved by the government. The adequate law, Apatenko said, would most likely be passed before the end of the current year. As a result, foreign citizens will not be able to adopt Russian children avoiding legal and registered agencies.
Adoption of Russian orphans by foreign citizens seemed to be quite a good perspective for parentless children as compared to their living in an orphanage. The majority of Russian people believed during the 1990s that it was a lot better for little orphans to leave Russia and start a new life in happy and successful families in another country. However, everyone knew that such business involved corruption of Russian officials from adoption agencies, orphanages and children’s hospitals.
The attitude has not changed much these days, though. An opinion poll conducted last year showed that many Russians strongly objected to barring the adoption of Russian children by foreigners. Many people said that it was most important for a child to have a family, regardless of parents’ citizenship.
The international adoption process started gathering pace in the middle of the 1990s when the state took efforts to control the adoption business. About 64,000 Russian kids have found their families abroad since 1992.
Prosecutors and human rights activists say that the majority of tragedies that occurred to Russian children in foster families abroad have taken place because of independent adoption practice. Child abuse scandals caused damage to authorized adoption agencies in Russia too. Seven of them (73 in total) were deprived of licenses in 2005 because of rough violations of the law. All adoption agencies will have to go through registration procedures with the Ministry for Justice and then with the Ministry for Education. An adoption agency will have to be registered as a non-governmental organization at first. As a result, many adoption agencies will have to suspend their activities until all bureaucratic formalities are settled.
The number of Russian families that adopted Russian orphans exceeded the number of foster parents from other countries in 2005. On the other hand, the number of children adopted by foreign citizens dropped by 26 percent last year. One has to acknowledge, though, that orphans can find themselves in a hostile family atmosphere in Russia as well, once they have foster Russian parents. What is worse, the number of orphans continues to grow because of the absence of the thought-out family policy in Russia.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov