Russian children hoping to be adopted by American parents are facing an uncertain future due to their government's ban that took effect Jan. 1.Russian children hoping to be adopted by American parents are facing an uncertain future due to their government's ban that took effect Jan. 1. By Jeremy Alford
Friday, March 1, 2013
In Washington, D.C., lawmakers are urging Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama to reverse the law, although the fate of those efforts contain just as much uncertainty.
"Putin's ban is simply retaliatory," says U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Metairie Republican. "We need to stand up to this ridiculous order, stand by our support for human rights and continue processing the adoptions that have already been matched.
He adds that Putin's ban was issued in response to Congress's decision to hold Russian officials responsible for the illegal imprisonment and murder of Russian attorney Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.
The U.S. State Department and Citizenship and Immigration Services estimates that there are between 350 to 500 active adoption cases involving Russian children already matched with American families prior to Russia's ban.
Each year, American families open their hearts and homes to approximately 1,000 Russian children through adoption.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, who co-chairs the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, is urging Putin and Obama to find a resolution as well.
"The U.S. families matched with these children already love them like their own and have invested a great deal of time and resources in pursuit of a final adoption," Landrieu says.
In a letter cosigned by both of Louisiana's senators, the two presidents are urged "to look beyond politics and see the people this law most directly affects."
Russia's own Ministry of Science and Education estimates that 110,000 children in Russia live in institutions, many of whom have special needs that many orphanages cannot adequately address.
Long-term institutionalization has been proven to lead to neurological and emotional difficulties in children, Landrieu points out.
The senior senator from Louisiana also visited Vietnam in February to seek an agreement to begin allowing Americans to adopt children there. "The government of Vietnam seems to be willing to restart, and there are just some final details to be worked out with the government of the United States," Landrieu told Associated Press reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam's capital. "We hope that it will be in the near future."