5 February 2013, 22:46

Moscow to continue protecting interests of Russian children adopted by US parents - official

Moscow to continue protecting interests of Russian children adopted by US parents - official

Moscow will continue to protect the interests of the Russian children adopted by US parents and to insist that the representatives of the US orphan houses should allow Russian official to inspect these institutions, Russia’s Foreign Ministry envoy for human rights Konstantin Dolgov said Tuesday. In particular Russian officials want to visit the Ranch for kids in Montana, he said.

He said that according to his ministry the recent the publication “Asylum for incorrigible” which was published in the Kommersant daily reflects only the position of Joyce Sterkel, who owns the Ranch for kinds in Montana.

Last June Dolgov together with Russian children rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov came to visit the Ranch For Kids demanding entry to check on the adopted children from Russia in Sterkel's care. But they were not allowed to visit the ranch.

Voice of Russia, Foreign Ministry’s website

Myths about US adoptions of Russian children

A scandal about Russia’s ban on US adoptions has been a hot topic in the media, with the public split over the issue. As a result, myths abound when it comes to Russian orphans.

Myth #1: in America poor Russian children will have a better life. But remember how frequently child abuse cases involving Russian little ones adopted to the UShave been covered in the media in the past few years: one of them died after being locked in a car for hours on a hot day; others were either brutally beaten or strangled. And this all happened despite the fact that Russia and the US had had signed an adoption agreement. However, it did not seem to work. The most recent cases involve that of the 6-year-old Maxim Babayev, who was abused by his adoptive US parents.

Legal counselor of the Russian Embassy in Washington Sergei Chumarev: “What shocked me the most was the reaction of the local authorities to the case when people representing the Russian embassy arrived at the scene to clear up the situation. They were given practically no essential information needed to investigate the case. They told us (after being paid) only the data that would be unveiled to the public anyway. Concealing crucial details is common practice for the US”

Myth #2: the US legislation is very strict, and if anybody violates it he or she is given no mercy. Nevertheless, when it comes to adopted Russian children the U.S. demonstrates a double-standard approach. Very often the verdicts given on child abuse cases appear to be absolutely inadequate in relation to committed crimes: when it turns out that a Russian child adopted to the U.S. suffers abuse from his or her adoptive parents, the latter usually get a 2-year sentence or are just fined or acquitted.

It should be mentioned, however, that in the 1990s a US woman was sentenced to 20 years in prison for abusing her adopted Russian child. The latest statistics show that the convicted parents rarely serve full prison terms. Why are Russian orphans so popular with US adoptive parents? Sergei Chumarev tries to explain: “Fair-skinned children are still in a very high demand among US adoptive parents, although officially the US has about 100,000 of its own orphans. It means that only every second orphan is lucky to find a family. Adopting a child from a different state is a very complicated procedure, with not more than 300 children adopted this way every year. There are two different legal systems and lots of administrative barriers that is why orphans from Russia and the former Soviet republics are so popular with potential adoptive parents in the US.

Myth #3: Russian children are not adopted by anybody except Americans. Critics of the so-called Dima Yakovlev law like to cite this. However, the number of Russian children adopted to the US is gradually decreasing. It shrank by 25% in 2011. Compare: the number of Russian children adopted in their native country in 2011 was ten times higher than by US citizens. America is no longer the only shelter for our orphans: many adoptions have been made from Spain and France, where, unlike in the US, adopted children are offered a higher level of security with their basic rights respected.

The latest public outrage with the Russian ban on US adoptions is likely to result in more orphans finding a new home in their native country.

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