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Iron Curtain Falls Around Russian Adoptions

Associated Press

A Washington family is scheduled to return home Saturday with days to spare before a new Russian law bans American families from adopting Russian children.

The World Association for Children and Parents says the Washington family completed the adoption. It provided no further details. The new law is expected to take effect on January 1.

It's one bright spot in an otherwise bad situation. The National Council for Adoption says about 46 children who had already been assigned to American families are now unlikely to see those adoptions go ahead.

News that Russia would shut down US adoptions over a spat about Russian human rights abuses has stunned the parents involved and the agencies that help them. Russia is among the top sources for international adoptions in the US, behind China and Ethiopia. Several agencies operating in Washington state say they have clients who were in the process of adopting Russian children.

Kris Faasse is director of adoption at Bethany Christian Services, which has helped several Washington families with Russian adoptions. She said this is sad for the families and worse for the children. "We know kids grow up best with the love and support of a stable and permanent family," she said. "And regardless of what’s happening through international politics, they’re the ones who are really being hurt by this."

Faasse said in her 30 years working in adoption services, she has seen other countries place restrictions on foreign adoptions after specific problems occurred. She has also seen the State Department stop adoptions from Guatemala because of concerns over corruption and coercion. This is the first time she has seen a country refuse to send its children to the US.

For Russian children, there are other potential destinations. French, Italian and Australian parents also adopt from Russia. But the biggest adopting nation for Russian children is the US.