Russians Respond to Adoption Ban

Dawn Davenport


I’ve said that nothing could surprise me anymore in international adoptions, especially with

Russians Rally Against Adoption Ban

Marchers protested Russia’s ban on future international adoptions to the US.

Russian adoptions, but I was wrong. This article in the New York Times, Russians Rally Against Adoption Ban in a Revival of Anti-Kremlin Protests, knocked my socks off, and for once it was in a good way. There is something in this story that I need to remember when thinking about all international adoptions regardless of the country–people are able to see through rhetoric better than I might assume. It’s a hopeful thought in this time of many threats to international adoptions.

In response to the Russian Parliament’s ban on future international adoptions to the US, anywhere from around 10,000 to 24,000 Muscovites took to the streets in what was called a “March Against Scoundrels.” The protesters chanted, “Take your hands off children,” and carried posters showing the faces of lawmakers stamped with the word “shame.”

Well I’ll be doggone.

Somehow I just assumed that the majority of Russian citizens had bought into the government’s outrage over the supposed mistreatment of a huge number of Russian children at the hands of their American parents. I wasn’t giving humans in general, and Russians in particular, enough credit for seeing the truth behind the rhetoric. “[M]any of the marchers became emotional in talking about why they took part. Some questioned the morality of a ban on adoptions by Americans in a country where so many children are in foster care or orphanages.”

The article pointed out this this support for international adoption for children who have no other options may not be universally accepted throughout the country. It seems that Russia, not unlike the US in some ways, is a country with a divide between how urban dwellers and rural or small town residents feel about many issues, including international adoption.

The Parliament member who sponsored the bill, Yekaterina Lakhovasaid said shortly after the march began: “I am especially surprised to see people gather at such a large action in support of American business — because for them, our children, Russian children, are factually, let’s put it this way, an object of trade.” She then got to what I suspect is the heart of her objection to Americans adopting Russian kids: “Economically developed countries — and we do not consider ourselves a third world country, we are in the top 20 — do not give up their children to foreign adoption as much as we do.”

As I’ve said before, I understand why a country wants to be able to care for their own and suffers a hit to their pride when they are not able to. And, as I’ve also said before, we Americans need to own that we have 107,000 kids in our foster care system in need of adoptions, so we shouldn’t be so quick to cast stones. However, as one of the Russian marchers. Tamara Nikolayeva, said better than I ever could:

[The government has] decided to settle a score by using children, and it’s shameful. O.K., maybe at some point it will be better not to give our children away; we should take care of them ourselves. But first you have to make life better for them here. Give them a chance to study. Give them a chance to get medical treatment.”

Image credit: Our Move Archive


14/01/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 6 Comments

6 Responses to Russians Respond to Adoption Ban

  1. Melanie Kristine Joy Seier Melanie Kristine Joy Seier says:

    Melissa, I hope you get your child!! And the others, too!

  2. Melanie Kristine Joy Seier Melanie Kristine Joy Seier says:

    That is really great…”get your hands off the children!” I totally agree. And as for the number of children in foster care her in our country…maybe we should follow the people of Russia’s lead and take to the streets in protest of how many children age out of foster care each year because our own government and social service agencies can’t get their act together and find them “suitable” homes. The amount of red tape and corruption in our own foster care system that keeps children from having a family…the stories of brokenhearted couples and individuals who were attached to children in foster care and wanting to adopt them, and then told no….the stories are endless. Why do we go overseas to adopt? Because our country tell us no. Do those kids deserve homes any less than the kids in our country? No. They had a point about developed countries not adopting their kids out to foreign countries…but the issue is families for children, and not how a country looks to others. If our own country doesn’t fix the problems in the foster care system we just might see our kids being adopted outside the US. At least the kids would have families.

  3. Avatar Carrie says:

    Seeing this in the news warmed my heart–it just goes to show that bad government/government decisions do not mean that the country’s citizens don’t care.

    Melissa, I’m really hoping things turn aroudn so you can bring your child home!

  4. Avatar Megan says:

    Wow, that’s incredible! I have a friend who adopted a Russian girl about 12 years ago and it’s been really interesting discussing it with her too; it all comes down to who politicians are willing to sacrifice. It’s too bad it has to be a group of people who cannot defend themselves.

  5. Avatar Melissa Siebenthal says:

    I have been following this ban very closely because my husband and I are trying to adopt a little girl with a chronic medical condition from Russia. It was so uplifting to see the Russian people speaking out for the most vulnerable members of their society. Though I am very aware of the number of foster children waiting for families in the US, at least these children are not deprived of their basic rights to things such as medical care. I am a member of an adoptive parent support group and we are all adopting special needs children. Every single one of our Russian children is at risk of dying if they are not adopted by Americans. No Russian citizen will adopt them because they do not have access to the medicine, surgeries, or other therapies that they need. One little girl with a severe cleft lip and palate is starving to death at this very moment because they don’t have time to feed her correctly, and she cannot get the surgery she needs in Russia. I hope and pray that one day the Russian people will have the resources to take care of all of their children, but that is not the reality at this point in time. Please Russia, give these children a chance for a life and the love of a family!

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