As many of you may recall, Russia banned adoptions to the United States earlier this year. At the time the ban was being considered, there was a tremendous amount of media coverage surrounding the potential impact to Russian children waiting for placement to loving families and to U.S. families in the process of adopting from Russia. Unfortunately, since the ban became official on January 1st, little progress has been made in convincing Russia to ease the ban. As a result, hundreds of children and families are still in limbo.
According to the U.S. Department of Child Services, hundreds of families in the U.S. were at some point in the adoption process when the ban occurred. Tragically, there has been no movement for these families since January 1 and it doesn’t appear that there will be any resolution to this matter in the near future. Sadly, the options for those who have already started the adoption process in Russia is bleak. These families must decide whether they should continue to hold out hope that Russia will have a change of heart so they can continue the adoption process, or whether they should begin looking at other alternatives, such as adopting domestically or through another country.
This is not a simple decision and I have tremendous empathy for these families. Many have already met and fallen in love with a child they believed would be their son or daughter. Asking them to move on and find another child to love is emotionally devastating. More importantly, the impact on the orphaned children in Russia who have met and felt the love of these families cannot be overlooked. Every child deserves the love of a forever family. To prevent children from experiencing such love because of political differences is something we cannot and will not accept. That is why efforts to resolve this matter favorably for these children and their perspective parents must continue.
In hopes of securing a positive resolution to this difficult situation, Bethany Christian Services is working with notable organizations, including the National Council for Adoption (NCFA), and the U.S. State Department to try to convince Russia that allowing those adoptions that were in process be able to continue to completion is in the best interest of all parties. While we commend Russia for its commitment to protecting its vulnerable children, we cannot allow politics to prevent children from experiencing the love of a permanent family. Therefore, we urge Russian officials to continue discussions aimed at a quick resolution so that its orphaned children know the love of a permanent family sooner rather than perhaps never at all.
I do not know what the eventual outcome to this situation will be, but I do know that each day that passes is another day that a vulnerable Russian child goes without the love and nurturing they so desperately need. While they haven’t shown any signs of reconsidering their position on this matter, I remain hopeful that Russia’s political leaders will at some point understand that the best way to protect vulnerable children is by placing them with families committed to their development, whether that is within Russia or the U.S.