Pavel Astakhov: Russia with no orphans - such it will be

By Maria Domnitskaya
December 29, 2011 / The Voice of Russia

Despite the signing of agreements on cooperation in the field of adoption between Russia on the one hand and the USA and France on the other, and earlier between Russia and Italy in the outgoing year, Russia’s Ombudsman for Children’s Rights Pavel Astakhov believes that child adoption  by foreigners is a temporary phenomenon in this country. “Russia needs 5 years to do away with orphanhood”, Astakhov says, adding that “only specialized orphanages for children who need a complex medical care will remain in this country”.

Hot debates around child adoption by foreigners are currently underway in the Russian society. The supporters of this idea say that first of all, this is good for children themselves since only handicapped children are taken abroad. But in reality the situation is somewhat different, Astakhov says.   

"Last year foreign citizens adopted 3,355 children. Out of these 3,355 only 4 per cent – to be more exact, 148 children were handicapped. Which means that Americans adopted 44 disabled children  out of more than 1,000. Russian citizens adopt disabled children far more willingly."  

There’s one more thing that should be mentioned here - they say that foreigners adopt the children which were rejected by potential adoptive parents in Russia. In reality, they adopt children under 3 years old, that is, the children for the adoption of which Russian citizens are queuing. People also say that foreigners pay children’s surgical operations, thus, saving their lives. Meanwhile, in Russia high-tech medical help was offered to more than 50, 000 children, including orphans in the first place, last year.  

Another myth is that that Russian orphans feel better abroad is not confirmed by official reports in the USA, Astakhov says.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, early this year the number of children who were subjected to violence in the USA reached 3 million 600,000, and out of them 360,000 children, that is 10 per cent, were subjected to sexual violence. And as regards Russia, the figure is 9,500 children, which means less than in America. 1,560 children in America have died from violence, and the majority of them were under 4. 

Americans adopt the highest number of children in the world: in 2011- 9,320 children out of which 1,016 were children from Russia. We have to delay the ratification of convention on adoption with the USA because we do not receive relevant reports, Pavel Astakhov says.

"We do not stop to stress that 19 Russian children died in the adoptive families in the USA, while the public organizations in the USA are aware of only 40 cases because they register a child’s death only during a second adoption. I’ve decided to take part in the Kseniya Antonova process who was raped by her adoptive father during a second adoption because her documents were faked, including her birth certificate, where one year was added to her age, which meant that she was of age, and this is quite a different thing. I’ll go to the USA and will question the experts, who became permanent consultants for cases concerning Russian orphans and not always tell the truth."

Some time ago Russia’s Ombudsman for Children’s Rights Pavel Astakhov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signed a joint address to the Supreme Court, with a request for the necessity of introducing a moratorium on adoption by foreigners. Astakhov is sure that Russia needs 5 years to do away with orphanages and that children who need adoption will be taken into adoptive families in Russia.

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I wish them luck with it, I really do

I just hope they go about "eliminating orphans" by making some efforts at family preservation, and not just pumping up subsidies for domestic fosterage/adoption, and thereby increasing the number of bad and revolving-door placements in Russia itself.

You will note that the tone of the article reveals that orphanhood must be eliminated not because it is bad for children, but because it is shameful for Russia, a great country, just as great and really much, much greater, more humane and cultured, than that dirty America.

enormous sums being discussed for Russian foster/adoptive parent

Just read an article in the Russian press (www.fedpress.ru/federal/polit/society/id 267267.html) saying that one of Russia's federal subjects is considering pumping up the one-time payment for taking in an "orphan" to 120,000 rubles, or 40K US. This is nearly twice an average middle class ANNUAL income. I believe the payment is currently 45,000 rubles (15,000 US), still a huge sum.

I don't foresee that this will necessarily increase the quality of domestic placements--rather the opposite. At least pre-placement parental education is becoming mandatory in September. But the curriculum I reviewed is woefully lacking in material on the life-long effects of FAS, which is the elephant in the room that in Russia no one likes to talk about.

If they spent a third of these sums on a. social support for families in crisis and pregnant mums, and b. real alcoholism and addiction treatment--essentially lacking as part of the health-care system-- and education, they could drastically cut the number of kids in the system.

Something else to watch

Russia's federal subjects is considering pumping up the one-time payment for taking in an "orphan" to 120,000 rubles, or 40K US. This is nearly twice an average middle class ANNUAL income. I believe the payment is currently 45,000 rubles (15,000 US), still a huge sum.

I hate to be the Debbie Downer here, but... while on paper/in print, a financial incentive to help encourage locals to make a domestic adoption plan may seem like a really smart idea (and wise long-term investment), the reality may turn-out to be quite different.  Once again, the USA demonstrates a darker-side to said encouraging plan, through adoption subsidies and a sub-set of adoption abuse cases-- where the APs not only abused their adopted children, they also cashed-in.   As if being abused in your new Forever Home isn't bad enough... you learn your APs got paid, through the state, to be so crappy?  Oh, there's a growing yet untapped adoption issue adoptees will have to deal with, that's for sure.

If they spent a third of these sums on a. social support for families in crisis and pregnant mums, and b. real alcoholism and addiction treatment--essentially lacking as part of the health-care system-- and education, they could drastically cut the number of kids in the system.

Totally agree, even wrote a little something about this is an older piece, titled Pathological Parenting

Sadly, the bottom-line is very simple for BOTH the USA and Russia:  not enough is being done to teach parents - both biologic and foster/adoptive - how to parent properly, and not enough post-placement monitoring is being done to ensure both children and care-takers are receiving what they need, so additional abuse and neglect does not have to be the issue it has become for far too many fostered/adopted children.  This is a funding issue, as well as "a right to privacy" issue, as exampled by those who want LESS government intervention, not more, in their daily lives.

All I know is the end result - which can be found on the streets, and seen in the prison systems - speaks for itself.

Supporting Families

I totally agree with Cassandra on her post. Excellent points made about supporting families and treatment centers.

I just want to add and to stress, that every country's goal should be to keep a family intact (if it is a safe home). Poverty should NEVER be the reason that a child is relinquished.

The ICA agencies are very quick in swooping into a country to make money and spinning the story that mothers want their children to come to America.

The role of the American adoption agency

Poverty should NEVER be the reason that a child is relinquished.

The ICA agencies are very quick in swooping into a country to make money and spinning the story that mothers want their children to come to America.

Sure... the American Dream sells, which is why there are so many desperate to have those 2.2 kids, (or super-mega-sized families). 

All an individual has to decide is the means to make the dream a reality.  Nowadays, families can be created through nature, science, or an adoption agency.

Just don't ever criticize an adoption agency... or those who work so hard to facilitate an adoption plan.... especially in regions like Ethiopia, or The Congo, where few have running water, let alone a stackable washer-dryer set, and many others are on a hell-bent Christian crusade to "save the orphan", for the sake of the child, of course.

According to these motivated folks, they are doing God's Work; what could possibly be more noble and altruistic than that?

 

God'$ Work

Fact: "1 in 100 babies born in Guatemala are eventually adopted to parents in the U.S."

Fact: "PAPs are willing to pay up to $30,000 in fees for a child. This money is a huge financial incentive in a country where 75% of the people live below the poverty level and $30,000 may represent untold hope for a desperate family."
It is documented now that the mothers did not make $30k on a child. They usually got between $500-1500 (US). The attorney got the bulk of the money.

Fact: "Advocates fear that mothers may be coerced, financially or politically, into putting their children up for adoption."
This is well documented now by such organizations as CICIG and the US Embassy in Guatemala cables.

Sources:
http://www.facebook.com/findingfernanda
http://news.change.org/stories/guatemalan-army-admits-to-trafficking-kid...
US Embassy cables distributed by the Freedom of Information Act

Disputes and arguments

Oh silly silly you... don't you know these facts will be argued and disputed by those who claim America is the best place to raise a child.

In fact, according to many of those doing birth-parent searches, everyone and his mother wants to live in America -- land where everything is bigger and in great excess -- including unwanted pregnancies, drug use (prescription and street varieties), and prison population.

Let us not forget, facts don't apply to those who prefer to keep their heads in the sands of Adoptionland.

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