Duma bars Russian children from adoption by foreign same sex couples

June 18, 2013

Russia’s Lower House has passed an amendment that bans the adoption of Russian children by same sex couples from abroad.

The amendment was passed on Tuesday as the State Duma approved the second reading of the bill to protect orphans.

The amendment also forbids single people who are citizens or permanent residents of countries that allow same sex marriage to become adoptive parents or legal guardians of Russian children.

Russia itself does not allow same sex marriage and the country’s authorities have passed a number of regional and federal bills banning the promotion of gay and other “non-traditional” sex to minors – a move considered as discriminative by a large part of society.

Another related move was the adoption in late 2012 of the so called 'Dima Yakovlev Law' – an extensive act that forbids, among other things, the adoption of Russian children by US citizens or by proxy of US organizations. Russia said it was prompted by a number of cases where US authorities refused or failed to cooperate in the investigation of cruelty or even death of adopted Russian children by their US adoptive parents.

The US authorities have blamed the poor cooperation in part on law enforcement on the complicated relationship between federal and state laws.

Russia is currently working to sign bilateral agreements on child adoption with other countries. One of the first to sign such agreement was France, and over the past few years it ranked fourth by the number of adopted Russian children after the United States, Italy and Spain. After France legalized same-sex marriage in May 2013 Russian officials said that the adoption agreement must be urgently changed.

President Vladimir Putin said in a recent interview that he would sign the ban on adoption by foreign same sex couples if the Russian parliament passes such bill. State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin said last week that the Lower House will give its final approval to the bill in June.


Banning PAPs

According to recent reports, approval has been granted to ban same-sex adoptions.

Personaly, I believe if one is going to proclaim "a child's best interest" in Adoptionland, then adoption law-makers ought to ban ALL single-parent adoptions, especially if the adoptions are going to be ICA.  

GLBT agenda aside, I think most adoption law-makers forget children available for adoption are frequently the victims of neglect and abuse, whilst in-care.  As a result, these children require far too much work and 1:1 attention for one single person to handle.  It's not fair to send a traumatized child to live with a person who is likely to be too ill-prepared and too easily overwhelmed when it comes to parenting a child with life-time special-needs.

Infamous single-AP cases to review:  Masha Allen and Artem Justin Hansen .   [Are either single-parent cases "in the child's best interest"?  I think not.]

Oh, My . . . Let's bash single-parents now?

Kerry, I would like to see your hard-evidence statistics that a single-parent becomes more overwhelmed than any other parent . . . or that resources & services are less available for single parents than a 2-parent family . . . or that a single parent cannot create the change 1:1 that a traumatized child needs . . . children being biological, adopted or fostered.

2 sited cases (although tragic & worth mentioning) . . . an intelligent & well-founded argument . . . does NOT make! I can site many 2-parent family cases that have had tragic results . . . marital status has nothing to do with optimal parenting.

"Banning" an entire section of population based on an unfounded assumption is certainly NOT in the best interests of the children . . . Shame!

privileges and rights

The sentence that seems to have triggered your response is apparently the following:

Personaly, I believe if one is going to proclaim "a child's best interest" in Adoptionland, then adoption law-makers ought to ban ALL single-parent adoptions, especially if the adoptions are going to be ICA. 

I wonder why you think this is shameful. Adoptive placements should be in the child's best interest only. Ambitions by singles to become parents should not be a consideration in Adoptionland. Given there is such an overwhelming demand for adopted children (especially when it comes to ICA and domestic infant adoption), we may assume that there are plenty of suitable families wanting to adopt. Ironically, despite our long list of abuse cases in adoptive families, there is no lack of decent families in the US. The allocation of adoptions, however, doesn't take place based on the best interest of the child; it takes place on a fist-come first-served base. That's how abusive families slip through the net, and that is also how non-traditional families and older couples stand a chance to adopt.

Notwithstanding the large number of single people being able to raise children on their own, while maintaining a job without getting overwhelmed, the risk is still higher.

If social workers always erred on the side of safety, like I thing they should, given the primacy of the child's best interest, they would never place a child in a family that has a higher risk factor. Given there is such a high demand for adoptable children (ICA and domestic), there will always be families with lower risk factors.

Adoption is a privilege not a right. Single persons may enjoy all their rights, and as a single person myself, I will even stand for my rights, but that doesn't mean I am entitled to a privilege. As a single person I have disadvantages for a child.

If I had to raise a child and I got sick, I wouldn't have a back-up parent to take over some of my responsibilities. As a single person I wouldn't be corrected when acting wrong towards a child. There are many things two nice people would do better than I could by myself. So if the best interest of the child prevailed, I shouldn't even be considered an option.

My personal POV

Hi Nancy--

Good to see you responding again.

You're right, my initial response was not based on scientific data. My response reflected my own personal opinion. I am, afterall, a mom to four... so I know a thing or two about the challenges that go with parenting...from cradle to college.

My initial reply was based on the feed-back I have received over the years from single (divorced, separated and otherwise "unmarried") A-parents on the brink of disruption because they are too overwhelmed by the needs of their adopted children.  Like so many APs, they have not been supported by their adoption agencies, POST adoption.  Many of the mothers who contact me are clueless, desperate, and have no one to help support them and they are scared-to-death of their acting-out adopted children, who happen to be pubescent teens.

My first response was also based on complaints made to me, by single-parents, (adoptive or not), who thought they could raise their children alone, without help.

I do not bash single-parents... I believe single-parenting is the most difficult form of parenting there is, and because of that, I simply follow the more traditional belief that two prepared involved parents can cover the needs of a child (adopted or not) more so than just one single-parent.... especially if one person has to work/earn an income (and much-needed health insurance benefits) in order to provide the many costly needs EACH child has for 18+ years.  So if my initial response, "to ban ALL single-parent adoptions" came off too strong, perhaps it would have been more prudent of me to voice the opinion that I think ALL slngle-parent adoption-options ought to be given a strong second-thought and in turn, be limited.

Meanwhile, I do agree with you that marriage itself does NOT guarantee safety within a home. I believe our archived cases featuring abuse in the Ahome prove neither the single-person nor the married couple is immune to the potential of child abuse. [This says to me, there are far too many ill-prepared/unfit APs out-there being served by the adoption industry.]

But there's a twist to family-planning in Adoptionland.  You see, according to the history of child placement, unwed motherhood was perhaps one of the most common reasons to deem a parent "unfit" to keep her child.  Perhaps this report, The Consequences of Fatherlessness can shed some light as to WHY unmarried mothers were seen so unfit and unstable. 

This begs the question:  If single-parenthood is not the ideal, and is thought to put a child at higher risk of negelect and various forms of childhood illness and unwanted acting-out behaviors, (especially during the child's teen years), then how can single-parenthood serve as a child's best interest/solution in Adoptionland?

Furthermore, as I understand it, when a married couple applies for an adoption BOTH PAPs need to be screened and vetted.  When a single person applies for an adoption, only that candidate gets vetted.  As it is, I do not think current screening standards/home-studies are sufficient, so what about those cases where hidden love-interests of the single-adopter... or those who will have direct contact and care with that adopted child are not given the same checks and reviews given to the primary parental care-taker?  Is it really in the best-interest of the adoptee to have overlooked non-vetted care-takers in their daily lives?

As far as number of cases I presented: I mentioned two cases specifically related to adoptions from Russia. [I am presently reviewing the over 500 abuse cases in our archives, tagging all the cases that feature single-parents, with or without live-in partners for you.]  I ask you be patient with me.  This is a tedious time-consuming task for one or two people to cover.

Since post-placement monitoring is NOT usually recorded or reported as it needs to be, I do believe our archived material can help support my personal belief that single-parents are putting a child at higher risk of neglect, which in my mind translates itself into a child who will have a strong sense of insecurity and an inability to overcome specific trust/attachment issues and other complex special emotional needs. 

In addition, I do not believe it's in the best interest of an adoptee to have multiple care-givers.  I believe shifting around from care-taker to care-taker, or being with a single parent who gets few breaks is neither ideal nor in the best-interest of child who has already experienced multiple caregivers coupled with trauma.  [Isn't the damage done by multiple care-givers one of the reasons children in American foster-care are in such dire need of a sense of "permanance"?]

I have no problem if you yourself disagree with my personal opinions about various types of adoptive parenting.

We are each entitled to our own personal opinions, based on our own parenting/adoption experiences.

single parents

There are valid points to what you say Kerry about single parenting. However one point I will make is that it is fairly often I see two parent families where one parent (usually mom) is on board with parenting a traumatized child and the second parent is not. Second parent thinks it is all hooey and they should raise the child 'the way I was raised' or 'the way we raised the rest of them'.

Two, as opposed to one

fairly often I see two parent families where one parent (usually mom) is on board with parenting a traumatized child and the second parent is not.

I would agree; I too have seen this dynamic happen far too frequently with adoptive parents.  I myself don't understand how or why an adoption agency working on behalf of an adoptable child's BEST interest would choose such a couple to parent an adopted [SPECIAL NEEDS] child.

But then again, how many times on PPL must we say and repeat over and over again: in far too many cases, adoption agencies are pandering to the wants and desires of adults who want a certain type of family, forgetting, at all times, the needs of children MUST come first, not second, or last. 

 ...Second parent thinks it is all hooey and they should raise the child 'the way I was raised' or 'the way we raised the rest of them'.

I grew-up with APs who followed this exact mentality.  The interesting thing is, as dysfunctional and horrible as it was at times.... and it WAS really horrible sometimes, I knew at any given time, at least one parent would be less crazy and more stable than the other.   It's as if the crazy took turns and sides, and in some strange way, that shift created a ballance for me. 

Because another parent would soon be around, I could get a break, and no longer face the unwanted demon-element, alone.

I would hate to think just how much worse my childhood would have been if I had only my Adad (and his family)... or worse, only my Amom (and her family) to turn to.


LGBTQ Agenda

The agenda in fact is coming from the Russian government.

LGBTQs in Russia are under a lot of pressure right now, and the pressure to breed there is quite high. The breed-or-else mentality takes a heavy toll on LGBTQs

This is what happens when you try to have a Pride parade in St. Petersberg (yesterday) - http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/06/29/gay-pride-russia/247...

About 200 nationalists also gathered at the rally, chanting slogans such as "Sodomy will not pass," and throwing eggs and rocks at the gay-rights activists, who numbered about 40.

Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia's already low birth rates and said they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment or be exiled.


Last week, Putin signed an anti- "Gay propaganda" law, which fines people for so-called "promoting homosexuality" among children. Promoting heterosexuality, of course, comes with no such fines. :) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-30/putin-signs-law-banning-gay-pro...

The Daily Fail reports on MPs in Siberia calling for Cossacks to publicly flog gays.



But back stateside, here is an adoption dilemma which I could someday conceivably face myself: my GF is a single mother to two, with an ex husband. In the case that the worst christ forbid happens to him and we are domestically partnered (samesex marriage is now legal where I live) what about "gay adoption" in that case - permissible? acceptable? second-rate to straights in the same boat? or what? (And based on what criteria?)

Step-/second-/co-parent adoption is a common form of "gay adoption", though it doesn't really make the news because it doesn't generate a lot of high emotion, or cause for morality judgment. It's under most people's radar, unless one is part of the community. Like everything else family, adoption, and LGBTQ-related, laws vary from state to state.

From HRC, http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/second-parent-adoption

Among the conditions that some courts have looked for in establishing psychological parenthood are the following:

  • The non-legal parent lived with the child.
  • The non-legal parent took on a parental role by accepting significant responsibility for the child's care and development without the expectation of pay or other compensation.
  • The legal parent consented to and fostered the non-legal parent's relationship with the child.
  • The non-legal parent's relationship with the child formed over a sufficiently long period of time so that the child feels a bond with the non-legal parent.

But that's here in the States. Samesex marriage, let alone adoption, is only available in less than 15 countries in the world and less than 10 US states out of 50. If Russia is going to restrict foreign adoptions, fine with me. It's pointless, though, to single out LGBT adoptive parents, who make no better or worse parents than non-LGBT ones. Hey, at least the chances of getting some abusive, murderous Fundamenatlist Christian set of parents is lowered with LGBT adoption. :)


In the case that the worst christ forbid happens to him and we are domestically partnered (samesex marriage is now legal where I live) what about "gay adoption" in that case - permissible? acceptable?

Let me bite.

Unlike other forms of adoption, step-parent adoption is in general not really a form of child placement. This doesn't mean it doesn't have its own set of problems, but at least it doesn't necessarily remove a child from one family and places it in another. Step-parent adoption also lacks the commercial aspect seen in ICA and domestic infant adoption. For these reasons, we haven't paid much attention to step-parent adoption on PPL.

The scenario you describe is interesting, since it is one of the few forms of adoption where nothing is lost due to the process, even though there would be a massive loss prior to the process. In most other forms of adoption, parental rights are revoked and a possible future with the child's biological family terminated.

In that sense, your scenario is somewhat similar to the adoption of real orphans (children who have lost both parents). Although relatively rare, these situations occur and I see no objection to such adoptions, if performed properly.

That said, would you be okay being screened by a licensed social worker before being allowed to adopt?

I would expect it

That said, would you be okay being screened by a licensed social worker before being allowed to adopt?


TMK, every pap is so screened; as you say adoption is a privilege, not a right. Yet equal treatment under the law IS [supposedly] a right. The call for equity and fairness in family law is thus a call for parity, not exemption or exception.

As long as my hetero peers in taxpaying are screened in the exact same way according to the exact same criteria as I, that's perfectly valid, because [supposedly] it's all towards the exact same purpose: the best interests of the child.

Step and co-parent adoptions are not all that rare and in fact happen all the time. We can expect a lot more of these cases as same sex marriage becomes legal in more states (and also the federal government is now no longer required to discriminate against such marriages as it was under the Defense of Marriage Act.)

Anyway, this is all abstract and theoretical for me personally, right now. But when the person you are in love with and vice versa has young children, you have to consider all the possibilities, including "what if something happened" scenarios. You have to be prepared -- certainly as an interracial and non-hetero couple -- for blatant discrimination, if not extra scrutiny that is in reality never afforded your peers due to their sexuality, which we're told is supposed to be superior to all others. Yet, I do wish more heteros put the same amount of forethought into their own parenting choices.

Also, re: single parenting

We should also bear in mind that regarding same sex parenting, adopting, fostering, etc., marriage is still illegal or at least illegitimate (in the literal legal sense), in overwhelmingly most states in the US.

That situation forces people like my GF (prior to this past Saturday when gay marriages became legal in my state) to identify and be defined legally and politically as a "single parent".

I don't believe married mothers are superior to single mothers, even if only because I've seen no anectodal evidence for it. Back to a perinneal PPL question: is it "better for the child" to be raised by a non-abusive single gay parent, or get a double dose of mistreatment with two abusive hetero parents? Dunno about anybody else, but I know the answer. :)

Hopefully, the world is changing such that the above is just another false dilemma, and the lack of choices won't make things so extreme for children in care


Your false dilemma is actually one that needs to be considered given the state of the American adoption system. My argument the other day was that it doesn't have to be that way. Given the enormous size of the American population it should be easy to find decent couples willing and able to adopt, at least when it comes to ICA and domestic adoption.

When the choice is between one horrible parent and two horrible parents, I can understand a preference for the former. When the choice however is between one nice parent or two nice parents, I am inclined to prefer the latter.  Like I said before, I think adoption could and should be able to provide this best option, given the large number of decent families that exist.

I don't have very strong opinions about the make-up of a family, nor the official legal position, but I do believe that having a stable home with two nice parents is usually in the child's best interest. I know you don't like that particular term, but I think it really is all we can and should consider.

favorite phrase :)

Yeah, it's not my favorite term, but only because it's so misused, and also often used as a stick.

It's become little more than a repeated catch phrase, like "choosy mothers choose Jif" or something. I also think adoption could provide what it so often claims, but so often ego gets in the way.

Extrapolation into accepted definitions of stability and niceness is where it gets sticky. For some, "heterosexual" is by default more stable than homo, but that's due only to perception and lack of education. Traditional conservative religious, especially conservative Christian is supposedly more stable than atheist, in many circles. It goes on and on - these defs are fine in themselves, but when they turn into institutionalized discrimination, that's where they run the risk of becoming out wrong and a source of damage.


I agree with your observations, but again, it shouldn't have to be that way.

It is not inconceivable that adoptions can be performed by licensed social workers that use up-to-date information about risk factors.  It's also very possible for social workers to use evidence based screening methods. In other words, it could be demanded by state law that social workers use the science provided and available in their field. The same is demanded of medical professionals, so why not apply the same rigor in social work? Such an approach would both prevent discrimination and protect against decisions based on political correctness only.

Political correctness, pfft

If the question is whether or not f I'd somehow accept additional scrutiny by a state or private actor due solely to my sexuality, real or percieved, the answer is absolutely not.Why should I?
But if the [ostensible] heterosexual step or co parents are subject to the same rigors, I don't see the issue.

Put another way, say a woman adopted her kids with a husband, then got a divorce, then came out -- another scenario that happens all the time. Same person, same individual, different understanding of her sexuality. Does that somehow now either increase risk factors as an adoptive parent, or make her unfit? If so, why?


I didn't ask the question about screening on the grounds of sexual orientation.

My interest is first and foremost geared towards better screening of adopters.  With that, I am mostly interested in learning if you think people in your hypothetical position (potential step-parent-adoption) receive proper screening.  Given what we know about abuse rates in non-biologic families, would you agree to more intense screening, and not see that screening as being "sexually biased"?

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