exposing the dark side of adoption
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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.

2011 Dec 29