exposing the dark side of adoption
Register Log in



Plain Dealer, The (Cleveland, OH)

Author: Janet Fillmore

Say "Children's HopeChest" and most people assume you're speaking about an adoption agency.

It's actually a ministry to children who live in orphanages in the Vladimir region of Russia.

But there are Greater Cleveland agencies that work in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

One is European Adoption Consultants in North Royalton, started by Margaret Cole in 1991. The organization has assisted in 266 adoptions from 11 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Cole says about 50 families in Greater Cleveland have used her agency to adopt children from the Commonwealth of Independent States. Most adoptions take a year and cost at least $15,000.

Russian adoptions are taking longer because of a March 7 moratorium on foreign adoptions.

"They're setting up a new system," Cole said. "Once they get all the information [for a child], they publish it for Russians and it is put in a centralized data base. Then the children are available for foreigners. It will be a little slow for a month or two once the new system is in place, but then it will begin again."

Cole expects the new system to be in place by September. So does Inessa Nikolaeyvna, director of the Vladimir orphanage and herself an orphan. Nikolaeyvna, unlike some of her countrymen, supports foreign adoptions.

"All [such] kids look forward to being adopted," she said.

Last year, 48 children were adopted from her orphanage, 115 miles east of Moscow. Most of the children went to Switzerland, France and Italy. Only three Russian couples took children.

In the Vladimir region, which includes 15 orphanages, more than 300 children were adopted last year. The main reason, said Nikolaeyvna, is the increasing number of children coming to orphanages. Two years ago, 685 children were in orphanages in the region. By February 1995, that number had soared to 1,205.

And the children keep coming. Not long ago, Nikolaeyvna waved goodbye to two brothers on their way to the United States. The next day, two children showed up on the orphanage's doorstep. Their parents had lost their jobs and were unable to provide for them.

"Eventually we will have no more room and the adoptions will have to proceed," Nikolaeyvna said.


For more information

Children's HopeChest can be reached at Box 50644, Colorado Springs, Colo., 80949; (719) 598-9575. European Adoption Consultants can be reached at 9800 Boston Rd., North Royalton, Ohio 44133; 237-3554 or 582-3900.

1995 Jul 9