Russia May Suspend International Adoption to United States


Russia unanimously passed legislation on December 26th in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament to ban international adoptions to United States citizens. It was reported that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has plans to sign this bill into law in the coming days. This would have a devastating impact on Russian children in need of families.

The possibility of Russia suspending adoptions to United States citizens has loomed over the past few weeks. Russia’s proposed suspension is reported to be a response to a U.S. foreign policy that many Russians disagree with. Namely the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act which poses visa bans and financial sanctions against Russian officials for human rights violations.

President Putin may now sign the bill suspending adoptions any day. This retaliation against the United States could have devastating effects on Russia’s vulnerable children. Sadly, this could affect many thousands of children in Russia who wait for a forever family, and the families hoping to welcome a Russian child in need of a family into their home. There were an estimated 88,000 Russian children registered as orphans in 2011. While international adoption is not the solution for all of these children, for some, it is their only hope for a family. We hope that a positive resolution is made soon that will further the best interests of these children.

While this proposed law is largely in response to the U.S. Magnitsky Rule, it also seemingly has much to do with past adoptions by U.S. citizens that resulted in the death of Russian children. Russian officials have rightly been upset over the 19 children that have reportedly died at the hands of their American adoptive parents over the past 10 years. These deaths are tragedies. However, it is also important to note that over the past 10 years U.S. citizens have adopted over 35,000 Russian children who would otherwise not have known the benefits of a loving and permanent family.

We hope that the families that are committed to adoption from Russia will be able to proceed on that journey. However, those that are now considering Russia, may look for other Eastern European country options. MLJ Adoption, Inc.’s Eastern European adoption program from Bulgaria once again proves to be a wonderful opportunity for those families who were likely to pursue adopting from Russia. The stability of the Bulgaria program has additional protections for adoptive parents and the children in need of families, as Bulgaria is a Hague Convention Country. The transparency and predictability that the Hague Adoption process offers many benefits over the current process of adopting from Russia.

The Bulgarian government has taken many important steps to make the adoption climate friendlier for international adoption. Changes in Bulgarian laws in 2010 have created more opportunities for children to find their forever family in a more timely fashion and many children are able to come home younger. In addition to the Bulgarian government, our Bulgarian provider VESTA is comprised of individuals who are wonderful and committed to finding homes for children in need.

The Bulgaria government deserves much credit for its determination to improve the lives of its orphan population and for choosing to put the needs of children first. By doing so, Bulgaria has become a very promising international adoption opportunity for families to consider.

We will continue to watch this story and hope for a resolution that will allow Russian children to have the best possible opportunity for a loving and permanent family.

Photo Credit: Sheila

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here. For more information about our Bulgaria program, please click here.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.