Wednesday, December 26, 2012

When Children Pay the Price

I had hoped to get a more feel-good picture post celebrating Christmas up... but I feel compelled to post this instead. I have only moments before work, but that's all I need. Just shooting from the hip and not really caring who I tick off. 

This morning, Russia's upper house of parliament passed a bill which, among other things, blocks adoption from US parents. The lower house did the same last week. It is not yet law, but President Putin has been supportive of it, so I expect it will be signed by him.  As I result, all US international adoption from Russia will cease, even those that are in process where the children and the families have already been matched and met and are near completion. These children may never join their forever families. 

Just to give some perspective, nearly 1000 children were adopted by American families last year (as compared to only 216 from Colombia). This number is down from the early 2000s, but is still a substantial figure. In addition, most of these children are ill or or disabled in some fashion - children that have a bleak future in Russia orphanages.  

From my understanding, this law was not proposed due to true concerns over the welfare of children after being adopted by Americans, nor because international adoption from Russia is no longer necessary.  The bill was passed in response to what the Russian government considers a slight, a "slap in the face" by American law makers. More specifically, this legislation was proposed in response to the "Magnitsky Act," a US law designed to punish Russians who commit human rights violations. 

And the children suffer.

I'm so, so frustrated by the games that countries and governments (and even simply adult individuals) play. Of the international and domestic policies that use children as pawns to gain a foothold.  "Games" that threaten the health and welfare of children. I'm sick of the posturing, the negotiating, the demands. 

I'm sick of being asked why we haven't adopted any "American kids" - always asked by people who have never adopted at all. As if one can objectively rank who is most deserving.

I'm just sick and tired of the political and societal warfare with kids as the ammunition... and.or the victims. 

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