Thursday, December 27, 2012

In Russia, State Adopts You

Russia is set to ban adoptions by Americans:
The adoption ban, included in a broader law aimed at retaliating against the United States, was approved unanimously by the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Parliament, on Wednesday. Mr. Putin went on to say that he would sign the bill and a decree also adopted on Wednesday, calling for improvements in Russia’s child welfare system.

“I intend to sign the law,” Mr. Putin said, “as well as a presidential decree changing the procedure of helping orphaned children, children left without parental care, and especially children who are in a disadvantageous situation due to their health problems.”

Mr. Putin also brushed aside criticism that the law would deny some Russian orphans the chance for a much better life in the United States. In 2011, about 1,000 Russian children were adopted to America, more than to any other foreign country, but still a tiny number given that nearly 120,000 children in Russia are eligible for adoption.

“There are probably many places in the world where living standards are better than ours,” Mr. Putin said. “So what? Shall we send all children there, or move there ourselves?”

United States officials have strongly criticized the measure and have urged the Russian government not to enmesh orphaned children in politics. “We have repeatedly made clear, both in private and in public, our deep concerns about the bill passed by the Russian Parliament,” a State Department spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, said on Thursday. “Since 1992 American families have welcomed more than 60,000 Russian children into their homes, and it is misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations.”

Internally, however, Obama administration officials have been engaged in a debate over how strongly to respond to the adoption ban, and how to assess the potential implications for other aspects of the country’s relationship with Russia.
Putin may be doing this for a reason, but should the kids be held hostage to international politics, or national pride?

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