Russia Adoption Ban Hurts the Vulnerable

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 10:20 AM

By Michael Reagan

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It breaks my heart to see Russia continue its ban on adoptive parents from the U.S., particularly since I was adopted myself. This ban, which punishes prospective parents and the children alike, is a tragedy for everyone involved.
 
Right now 259 Russian orphans and some 230 U.S. families are in an emotional purgatory, separated by a vindictive policy meant to punish the U.S. for a law passed by Congress that imposed sanctions on Russian nationals deemed to be human rights violators, according to reporting by The Associated Press.
 
Since that sort of tit-for-tat makes Russian autocrats look bad, the excuse they peddled was the ban was forced on them by a pathetic Tennessee mother who shipped her 7-year-old adopted Russian back to Putinland unaccompanied by an adult. (Although even if she had made the trip with the boy, I would be reluctant to ever describe that woman as an adult.) The bill itself was named after a Russian baby who died in the U.S. at the hands of abusive adoptive parents, 21-month-old Dima Yakovlev.
 
And of course that was wrong and the so-called parents need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. But the problem also needs to be put in perspective. Over the years — not counting the rambunctious boy FedExed back to Moscow — 20 Russian adoptees have died in the U.S. from “abuse, neglect, or other causes while in the care of their American parents.”
 
That is bad. But on the other hand, 60,000 Russian children have been successfully adopted by U.S. citizens. It’s not justice, but rather injustice to punish a future 59,980 adoptees to stop a potential 20 bad outcomes that could be prevented by better screening and follow-up.
 
Two reforms are needed to remedy this situation. First, U.S. couples are forced to go overseas to adopt because U.S. adoption rules are too complicated and onerous.
 
Racially blinded social workers at the state level often refuse to place black children with white families who want them, which is a scandal. And misguided ‘family reunification’ policies — again promoted by ideological social workers — put children back in the same families where they were before the state was forced to put them in foster care. Domestic adoption policies must be racially blind and only concerned with the well-being of the child.
 
Second, we need to support and encourage leaders like Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who is one of the 59,980 successful parents of Russian children. Blunt has met with both Russian and U.S. diplomats urging them to rescind the ban.
 
With the help of men like Blunt and our prayers, maybe needy Russian orphans will again find U.S. parents to love and care for them.
 
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.
 
 

© Mike Reagan

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