Russia’s anti-US adoption law delayed


American families may no longer be able to adopt Russian orphans.

The Russian law preventing U.S. families from adopting Russian children has been pushed back due to criticism and opposition from both Russian and American citizens.

The anti-U.S. adoption bill, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Dec. 28, was originally scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1. It was widely viewed as a retaliation against the Magnitsky Act, signed by President Barack Obama on Dec. 14, that restricted travel and finance for human rights abusers in Russia.

Supporters of the U.S. adoption ban point to cases where Russian children in the care of their U.S. adoptive parents were killed or abused.

Russia’s lower court and parliament, the State Duma, named the bill after a two-year-old boy died in 2008 when his adoptive American father left him in a hot car for hours.

According to local media, out of the 60,000 children who have been adopted into U.S. homes since the 1990s, there have only been 19 cases of death.

Both the U.S. and Russia recently agreed to provide additional safeguards to protect adopted children and the parties involved in the adoption process.

“This bill is frankly a childish response to the Magnitsky Act,” Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Program Director John Dalhuisen said to CNN. “The Duma should be focusing its efforts on how it can strengthen Russian civil society and not weaken it.”

The U.S. adoption ban has caused uproar from Americans and also from Russians. The ban cancelled 46 pending adoptions; currently, there is no word on whether these adoptions can eventually be fulfilled.

Melissa Baldwin, an adoption advocate and a mother of two adopted children, thinks that the ban is a political move by Russia to publicly “punish” the U.S. for certain stands the U.S. has taken internationally.

“The tragic thing is that it is the institutionalized orphans, 1,000 of which were rescued by American families alone last year, who will suffer,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin adopted her youngest daughter Maddie, age 9, from China when she was 18 months old. China and Russia are the two most popular countries that U.S. families choose to adopt from.

Vladimir Varfolomeyev, a well known radio host in Russia, compared Putin to the biblical King Herod, noting that the adoption ban was signed on the same day that the Orthodox Church commemorates the Massacre of the Innocents, when Herod ordered the killing of infants in Bethlehem.

The law prompted major uproars in Moscow, with thousands of Russians marching through the streets carrying signs protesting against Putin and his policies.

“Yes, there are cases when [the children] are abused and killed, but they are rare… Concrete measures should be taken (to punish those responsible), but our government decided to act differently and sacrifice children’s fates for their political ambitions,” leader of a leftist opposition group Sergei Udaltsove said to FOX News.

The delayed ban could potentially help the 46 Russian children who were already in the process of being adopted be able to meet their future U.S. families after all.

“Russian orphanages are known for their poor conditions,” Baldwin said. “The fact is that even an institution [or orphanage] that is well equipped and maintained could never begin to substitute for the love, care and sense of belonging that comes from being part of a family.”