Critics of a bill banning American citizens from adopting Russian orphans say the orphans would be hurt the most by such a measure. The Dmitri Yakovlev bill, named after a toddler who died from a heat stroke in Virginia when his adoptive father left him in a parked car for nine hours, was unanimously approved by Russia’s upper chamber of parliament, Wednesday. Although President Vladimir Putin has supported the bill, it is not yet clear whether he intends to sign it into law.
According to The New York Times, the bill would also “impose sanctions on American judges and others accused of violating the rights of adopted Russian children in the United States.”
This law is said to have been developed by Russians in an attempt to get revenge for an “American law punishing Russians accused of violating human rights”. This is just the latest in a series of legislation and executive decisions aiming to “curtail United States influence and involvement in Russia.”
There has also been public outrage in recent years, in response to many cases involving the abuse or death of adopted Russian children.
The idea that politics would cloud the judgment of Russian lawmakers in deciding what is best for helpless orphans is disgraceful. Though there has been concern over a significant number of children allegedly being mistreated by American parents, it is doubtful that this is the primary motivation in voting for this ban.
Americans have adopted more Russian orphans than any other country, over 45,000 since 1999. According to UNICEF, Russia currently has more than 740,000 children living without parental supervision and has been criticized for having a “deeply troubled foster care and orphanage system”.
If the ban is enacted, it could potentially prevent 46 children ready to be adopted by American parents from departing the country, including some whose adoptions have already been court approved.
Some, high ranking government officials have come out against the bill, arguing “it would be in violation of Russia’s constitution and international obligations”, as reported by NPR.
Hopefully, these orphans will not have to suffer as a result of a deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and Russia. These children could scarcely have as many opportunities in other parts of the world as they would in the United States.