Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill on Friday to ban American families from adopting Russian orphans as an apparent political response to a U.S. law that aims to punish human rights violators in his country.
Currently there are 46 children who are awaiting final approval of their adoption to join families in the U.S. who will be forced to remain in Russia. These adoptions generally have taken several years and mountains of paperwork to get to this point in the process. In addition, the children and families already have spent time together ‘bonding’ as a requirement of final approval.
“The welfare of children is simply too important to be linked to political aspects of our relationship,” said U.S. State Department Spokesman Patrick Ventrell . He expressed regret to Putin’s signing of the bill and urged Russia to “allow those children who have already met and bonded with their future parents to finish the necessary legal procedures so that they can join their families.”
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said that the two nations had already created safeguards to protect adopted Russian children, and noted “it is unfortunate that now the Duma has apparently decided to take away these negotiated safeguards and ignore the hard work and negotiations on both sides that went into putting this agreement together.”
UNICEF estimates that there are 740,000 orphans in Russia with no parental custody, while only about 18,000 Russians are waiting to adopt a child, according to a Fox News report.
“Over the last 20 years 60,000 children have been adopted from Russia,” said Lauren Koch, spokeswoman for the National Council for Adoption. “If this bill is enacted, this means that tens of thousands of children will languish in orphanages.”
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