(Photo courtesy of Russian Ministries)
Russia (MNN) ― The future for thousands of Russian orphans still hangs by a thread bound to the pens of politicians.
The Russian law banning adoptions to the U.S. was signed by President Vladimir Putin to take effect on January 1. But then conflicting reports started coming out from various Russian and U.S. officials.
Some sources said the ban would only last for one year and adoptions would be allowed again in 2014. Others stated it would wait another year to be enacted, but then adoptions would be restricted starting in 2014.
Around 130,000 Russian children were eligible for adoption in December 2012. The U.S. State Department estimated that up to 1,000 children were in various stages of being adopted to U.S. families. 46 adoption cases had already received court approval and were in the last weeks of the process.
Anita Deyneka with Russian Ministries says, “Although its significance isn’t completely clear, the recent news from the Russian government that the implementation of the new law banning adoption…may give a short reprieve possibly for the 46 orphans already assigned to American parents. But this is not even clear.... The meaning for 2013 is probably that apart from perhaps the 46 orphans, there will be 1,000 orphans who would have come to America who probably won’t.”
One thing is for sure: the whole ordeal has been stressful. Deyneka says, “Of course this is so hard for American families and the Russian orphans who were waiting to be adopted--already thinking it was happening. We pray that at least those 46 children who had come that far may be adopted.”
Deyneka goes on to share, “Our partner, Russia Without Orphans, has petitioned the Russian government to exclude children with disabilities from the ban on adoption during 2013, but even that is not certain.”
On Sunday, January 13, thousands of Russians took the streets of Moscow in protest of Russia’s ban on adoptions to the U.S. Many bore signs with the faces of Russian officials and President Putin--who approved the ban--with the word "Shame."
Organizers say between 20,000 and 50,000 people turned out for the protest, while police say that number is closer to 9,000. Participators accused ban supporters of playing politics with the lives of children.
Some Russians are apprehensive of U.S. adoptions. A poll done by the Public Opinion Foundation across Russia said 56% of the population supports the ban. Out of 60,000 adoptions from Russia to the U.S. since the end of the Soviet Union, 19 children died after being adopted.
Some say the attention drawn by the Russian government to these unique cases of adoption abuse is just a smoke screen, since the adoption ban came shortly after--and in response to--the Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act allows the U.S. to freeze assets and deny visas to corrupt Russian officials.
“The reality of it is punishing children for political posturing can’t be good for anyone in any year, and that appears to be what has happened,” says Deyneka.
But there is some encouragement, she says. “Russian Christians are working with the government, spreading the word in their churches, and more and more adoptions are happening inside the country by Russian Christians to care for their own orphans.”
Join Deyneka in prayer that God will turn the sad news to good news. “My prayer is that these 1,000 orphans who are now prevented from coming to America...might even be adopted by Russian Christians inside their own country--and many more orphans also.”