Country Update: Russia

russia

 

Russia is currently CLOSED to intercountry adoptions.

 

 

CCAI GENERAL OVERVIEW OF RUSSIAN ADOPTION

 

Poverty remains the number one reason that parents abandon their children in Russia. Roughly 230,000 children are reported to be residents of the state orphanage system with over 650,000 in some form of state care. Itar-Tass has reported that some 90 percent of children in orphanages are not true orphans as they do have living parents. In an attempt to reform Russia's adoption system, then president Boris Yeltsin signed a new adoption law in 1998. This law was intended to place higher criteria on foreign adoptions and encourage more domestic adoptions. In brief, foreign adoption agencies had to be certified by Russia in order to conduct business there. Certification required passing a laundry list of qualifications designed to cut down on corruption and, what amounted to baby selling. Furthermore, when a child becomes available for adoption, there is a five month wait period before that child can be made available to foreign prospective parents. It is hoped that, in that period of time, a Russian family will adopt the child.

 

On March 3, 2000, President Putin chaired a special meeting of his Cabinet. The sole item on the agenda was Putin's mandate for improving conditions of Russia's orphans. A month later, the Russian government issued a decree which mandated that potential adoptive parents must be represented by only accredited adoption agencies. While agencies scrambled to gain this accreditation, adoptions that were in progress were put on hold or rejected altogether by the Russian regional courts.

 

Since then, the Russian government has continued to use accreditation as a means to restrict the number of children adopted outside of Russia. They have also increased their efforts to promote domestic adoption as an option for children who are living without parents and improve conditions for families who are forced to use the state orphanages for temporary care for their children.

 

Over the last few years, some Russian child welfare leaders and legislators have focused in on controversies as a reason to end adoptions of Russian children by American parents altogether. In 2007, Mr. Harrison of Virginia, forgot his newly-adopted, Russian-born toddler, Chase, in a hot car and the child died. In December of 2008, a Virginia court acquitted Mr. Harrison of involuntary manslaughter. The child’s death and his father’s subsequent acquittal revived the call by some in the Russian government to end adoptions between Russia and the United States. Another incident in April, 2010 where U.S. mother Torry Hansen put her then seven-year-old adoptive son back on a plane to Russia alone with a letter that said she didn’t want him anymore further ignited the debate.  Russian officials maintained that US laws are not sufficiently protecting their children. They supported this claim by pointing out the fact that 12 children have been killed after being adopted to parents within the United States.

 

In response to these concerns, after two years of negotiations between Russia and the U.S., President Vladimir Putin signed a bilateral agreement between the two countries on July 28, 2012 to continue to allow adoptions of Russian children by U.S. families.  Prospective adoptive parents who registered documents in Russia prior to November 1 were not affected by the agreement.

 

However, on December 28, 2012, President Putin signed Federal Law 18661406, known as the “Yakovlev Act” prohibiting the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families effective on January 1, 2013.  The law is named after Dima Yakovlev, adopted as Chase Harrison, who, as mentioned above, died after being left by his U.S. adoptive father in a hot car.  Lawmakers in the Russian Duma have stated that the legislation is a direct response to the U.S. “Magnitsky Act” which is designed to address human rights violations by sanctioning a specific group of Russian officials connected to the death of a whistleblowing lawyer in a Moscow prison.

 

Flag: http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/flags/countrys/europe/russia.htm

 

All of the information listed below is from the following source:

Russia Web Page, U.S. State Department, Office of Children's Issues

 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE ALERTS & NOTICES

June 25, 2013 Alert: Post-Placement reports

January 24, 2013 - Alert: Russian Supreme Court Letter on Implementation of Federal Law No. 272-FZ

January 11, 2013 - Alert: Families, Agencies Report Difficulties in Completing Russian Adoptions

January 3, 2013 - Alert: Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families

December 31, 2012 – Alert: Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families Signed into Law

December 28, 2012 – Alert: Russian President Vladimir Putin Signs Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families into Law

December 28, 2012 – U.S. Embassy in Moscow Statement by Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell on Russia’s Yakovlev Act

December 26, 2012 – Alert: Federation Council approves Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families

December 21, 2012 - U.S. Embassy in Moscow Statement by Ambassador Michael McFaul On Federal Law No 186614-6

December 21, 2012 – Alert:  Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families Passes the Russian Duma and Moves to the Federation Council for Review

November 1, 2012 - Alert: Entry into Force of the U.S.-Russia Adoption Agreement

October 15, 2012 - Alert: Department of State and Russian Authorities Issue Joint Statement on Adoption Agreement's Entry into Force

July 31, 2012 - Notice: President Putin Signs the Agreement Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation Regarding Cooperation in Adoption of Children

July 19, 2012 - Notice: Federation Council Approves the Agreement Between the United States of American and the Russian Federation Regarding Cooperation in Adoption of Children

July 10, 2012 - Notice: Approval of the Agreement Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation Regarding Cooperation in Adoption of Children

March 1,2012 - Notice: Regional Suspensions on Adoption Processing in Russia

February 21, 2012 - Notice: Processing Time for Adoptions Increased

July 13, 2011- Secretary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Sign Adoption Agreement

June 24, 2010 - US-Russia Joint Statement on Intercountry Adoption

December 15, 2010- Adoption Notice

December 10, 2010- Adoption Notice

 

 

CCAI STATEMENT ON RUSSIAN BAN ON INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION:

January 2, 2013 Statement

 

CCAI SPECIAL REPORT:

Policy Considerations Raised by Russian Adoption Case

 

SENATE AND HOUSE RESOLUTIONS:

Senate Resolution 628 - December 31 2012

House Resolution 24 - January 14, 2013

 

CONGRESSIONAL LETTERS ON RUSSIAN ADOPTION:

May 31, 2013 - Congressional Letter to President Obama on Russian Adoption Ban

January 14, 2013 - Russian Response to December 21st Congressional Letter (In Russian)

January 14, 2013 - Russian Response to December 21st Congressional Letter (English Translation)

January 18, 2013 - Bicameral Congressional Letter to President Putin

January 18, 2013 - Bicameral Congressional Letter to President Obama

December 21, 2012 - Congressional Letter to President Putin

April 23, 2010 - Congressional Letter to President Medvedev

 

 

RUSSIAN ADOPTION INFORMATION

All of the information listed below is from the following source:
Russia Web Page, U.S. Department of State, Office of Children's Issues


Number of Adoptions to the U.S.

Fiscal Year Number
FY 2013 250
FY 2012 748
FY 2011 962
FY 2010 1079
FY 2009 1586
FY 2008 1857
FY 2007 2303
FY 2006 3702
FY 2005 4631
FY 2004 5862

Hague Country: No


Adoption Authority: Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation

 

SPECIAL RULES/PROCEDURES

In addition to the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Russia also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:

 

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for intercountry adoptions from Russia. Prospective adoptive parents will have to come to Russia twice during the adoption process.

Age Requirements: For single persons who wish to adopt, there must be a 16 year age diference between the prospective parent and the prospective child. There are no age requirements for married couples.

Marriage Requirements: Both married couples and single persons may adopt. Single persons must be at least 16 years older than the adoptive child.

Other Requirements: Russia has some medical requirements for prospective adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents should consult their adoption agencies concerning medical conditions. Some disqualifying conditions include tuberculosis (active and chronic), illness of the internal organs and nervous system, dysfunction of the limbs, infectious diseases, drug and alcohol addictions, psychiatric disorders, and any disability preventing the person from working.