Friday, December 28, 2012

My heart is breaking...

My heart is breaking.  I woke up to find that Putin signed into law a bill that bans adoptions of Russian orphans by Americans.  I've been praying for days that this would not happen.  The ban was passed to punish the US for signing into law the Magnitsky Act.  The Magnitsky Act is a law recently passed to prevent human rights violators in Russia from visiting the US or holding assets here.  I don't know that much about the Magnitsky Act, but I do know that it has nothing to do with ORPHANS.  By banning US adoptions the Russians are punishing US adoptive families, but most of all they are punishing innocent ORPHANS.  Here's the latest news this morning in regards to the new law.

I can't help but feel grateful for my beautiful children and relieved that we brought Leeza home just in time.  She has been home 12 weeks now.  I look at her and can't help to think that she's one of the lucky ones, one of the last Russian princesses to escape.  Her future in Russia was bleak.

My heart is breaking for the families who are in the process.  There are families who are stuck right in the middle of this turmoil.  Families who have met their child, held their child and adopted their child in their hearts.  These are families and mothers like me, whose roads to motherhood have been long and painful, filled with tears and years of longing for children they haven't been able to conceive.  Many have had painful miscarriages or hopes dashed adopting domestically.  Now when they finally thought it was all worth it- that their suffering had been for a reason- for this one special child in a land far away- their dreams have turned into a nightmare.  Their child, the child they love and have adopted in their heart, is on the other side of the world, forever trapped and being held ransom as a political pawn.  So far 56 families have been identified who have travelled twice, met their child, bonded with their child and then attended court and had a Russian judge agree to their adoption petition.  These families have met every requirement of Russian law and were told to return in 30 days for their child, but now they are being told that the adoption is over.  Over the last week we've been praying the bill would not pass that this just couldn't happen, especially not now, not at Christmas time.  We hoped and prayed for a miracle, but it seems now we need to pray that these precious few will be able to join their families.  There are likely hundreds more families who are in the process and have met their children too- that's hundreds of heart broken families.

We've been told that the reason for the ban is also because of the 19 US adopted children who have died due to abuse, however because of the proposed ban reporters in Russia have been sharing more information about how common abuse and abandonment of adopted children is in Russia.

"According to various estimates, 50 to 95 percent of children who grow up in Russian orphanages become drug addicts or alcoholics or commit suicide. Russian orphanages essentially produce children who suffer from Mowgli Syndrome — that is, they are ill-equipped to function in any capacity in society.

Neither is the situation particularly rosy regarding Russian adoptive parents. According to official government statistics, a child adopted by Russian parents is 39 times more likely to die than one adopted by parents in the West. Of course, the causes of death include not only murder and involuntary manslaughter but also car accidents, illness and other factors. Unfortunately, even those statistics understate the problem because Russian courts often fail to initiate criminal proceedings when children are the victims of mistreatment or abuse."

Read more:
The Moscow Times

Putin claims that they are going to put more emphasis on Russian adoptions and that the orphans will be adopted there.  I have doubts that this will happen.  Leeza and Evan were both available for adoption for more than a year by Russians and they were never chosen.  Since our first adoption in 2008 we've been told the Russians began a pro-adoption, pro-family advertising campaign and the orphanages were still full when we visited fall 2012.  I think Putin's claims are just claims so that the human rights organizations who are outraged by this action will go away.  Even Russian citizens aren't in support of the ban.

Evan and Leeza would not have been adopted by Russians, but they might have been adopted by a European family.  However children with special needs will probably not be so fortunate.

Last night I contacted a local news station, WINK news, offering to speak about the ban and share our adoption story.  Within 30 minutes I had a reply that they would love to do a story.  What a blessing!  I pray that seeing Leeza and Evan's sweet faces will help to bring more attention to this story.  Rachael Rafanelli, came to our home this morning to interview us.  She was lovely and very gracious and we are thankful for her interest in the story.  Evan is very excited to be on TV.  Michael was at work so I got the limelight.  Yikes!  I'm not a fan of watching myself in our own videos- but I am willing to sacrifice my pride to show off my beautiful children and to hopefully inspire others to pray for the Russian orphans and the families who are in process.  Here's the link to the wink news site

I was also impressed to see Senator Marco Rubio ask President Obama to "forcefully condemn this action" in response to this ban.  His own sister has adopted children from Russia.

If you're reading my blog for the first time you might be thinking- why don't you just adopt from the US and why don't we just take care of our own first?  I think that's a wonderful idea.  Please do- try to adopt from the US, join the long, long, LONG waiting list of families.  I think the wait for some agencies are 5 years or longer.  There are very few children available for adoption here, while children sit in orphanages around the world waiting for a home.  But don't let that stop you, you can help kids today- take in a child from the foster care system.  Care and love that child and then have your heart broken when they have to return to their parent who abused or neglected them.  I fully support and encourage families to adopt any child, anywhere, at any time.  Domestic, foster to adopt or international, I'd probably even support inter-galactic adoption too (if it existed).  Adoption is beautiful and amazing and giving a child a home should never be criticized.  There are 147 million orphans in this world and if every Christian in the US adopted we'd empty out the orphanages and the foster care system in one swipe.

My baby was worth the wait.  How can you NOT love this child?

A child is a child and no child should be denied a home when a loving one has been found for them. What can we do?  First- pray.  Pray that this law will be removed and that Russian adoptions can go forward.  Pray for the families who have met their child and desperately want to bring them home.  Pray for the families who have just started the process and give them hope that their child is out there somewhere and that one day they will bring them home.  But most of all pray for ORPHANS everywhere.  There are 147 million orphans worldwide who need loving homes.

Pray for ophans in Russia and the world.  They have no voice, no one to protect them.
They have become the ENEMY of their countries.

Here is a petiton you can sign that is being sent to Putin. It can't hurt to sign.

Also you can contact your Senator or Representatives and ask them to help bring the children home of the families who are in process.  Russia signed a inter-country adoption treaty this summer that promised the US that each country would need to inform the other of changes one year in advance.  We're praying for Pres. Obama to hold Putin to this commitment.  This would mean all families who are in process would have time to complete their adoptions.


  1. Hi Emily !
    I've read your story, and I think you are good mom for your children. If possible, I would like to know whether you are talking to your children that they are Russian and try to be taught the Russian language and traditions. But I also think Pres.Putin is right. Russian children have to stay in Russia, because they are wealth of the country. And as you told about US adoption there is a long list of russian families who want to adopt children, too. But they got refuse from the guardianship as Americans get prioriet because they pay big money for the adoption. Also terribly aware, that the fault of American parents who died or suffered Russian children have not been adequately punished. But I also want to tell you that Pres. Putin said that families who was in process before 01/01/2013 would complete their adoption.
    I hope you will understand my position and will not be offended.

  2. Americans aren't entitled to adopt Russian kids. It's a PRIVELEDGE! Keep in mind the USA violated the new IS Russia adoption treaty already - denying access to Russian born kids AND failing to provide officials info on abused/killed Russian born kids in a timely manner. Yes, a teeny tiny number of kids were harmed (vs vast majority who are loved and cherished) - but the USA violated the treaty. A treaty that's less than 2 months old. Russia hasn't yet violated said treaty -- they just passed legislation that will violate it.

    Russia's a sovereign nation - they don't have to let Americans adopt their kids. You can rail and complain about the "evilness" of this, but, well, it just is. The US cannot dictate how Russia cares for its kids. Do you think the USA would change our child welfare system based on what Russia dictates? I don't think so.

    Russia's taking genuinely good faith steps to improve the welfare of its kids. Is it happening fast enought? No, but neither is foster care reform in the USA.