If you are someone who has been unable to have children, the declining options for international adoptions is certainly a cause for concern. Adopting an infant in the U.S. is challenging because of the shortage of infants, but adopting a child from overseas has provided an alternative for many people that are now proud parents. Unfortunately, the window for adopting foreign children has closed at least partially. Russia has been one of the most popular options for couples in the U.S. who wish to adopt a child, but the Dima Yakovlev Bill, which became effective January 1, 2013, has foreclosed this adoption alternative for parents who were not already in the process.
The adoption of Russian orphans has made the lives of many children and parents richer and happier, but this act places a complete ban on the adoption of Russian orphans by U.S. citizens. The act was signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 28, 2012 and was named after a 21 month old infant who was adopted by a Virginia couple. The boy, who was renamed by his parents Chase Harrison, died from heat exposure when he was inadvertently left in the care during a hot July day in 2008 after his adoptive father inadvertently forgot to drop him off at day care. While the adoptive father was prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter, the Russian government expressed outrage when the father was found not guilty.
Admittedly, the action of the Russian government based on this one incident is more political theater than real moral outrage since so many children who have found loving families in the U.S. However, the ban has eliminated a popular source for adoptive children. The actions of the Russian government are even more unfortunate because Americans are more likely than those of any other country to adopt Russian children that suffer from disabilities. Until the ban, U.S. citizens adopted more disabled Russian children than couples from any other country including Russia.
The unintended consequences of the Russian government’s actions is that they have had to increase expenditures to provide support and assistance for disabled children and provide more money to those in Russia who do adopt disabled children. While it is too early to determine whether the Russian government will lift the ban, the benefits received by many disabled Russian children in the past are now more evident with the ban in place. We can only hope that eventually the Russian government will feel compelled to place the well-being of orphaned children and economic realities above political posturing.
If you have questions about Kansas adoptions, we urge you to schedule a consultation so that we can answer your questions. Wichita, KS adoption attorney Thomas C. McDowell has been practicing law for over two decades and handles agency, independent, stepparent and international adoptions. So please call us today at 316-633-4322 or email us.