Shameful adoption ban

Russia using its children as political pawns

The “reset” button has been pushed on U.S.-Russian relations, all right. But they haven’t been reset for the better.

Four years after the Obama administration promised better relations with Russia by hitting the “reset button,” things have gotten so bad between the two nations that Russia is banning adoptions of its children by Americans.

Just since May, The New York Times writes, “Russian officials have used a juggernaut of legislation and executive decisions to curtail United States influence and involvement in Russia, undoing major partnerships that began after the fall of the Soviet Union.”

The latest measure in Moscow, however, is the most disgusting – using Russian orphans, many of them with special needs, as helpless pawns of a new Cold War.

If the law holds, then Russian President Vladimir Putin will have consigned thousands of Russian children to lives without the love and care and nurturing that so many American families would have provided them.

“The State Department says more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by Americans since 1992,” writes the Voice of America.

The law reportedly terminates even those pending adoptions that have been approved.

The law was passed in retaliation for a U.S. law that denies visas to Russian officials accused of human rights violations.

Unfortunately, Russian lawmakers also were able to hang their hat on a tragedy in which a U.S. adoptive father allowed a Russian child to die in a locked car. In another case cited by The New York Times, “a 7-year-old boy was sent on a flight back to Russia alone by his adoptive mother in Tennessee.”

Still, plenty of tragedies and cases of neglect occur everywhere – including Russia. That’s no reason to give up on all adoptions.

But that’s a canard; some in Russia were looking for an excuse to halt adoptions to the U.S. anyway. Consider the Russian leaders’ attitude about it all: According to The New York Times, Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s child rights commissioner, shrugged, “I think any foreign adoption is bad for the country.”

Notice what he said: “bad for the country.” Not the children. Their welfare is not foremost in the mind of Russia’s “child rights commissioner.” It’s Mother Russia that counts. To heck with her children.

This unforgivable politicization of child welfare will break the hearts of loving adoptive parents-to-be here, and stunt the futures of babies there. How cold.

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