In New Zealand, intercountry adoptions from Russia were suspended in 2006 due to changes in Russian legislation amid speculations regarding the well-being of children after their adoptions. Just the beginning of this month, adoptions from Russia to New Zealand are resuming as a result of a permit granted. This article reports how one family was just two months away from bringing home their child when adoptions were halted back in 2006. Another family waited two years and made three trips to Russia in hopes of completing their adoption. These are similar to the frustrations now faced by American families who are currently waiting to adopt a Russian child.
Meanwhile, the needs of Russian orphans remain significant. UNICEF estimates there are 4 million orphans in Russia who have lost one or both parents. A New York Time article states, “The percentage of children who are designated orphans is four to five times higher in Russia than in Europe or the United States. Of those, 30 percent live in orphanages. Most of them are children who have been either given up by their parents or removed from dysfunctional homes by the authorities.”
Since June 2010, the U.S. State Department has continued to work with Russia to finalize a bilateral agreement on intercountry adoption. Russian officials traveled to Washington, DC last month to participate in a fifth round of talks regarding this agreement. The U.S. Dept. of State’s website reports, “the talks were fruitful, and further progress was made.” The focus of these talks include ways that both U.S. and Russian officials can ensure that adoptive parents are both better screened and prepared for the realities of parenting.
In addition to the U.S. and New Zealand adoption agreements, Russia began drafting agreements with France, Spain, Britain, Ireland, and Israel last year.