We are proud to announce that STUCK—an award winning documentary about international adoption—features CCAI’s Executive Director, Kathleen Strottman. As Kathleen explains in the documentary, which uncovers the personal, real life stories of adopted children and their parents, “the right to a family is a basic human right and our policies have to start recognizing that.” The film also features CCA Co-Chair Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Richard Lugar and Charles Nelson, Co-Principal Investigator of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project.
On March 1st, Both Ends Burning Founder Craig Juntenen will be launching a 60 city bus tour to promote the film and issue a call to action for the United States Government to promote international adoption as a worthy and effective way to find homes for children without families.
To view the trailer for STUCK, follow this link: http://vimeo.com/bebcampaign/stuckthemovie
To learn about how you can help spread the word about STUCK, click here: http://bothendsburning.org/involved/
On Saturday, CSPAN’s Washington Journal interviewed CCAI Executive Director, Kathleen Strottman, about the Russian adoption ban, international adoption, and how Members of Congress can affect adoption and foster care issues. Click on the picture to watch the full interview or follow this link: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/310768-5
Following the January 22, 2013 Russian Supreme Court Letter on Implementation of Federal Law No. 272-FZ, CCAI has continued to work closely with Members of Congress and our partners inside Russia. In situations like these, CCAI’s priority is to ensure that the U.S. government is aware of all individuals directly impacted and have the information necessary to act on their behalf. The following are actions that have occurred since our last update:
House Resolution 24: Expressing the deep disappointment of the House of Representatives in the enactment by the Russia Government of a law ending inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens…
- Introduced on January 14, 2013 by Congressional Coalition on Adoption Co-Chairs Representatives Michele Bachmann and Karen Bass.
- House Resolution 24 language matches that of Senate Resolution 628 (introduced in the 112th Congress on Dec. 30, 2012).
January 17, 2013 House Letter to President Putin
- Led by Representatives Chris Smith and Michael Fitzpatrick, 46 U.S. Representatives signed a letter to President Putin appealing to him for humanitarian reasons to not apply the January 1, 2013 ban of adoptions of Russian children to the United States to those several hundred adoptions already in process when the ban was enacted.
- Noted that many of the children who are impacted by the ban on adoptions already know their U.S. adoptive families and have even recently been visited by them.
- Encouraged President Putin to work together with the U.S. to “ensure that children are moved from institutions to family care.”
January 18, 2013 Bicameral Letter to President Putin
- Led by Senator Blunt and CCA Co-Chairs Senators Landrieu and Inhofe and Representatives Bachmann and Bass, 72 Members of Congress signed this letter to President Putin requesting that the Russian Federation allow the processing of the pending adoptions of children already matched in 2012 to U.S. families.
- Noted that many of these children have special needs, and “many believed they were soon going to become a part of a safe, permanent and loving family.”
- Appealed to the spirit of the bilateral adoption agreement the two countries entered into on November 1, 2012 to provide orphaned children with safe and loving homes.
January 18, 2013 Bicameral Letter to President Obama
- Led by Senator Blunt and CCA Co-Chairs Senators Landrieu and Inhofe and Representatives Bachmann and Bass, 73 Members of Congress signed this letter to President Obama.
- Noted that Russia’s Ministry of Science and Education estimates over 110,000 children in Russia are living in institutions, with only 7,400 adopted by Russian families annually.
- Appealed to President Obama to work to reverse the ban, but also to prioritize in the United States’ discussions with Russia in the coming weeks the estimated 350-500 active adoption cases with Russian children.
January 14, 2013 Russian Response Letter to December 21, 2012 Congressional Letter to President Putin
- On January 14, Ambassador-at-Large Konstantin Dolgov – Russian Foreign Ministry’s Special Representative on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law – responded to a December 21, 2012 letter from 16 Members of Congress in an immediate response to the news of what was then a potential ban of adoptions from Russia to the United States.
- Ambassador Dolgov’s letter stated that “[a]ccusations that Russia has violated the [U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child] by adopting the Dima Yakovlev Law are absolutely ungrounded” and are instead aimed at prioritizing domestic adoptions in Russia. Suggesting that abuse of Russian children by American families has regularly occurred recently, and “the openly inactive attitude of competent U.S. agencies towards these issues has provoked a particular indignation and incomprehension in the public opinion, political and parliamentary circles in Russia.” In response to appeals to the November 1, 2012 bilateral adoption agreement between the two countries, the letter states, “in practice we see that the U.S. side is actually sabotaging the provisions of the document.” “The decision taken by the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to ban the adoption of Russian children to the U.S. was a difficult but necessary measure provoked by a consistently non-constructive position of the U.S. federal and local authorities.”
For more information, please visit CCAI’s Russia Page on our website, see the “Russia Bans Adoptions to the United States” section of our January 15, 2013 Legislative Update,
Business giant, Lee Iacocca once said, “The only rock that stays steady, the only institution that works is the family.” This simple, yet profound, principle is one that has not only withstood the test of time but is also the foundation basis of emerging brain science.
Here is what we know: We know that strong families are the building blocks of strong communities and strong communities are the building blocks of strong nations. Thanks to leaders like Dr. Jack Shonkoff, we know that relationships with other human beings are not a luxury for children, but an absolute necessity. But you do not need to be a Nobel Prize-winning economist or a world-renowned neurologist at Harvard to be able to recognize that children do best when raised by loving and protective parent. For many of us, we need only to reflect on our own life experience to understand the impact that a loving embrace or encouraging words have in times of stress.
Despite these certainties, millions of children in the world are growing up without the care of a protective, permanent family. These children live in institutions or on the streets; they have been torn from their families because of war or disaster; or they have been bought and sold for sex or labor. And worst yet, the number of children who suffer such fates is rising. For this to change, governments of the world need to not only recognize that children have a basic human right to a family; they must also establish and enforce laws and systems to protect this right. It is for this reason that the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) is proud to support the U.S. Government’s Action Plan on Children in Adversity.
Under its tenets, the millions of children outside of family care will have the opportunity to benefit from programs that prevent children from being separated from their families and quickly reunify them when separation proves inevitable. The Plan also makes the commitment to pursue adoption, foster care, kinship and guardianship for children whose biological families are unable or unwilling to care for them. This is a major step forward and holds promise not only for the futures of children, but the future of nations.