Dozens of American families have spent many months and many thousands of dollars trying to adopt Russian orphans with no success. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is calling on President Obama to confront Russian President Putin over the roadblock placed on adoptions.
“In December, Putin signed a law to stop Americans from adopting Russian children,” Grassley says. “It was an about-face for Russia. Earlier in the year, the Russian parliament had simplified American adoptions. The new law was a reaction to U.S. sanctions against human rights violators there in Russia.”
Grassley has written the president a letter, co-signed by several other senators, asking Obama to raise the issue with Putin directly at the G-8 Summit later this month in Ireland. Grassley says many of the U.S. families have been waiting many months to adopt.
“Here we’ve got 230 American families being held up to get their Russian children,” Grassley says. “It’s a painfully personal thing for these 230 American families. Parents and children have already met and bonded. The well being of Russian orphans is jeopardized.” Grassley made the trip to Russia two years ago as part of an effort to streamline the adoption process.
Russian orphanages are notorious for being brutally impoverished and dismal, while the promise of coming to the land of the free is a ray of hope for the children housed there. “Some of these kids even need medical care,” Grassley says. “Most importantly, just like American foster children tell me, they want permanency. They want a permanent, healthy home.”
Reports say many Russian orphanages turn children out at age 16, unprepared for the world, forcing some of them to resort to lives of crime, prostitution and ultimately, an early demise. One study found 40-percent of Russian orphans become alcoholics and/or drug addicts, 40-percent commit crimes and 10-percent commit suicide, while only one in ten learn to adapt to the outside world to lead relatively “normal” lives.