TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) Tom Velie and his staff at New Beginnings International Children’s and Family Services have been keeping close watch on news coming out of Russia and the latest updates are troubling.
Russa’s president Vladimir Putin says he will sign into law a bill banning the adoption of Russian children by American citizens. His decision is viewed as retaliation against an American law punishing Russians accused of human rights violations.
” As my good friend, Chuck Johnson, president of the National Council for Adoption said, the children, and there are considered to be approximately 700 thousand orphaned children in Russia available for adoption, are ending up possibly to be collateral damage,” Velie said.
While the Tupelo based nonprofit doesn’t directly facilitate adoptions between Russian orphans and American parents, it does assist other agencies by conducting what’s known as home studies, to make sure the adopted children are adjusting well with their new families.
Victoria Kilpatrick is director of International adoptions at New Beginnings and has met with families in the area who have adopted kids from Russia. She says an adoption ban would be devastating.
“The opportunities we have for families who want to adopt and open their home for children, we have so many families and it’s so sad that the children will languish in institutionalized care,” Kilpatrick said.
Experts say the crisis is part of an effort by Russian leaders to limit the influence and involvement of the United States in the former Soviet Union.
But an outright adoption ban would unravel a bilateral agreement on international adoptions signed by both countries last month. That agreement called for more oversight in response to several high profile cases of abuse of adopted Russian children in the U.S.
Velie says those few , tragic cases of abuse, have caused consternation between Russian and American officials.
“There are obviously forces in the Russian government, opposed to adoption in general, sending their children from Russia to any country,” he said.
Staffers here at New Beginnings will continue to monitor the situation closely. The understanding is there is a window of about a year before any ban on adoptions would take effect. But those who help Russian orphans find new life and new beginnings in America hope both governments can find some sort of solution to the problem that will help those kids caught in the middle.