Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Child Left Behind in Russia due to Adoption Ban

Jen and her husband, from Maryland, were in Russia on Christmas Eve awaiting their Court date when news of the adoption ban hit.  While they were in court, the judge decided to postpone their court date to early February. Jen and her husband left Russia Christmas morning with no child next to them but hopes still high that their son would be with them soon. This was their second trip to Russia.  They had already met their son and bonded with him. 

Jen found out about the ban from the internet, not her adoption service provider or the U.S. government.  A lot of the information she has been closely following since she came home has been contradictory or confusing.  The Department of State has been reaching out to families more recently to provide some clarity, but the fate of Jen's son is still unknown. 
For the past 5 years the couple had been setting aside money to start a family of their very own. It wasn’t until January of 2011 that the couple went to a reputable, accredited agency with a Russian program. They picked Russia because every qualified prospective adoptive family is on the same level to be matched with a child. They also liked the fact that the child that they would be matched with would have been residing in an orphanage with parental rights already terminated.  In a domestic adoption, there was more of a possibility that the birth parents would change their minds in the middle of the process. 
 Jen’s case is complicated.  Had the judge not postponed the court day, she would have been one of the 46 plus families that had received their court decrees and were in a 30 day waiting period.  Yesterday, the Russian Supreme Court issued a letter to the regional courts stating that these families should be able to obtain their final paperwork and exit the country with their children despite the adoption ban.  However, families like Jen's who have not yet gone to Court are in a more precarious situation.  When you are just so close this is devastating news. We asked her how she was taking it, if her hopes were high or if she felt that all was lost. She said, “It depends on the day you ask me”. That's a fair enough answer for someone who has been waiting to start her own family, has met her son, has spent more than $40,000, and is at the very end of the process.
This is such a sad situation and we honestly hope for the best outcome for Jen, her son and every other child currently left behind in Russia due to the adoption ban.
       Over the years, Russia and the U.S. have developed a partnership to place orphaned children into forever families.  This partnership recently produced an adoption treaty which provided additional protections to Russian adoptees, a treaty that is now meaningless in view of the Russian adoption ban.  It is a travesty to deny children permanency when U.S. families like Jen's are willing and able to provide loving and caring homes. 

Drafted by Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.
This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2013.

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