Putin Sticks It to Orphans the Week of Christmas

eee8Vladimir Putin Putin Sticks It to Orphans the Week of Christmas

Outraged by a new American law
that bars Russians accused of human rights abuses from visiting the
United States, the Russian parliament this week overwhelmingly

approved a law, signed today by President Vladimir Putin, that
bars Americans from adopting Russian children. If you have trouble
following the moral logic of this particular tit for tat, you are
not alone. The New York Times
reports that the new law applies not only to new adoptions but
to adoptions in progress:
For parents with their hearts set on adopting Russian children,
the political discourse has been little more than background noise
to their own personal agony. Senior officials in Moscow have said
they expect the ban to have the immediate effect of blocking the
departure of 46 children whose adoptions by American parents were
nearly completed.
Adoption agency officials in the United States who work
regularly with Russian orphanages said there were about 200 to 250
sets of parents who had already identified children they planned to
adopt and would be affected.
As the Times explains, this nasty trick, which
reneges on a recently completed adoption agreement between the two
countries, is not simply a matter of disrupting cherished plans in
which American couples have invested much time, effort, money, and
emotion (although that would be bad enough). Since these parents
already have met and bonded with the children they are adopting,
Putin and his allies in the legislature are arbitrarily breaking up
newly formed families, randomly hurting innocent orphans in a fit
of political pique. The week of Christmas, no less. (Yes, I know:
Theirs is the week after next.)Putin’s reply to critics who say it is wrong to prevent
Americans from giving Russian orphans a better life in the United
There are probably many places in the world where living
standards are better than ours. So what? Shall we send all children
there, or move there ourselves?
This all-or-nothing logic argues not only against adoption but
against any action that helps some while neglecting others. The
1,000 Russian children adopted by Americans last year may amount to
less than 1 percent of the children available for adoption in that
country, but every one of them now has a family he did not have
before. Likewise the
60,000 Russians adopted by Americans during the last two
decades. It would be wonderful if all 120,000 children waiting for
adoption in Russia could find homes there, but since only 18,000 or
so Russians are waiting to adopt (according to UNICEF), why prevent
people in other countries from picking up some of that slack?And yes, it’s true: There are more
than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted
right here in the United States. In that context, it may seem
puzzling that Americans look for children to adopt in other
countries. But as someone who has adopted both domestically and
internationally, I can tell you there are sound reasons for
preferring the latter process. Sadly,
dealing with an authoritarian government, even a corrupt one,
can be easier than dealing
with our own child welfare system. Not in this case, of course. The nearly adopted children
affected by the new Russian ban are unambiguously worse off as a
result, to the benefit of no one. It is hard to fathom how anyone
could support such a policy, let alone almost every legislator in
Russia’s parliament. You say we abuse human rights? We’ll show you!
It would be comical if it weren’t so cruel.

Excerpt from:

Putin Sticks It to Orphans the Week of Christmas

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