Russian Adoption Politics
Russian adoption politics and scandal are making news headlines this week, as Donald Trump, Jr. reveals that he met with a Russian government lawyer to discuss Hillary Clinton and/or the Magnitsky Act.
Donald Trump, Jr. is not a politician nor a lawyer nor an adoption expert, of course.
He has never (to our knowledge) placed a child for adoption, adopted a child nor been adopted.
We can find no record of him having ever spoken out publicly about adoption, prior to his claim this week that a Russian lawyer brought up the topic of adoption with him– for reasons unknown.
(If you’re curious what that was really all about, here’s a clue, perhaps?)
But here’s the thing: none of this seems to have had anything to do, really, with the welfare of children (in Russia or America) or with human rights or even with adoption.
The Russian shutdown on the flow of adoptions of Russian children by American families has had a major impact on the numbers of Americans waiting to adopt.
It has had a detrimental impact, as well, on the numbers of Russian orphans getting into permanent homes in America (although there are still reportedly plenty of European and Australian families adopting from Russian orphanages.)
It has undoubtedly taken money out of the pockets of plenty of middlemen who used to profit from adopting Americans, and also from orphanages which have lost this lucrative source of “donations.”
And it has flooded America’s domestic adoption community with both waiting families and a surplus of international adoption agencies who can no longer benefit from the Russian adoption market and are thus dabbling in domestic adoptions, instead.
One silver lining: Russian government officials report that the ban has made it possible for more Russian families to adopt children from Russian orphanages (although some sources dispute this claim.)
We would love to think that Donald Trump (Junior or Senior) does have a heart for adoption. There are any number of adoption issues that could surely use their support, from immigration to gay adoption to adoptee rights (and more.)
(While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump, Sr. did voice support for maternity leave for adoptive parents, but little more has been said about this proposal since his election.)
At the height of the American rush to adopt Russian orphans, it seemed that many adoptive families from the US were drawn to the USSR because it seemed like the last available source of closed adoptions of Caucasian children.
That, sadly, had little to do with the best interests of those Russian orphans, and a troubling number of Russian children adopted by American families ended up being abused, returned or “rehomed.”
For Russia to now reverse its Dima Yakovlev Law and lift the ban on American adoptions in exchange for our cooperation in suspending the Magnitsky Act seems to be trading in children, as suggested by this HuffPost editorial.
Abrazo is all for getting children in need of loving homes into safe families, but as we always say: any adoption worth doing is worth doing the right way and for the right reasons.
As a nonprofit adoption agency, Abrazo does not endorse any politicians. We cannot attest to what Donald Trump, Jr. did or did not discuss in his self-admitted meeting with any Russian government attorney, of course. We have no idea what his personal opinions regarding adoption might be?
But when the topic turns to Russian adoption politics, we think our lawmakers should be focusing their attentions instead on the many compelling adoption issues right here at home that need revision and reform– and the sooner, the better.