If you are waiting parent you are likely like me. You have a google notifier set up to send you an email the second a new story about Russian adoption is thrown into the media circus. I was once you. I checked religiously to see if new information was posted that would get me closer to my child. I spent countless hours every day hunting down as much information as possible on reaccreditation and the state of Russian adoption. I ignored my family. I neglected my friends. I became a hermit hiding in my home staring at my computer screen. I read things like, “let’s create a letter writing campaign to make those Russians give us our children.” “Those children are just wasting away in those orphanages.” “The Russians don’t care about the kids, look! there are 750,000 of them!” “Grab your pitchforks and clubs and let’s all whip ourselves into a media fed panic and criticize another country on their politics. After all we’re Americans and Americans are the best.”
Day after week after month. Websites, newspapers, blogs, forums… they all said the same thing. I quietly sat in my house, bitched on my blog, but did nothing. I didn’t respond to the accusations. I didn’t participate in any letter writing campaigns. I simply
drunk myself into a stupor waited. 2 years later I am a mom.
Today’s article in USA today is American media sensationalism at its best. (I would link it, but my Windows clipboard is dumb and I am lazy.) Today the accreditation of the last two agencies expired. It is an unfortunate circumstance. However, I don’t believe the Russians are doing this simply out of spite. I don’t believe they are deliberately closing the door on Americans adopting their children. And the operative word in that sentence is their.
Russians have a responsibility to their own children. Just as Americans have a responsibility to American children. Russia has done some things in the past 6 months to aid their children. They are making the process more difficult, sure, but they are doing so with the interest of orphaned children at heart. Can you imagine the outrage of the American people if foreigners adopted American children and we turned around and heard media reports of abuse and deaths? I can tell you it would be 1000 times worse than the sentiment in Russia.
In recent months Russian officials have tightened the scrutiny of PAPs. They are requiring additional paperwork, medical exams and additional waits. All of this is to make sure those adopting really want to do so. I am here to tell you from first hand experience you really have to want to adopt from Russia to make it out with your sanity.
The Russian government is also requiring more of the agencies who place children. From what I understand there are additional post placement reports required, agencies now must have NGO (non-governmental organization) status, and they have to submit additional paperwork for the accreditation.
All of this truly is in the best interest of the children. Russians are making sure they are placing children into the hands of 1) parents who are truly want a child and know how to care for a child and 2) by agencies who are reputable.
The additional obstacles that PAPs face, the monetary incentives, are also in the best interest of Russian children. They are working toward a foster care program. It is new in their country. And the incentive program isn’t, “adopt a kid and get ten-grand.” The money is in the form of vouchers and not given to the family until 3 year after placement. Similarly, the vouchers are only good for certain services such as housing and schooling. All “monies” paid go to improve the life of the child.
Now I see a lynch mob forming outside my window for supporting such ideals, but remember I’ve been there. I’ve waited for accreditation. I’ve lost a child to a Russian family. I’ve traveled 3 times. I’ve had heartbreak. But I survived. And after all that I’ve been through I still support all this. I believe agencies should be accredited. I don’t believe agencies should be able to work out special deals with the regions and continue to work. I believe accreditations should be suspended for agencies who don’t follow the laws. I don’t believe agencies should be allowed to pay “special fees” and get special privileges. And don’t say that doesn’t happen because we all know it does.
I will say that there are some regions that the children are severely lacking. I can say, however, that in my son’s orphanage they did the best that they could with the resources they had. I had no problem with the care he received and did not worry about his health or safety at all in the months we waited for him. The same was true for Alexander.
Hate me if you like. Disagree if you must. On this subject I won’t change my views.
Now go and buy some chocolates. You only have 2 days left!