Duma upholds ban on adoptions by citizens of ‘unfriendly’ countries
State Duma upholds ban on adoption of Russian children by citizens of unfriendly countries
Children’s ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova has reported that the number of Russian children adopted by foreigners has dropped significantly over the last decade.
In August 2022, a bill was introduced to the State Duma that bans people from adopting or becoming the guardians of Russian orphans if the prospective adopters come from states on a list of unfriendly countries. The Duma Committee on the Family has now backed the bill. It provides that, if the country “stops committing unfriendly acts against Russia”, the ban could be lifted without needing to amend the Family Code. There are 49 countries on the list of unfriendly countries.
Children’s ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova said that while foreigners adopted 2,600 children from Russia in 2012, that figure was only 57 in 2022. Education Ministry statistics show that foreigners adopted 69 orphans from Russia in 2021, 38 in 2020, 300 in 2017 and 3,000 in 2010.
“It’s highly likely that Russian children will be bullied and humiliated abroad because of their nationality. In countries where constructive engagement with Russia has broken down, it’s almost impossible to make sure their rights are protected. That means it’s pointless talking about any kind of adoption partnership with unfriendly countries,” said Ms. Lvova-Belova.
Tougher rules for adopting children from Russia began in 2012, when the “Dima Yakovlev Act” was passed; it banned US citizens from adopting Russian children. Elena Alshanskaya is the Director of the foundation Volunteer support for orphans. She explained that foreigners had begun to adopt fewer Russian orphans “because of prohibitive legislation that has not been drafted in the best interests of the child.” Ms. Alshanskaya believes that, to start with, “we need to step up the specific support we give to children’s birth families, as well as foster care in family settings; we need to work harder at placing children with families in this country; and only when all avenues have been exhausted should we then start to think about international adoption.”