Russia To Ban Adoption By Americans: What This Means For Parents Hoping to Adopt

In what many are calling retaliation for a recent U.S. law, Russia is banning U.S. adoptions of children from the country, effective Jan. 1, CNN reports.

According to the network, Americans adopted nearly 1,000 children from Russia in 2011, making it the third most common country from which Americans adopt, following China and Ethiopia, respectively.

The measure is seen as a response to the Magnitsky Act which calls for sanctions against Russian abusers of human rights. "American families have welcomed more than 60,000 Russian children into American homes over the past 20 years," Patrick Ventrell, spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said last week, according to the network. "Just last month we implemented a bilateral adoptions agreement with Russia to improve safeguards for adopted children and their families."

So what does this mean for couples who are looking to adopt? It means that families in the middle of the Russian adoption process are now unable to follow through with their adoptions (approximately 52 as of today), and bring their children home. For future adoptive parents, Russia is no longer an option. A possible result of this could be even longer waiting periods for international adoptions from other countries.

But the biggest concern is for the Russian children. Rachel Kuhr, director of AdoptionLinks, an adoption agency in Harrisburg, PA, commented, "I think this is brinksmanship. I don't think (the Russian) concern is about the welfare of the children being adopted. They're angry with us...but they shouldn't be using the children as political fodder."

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