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Are Russian adoptions becoming legal nesting dolls?

The Sochi Olympics last February had special meaning for one Minnesota family. A woman from Golden Valley took advantage of the feeling of international good will by appearing on Russian television with a special request. She asked Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government to make an exception to their 2012 action barring Americans from adopting Russian children.

When the ban went into effect, her family and about 200 others were still working out the details of their adoptions. The ban put the families and the children in a state of limbo. There does not seem to be an end in sight.

The reasons for the ban included concerns regarding the treatment of the children once they reached the U.S. There were also political forces as work: The ban may have been retaliation for U.S. allegations of human rights violations.

Russian authorities were outraged, too, when an American woman returned her adopted son to Russia in 2010. She put her son on a plane back to his home country with a note saying that she no longer wanted to parent him. The media around the world had a field day with the story.

There was much more to the situation, of course, than a mother just playing Paddington Bear with a real-life boy. The boy, she said, was violent and suffered severe psychiatric problems. The situation had become untenable.

She is not the only adoptive parent to complain that the child she adopted from a Russian orphanage has severe mental health issues. A couple on Long Island has been fighting an unusually public battle to vacate their adoption of two boys from Russia, and the case involves some serious allegations about Russian adoption programs.

We'll explain more in our next post.


Star Tribune, "Minnesota mom makes emotional appeal on Russian TV for an exception to adoption ban," David Crary , Feb. 7, 2014

The Daily Beast, "Couple Sues Over Russian 'Bait-and-Switch' Adoption of Disabled Kids," Tina Traster, Oct. 30, 2014

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