Missouri families welcome children who are added to their families through adoption, just like those who are theirs by birth. Children may come to families through a variety of adoption methods, including international adoption. Recent developments have raised concerns for families in Missouri and the rest of the United States, as one source of many international adoptions may be drying up.
Americans have welcomed many Russian children
Statistics on international adoption from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. Department of State reveal the countries from which children have entered the country through adoption.
The State Department’s latest report summarizes statistics for 2011. In that year, 9,320 children from other countries were adopted by American parents. Missouri parents adopted 181 foreign children, more than neighboring Kansas or Iowa. The large states of California, New York and Texas each welcomed more than 500 children from abroad.
The more than nine thousand international adoptees included children from about a hundred countries. While many of these countries were the origins of only a handful of children, or even just one child, a few stood out as the source of large numbers of adopted children.
The People’s Republic of China was the country from which the most children came to America, 2,589. That number amounts to well over a quarter of the international adoptions in 2011. In second place was Ethiopia, the country of origin for 1,727 children.
In 2011, the country that contributed the third most children to international adoptions in the United States was Russia, with 970 children, a little less than 10 percent of the total. Americans adopted more Russian children than parents from any other country in 2011. Families who hope to adopt children from Russia, however, face obstacles in the future.
Recent law changes
In December 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved sweeping legislation that bans Americans from adopting Russian children. This move is believed to be in retaliation for a law enacted by the United States to punish Russia for human rights violations.
Nearly 120,000 children in Russia are eligible for adoption. The thousand or so that have been recently adopted by Americans goes only a little way toward resolving the issue of unwanted and orphaned children in Russia.
Recognizing this problem, many Russians have engaged in organized protests against the new law. One Russian newspaper claims to have collected 130,000 signatures on a petition asking that the law be repealed.
Prominent Russian actors and others well known around the country have made videos protesting the adoption ban. One person accused politicians of involving the children in their political games.
The fate of Russia’s waiting children is far from resolved. Americans interested in international adoption will have to look elsewhere for children who need a loving home, at least for the time being.
Families who are contemplating international adoption should consult with an attorney who has experience in this area of family law. An adoption attorney can provide the legal expertise that is needed to navigate the process and reach the ultimate goal of creating a happy new family.