Thursday, December 27, 2012

Russian Adoptions Closing

Winding down 2012, there has been news spreading like wildfire over Facebook about Russia's plans to halt the adoption of its children by American citizens.  While this is part of bill that includes other issues, it is flat out politicizing the welfare of children, and it makes me sick.

Vladimir Putin, in all his pseudo macho glory, is an ass, pure and simple. In her book, Psychology of Orphans, noted Russian psychologist Ludmila Shipitsyna wrote that the official number of orphans in Russia in 2004 was 699,200 but officials police files have been noted to claim that number is vastly understated and the true number of orphans is closer to 2.5 million.  Dr. Shipitsyna stated that "Russia occupies first place in the world by number of orphans per 10,000 children".  Th e truth is, even the adoption of Russian children by Americans is a mere drop in the bucket, regardless of which number is correct.

From 1998-2011 there were 45,112 Russian orphans adopted by Americans.  Think about that number, 45,112 lives saved.  The argument is that of those 45,112 there were 15 (I think the number I once researched actually put it at 17) adoptees who were killed at the hands of their adoptive parents.  That is one of the arguments Russia is using to stop the adoptions, that Russian children are not safe her.  Hmmm...if one were to look at it only from a statistical perspective, what would the odds be with any sampling of 45,000 children, orphans or otherwise.  How many would die at the hands of their parents?  Now, I am not saying I think even one is acceptable, because it is not, but if we pull emotion out of it, how many biological children would be killed at the hands of their parents in a group of 45,000?

More importantly, and of course completely non-supportive of Russia's arguments, how many children in state run institutions have died due to neglect, malnutrition, beatings from caretakers, lack of medical care, failure to thrive, etc?  I can pretty much guarantee you that number would make your jaw drop.

Russia says it wants to encourage domestic adoption.  Good idea!  Where are you going to put those 700,000+ kids RIGHT NOW???  And considering the standard of living is SO terrific throughout Russia, I am sure you will have people lining up to take in children who are so damaged they can't begin to function normally.

What bothers me to no end about this, is not necessarily that adoptions by Americans will be halted, it is that now, those poor, helpless, innocent children will be completely hidden from the one will be able to see and report on their suffering, which is so great.  No one will be able to see the horrific images carried back by adoptive parents who share what they have seen first hand.  And no one will do anything to save these hundreds of thousands of kids, because they will become invisible in a way that is hard to understand here in of the investigative journalist.

We won't have anyone able to share the smell of urine, the vacant stares, the rooms filled with beds, the children left to languish whose muscles atrophy and brains slowly die off.  Faces staring out windows framed in lace curtains and institutional blue paint on every wall.   Children warehoused as if they were a commodity. Children who can't walk, talk or speak normally, children whose only crime was being born.

No one will be able to speak for those who can not.  They will be voiceless, they will be abused, they will continue to be neglected in ways we can't fathom.

They will die.

Why, you might ask, do I care?  After all, our kids were from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, not Russia.  It doesn't matter, it's all the same.  The former Soviet Union created a system of orphan care that is the same regardless of whose borders you are in.  You walk in an orphanage in Russia, and it will be identical to one in Kyrg or Kaz.  Same color, same scent, same vacant eyed children.  

We all ought to care, we all ought to be outraged that a country with that many of it's citizens being neglected ought to be held accountable rather than being allowed to hide them behind closed doors.

Dominick and I, and so many of our blog readers, parent the end result of institutional care.  We see the damage inflicted, we deal with it daily, and we try to help repair what was not done as children were hidden.

Broken hearts, broken backs, broken brains, broken spirits...and it will continue on a scale we really don't have the capacity to wrap our minds around.  If you took every student in Los Angeles County Schools and locked them up, starved them, denied them medical care and adequate schooling, you will get close to being able to understand the sheer numbers of children who are institutionalized in Russian Orphanages.

Russia, if you want to stop appearing to be Third World, then act it.  Go ahead and deny the right to adopt your children, but then fling open the doors to your orphanages...all of them, yes, even those special needs Hell Holes, and let the world see you step up to care for your children adequately.  Give them hope, give them a future, give them love.  We will support you if you do right by them.  Develop a foster care system that is not corrupt, oh...wait...I forgot, your whole damn country is corrupt.  Guess that won't happen.  You can't even hold a fair and just election, how in the world can you care for your unwanted and abandoned children??

Poor, poor babies.  Mouths taped shut at one of your hospitals so you don't annoy anyone.  Tummies hungry, always so hungry.  Bottoms so raw and sore filled because diapers aren't changed.   Dying of the most benign conditions.  Rocking yourselves to sleep so hard your crib slams against the wall, because no one will hold you.

That sound?  That is the sound of an orphanage filled with a couple hundred children under age 4.  Why is it so quiet?  Because they have learned that it matters not how much noise you make, no one is coming.

Sickened.  I am sickened.

For all the kids like Alem and Anes, Toktogul, and the Sushkova girls...otherwise known as Joshua,  Matthew, Kenny, Angela and I wish there were more that could be done.  How I wish the world would rise up and demand a response that makes sense so that no more of you suffer needlessly from hunger of the heart and body.

Maybe someday we will find ourselves living in a world that provides for all.


Anonymous said...

I will never forget those left behind. The room filled with rows of cribs. The line of 4 year-olds that came through the room where we were visiting.

I will never forget the long wait to bring Angela and Olesya home.

I will never forget Kenny's special friend, and the family who have waited and waited and still wait to bring him home.

Here is a link to an article about the situation in Russia

As the nation mourned, and rightly so, the deaths in Connecticut, I and many others, mourn the millions of orphans around the world.

Lord, bring them all home to loving families.

Peggy in Virginia

Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking, Cindy!
I've been thinking about international adoptions -- just today in fact. I've other friends who have adopted, from Central America. They did not have the same kind of success you are having with your lot. You astound me with how well you have done with your children!
Would that all who are orphaned had the opportunities you have provided for those you have brought home! The situation in Russia is very much in my prayers right now -- because of what I've seen in the news, but even more, because of your comments.
And you and yours continue in my prayers as well.
Peace and blessing!

. said...

You've aptly (and sickenly) depicted the sad tale here. This law helps NO ONE and only causes pain on top of pain. It's yet more proof that Satan is alive and well, working to ruin lives.

Thanks for writing about something that should NOT be ignored.

Trudi said...

Cindy, your words are powerful. Please let's consider where to send this to be published. It deserves a read by many. i suggest the NY Times Editorial pages. It captures so much, so articulately. My heart is breaking.

Goodness and Mercy Mom said...

Beautiful post! As an adoptive mother of one of the last children to get out of Guatemala, I am grieved to see another door close--yet this one done simply out of spite.

Thanks for sharing your heart. Is it okay that I pass this post along so others can truly understand the weight of what is happening?

Much Love,

Lindsay said...

You had me at 'Putin is an ass'.

Heartbreaking news again. One can only hope that it is yet another short lived, political measure; and once the reality of the lack of replacement domestic adoptions once again begins to hit the local governments finacially then the government will once again renegotiate, slap some new conditions in place on post-adoption reporting, and it will be back up and running.

Which is no comfort for the families who wait or, especially, for the children who will now forever lose the chance of a family.