by Dawn Stark
Some anniversaries are cause for celebration, while others are reminders of tragedy or painful loss. The Russian adoption ban is one such example of a negative anniversary. On December 28, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the door shut on international adoptions between the U.S. and Russia. Using parentless children as pawns in a retaliatory political move, the ban immediately terminated the planned adoptions of 259 Russian children who were already matched to permanent families in the U.S.
There are 600,000 orphans in Russia. A quarter of these children possess special needs or suffer from serious illness. Unfortunately, their prospects for coming into a permanent family are now very limited.
One of these children is Vitaly, who was born with Down syndrome and a life-threatening heart condition. Abandoned at birth, he was growing up in a Russian institution until Americans Jenny and Aaron Moyer visited his orphanage and started the adoption process. Instead of getting the medical treatment that he needs for his physical disabilities—or the family that he needs to develop and thrive—young Vitaly will likely spend his life within the walls of various Russian institutions. Read more about Vitaly’s story here.
Like the Moyers, many other families have not forgotten the children they were forced to leave behind. Although President Putin has officially severed the ties these families have to their children, these parents have declared that their “love knows no bounds” and they continue to hold these children in their hearts and dreams. Please read the painful, yet beautifully written letter released by the group, Parents United for Russian Orphans, on the 2nd anniversary of the ban.
We join these children and families in their sorrow on this tragic anniversary. With time, effort, and the continued support of all who share our concern, we will create a global movement that will overcome political barriers like the “iron curtain” that President Putin has erected to prevent Russian orphans from coming into permanent loving families.