Russia is currentlyCLOSEDto intercountry adoptions.
CCAI GENERAL OVERVIEW OF RUSSIAN ADOPTION
Poverty remains the number one reason that parents abandon their children in Russia. Roughly 230,000 children are reported to be residents of the state orphanage system with over 650,000 in some form of state care. Itar-Tass has reported that some 90 percent of children in orphanages are not true orphans as they do have living parents. In an attempt to reform Russia's adoption system, then president Boris Yeltsin signed a new adoption law in 1998. This law was intended to place higher criteria on foreign adoptions and encourage more domestic adoptions. In brief, foreign adoption agencies had to be certified by Russia in order to conduct business there. Certification required passing a laundry list of qualifications designed to cut down on corruption and, what amounted to baby selling. Furthermore, when a child becomes available for adoption, there is a five month wait period before that child can be made available to foreign prospective parents. It is hoped that, in that period of time, a Russian family will adopt the child.
On March 3, 2000, President Putin chaired a special meeting of his Cabinet. The sole item on the agenda was Putin's mandate for improving conditions of Russia's orphans. A month later, the Russian government issued a decree which mandated that potential adoptive parents must be represented by only accredited adoption agencies. While agencies scrambled to gain this accreditation, adoptions that were in progress were put on hold or rejected altogether by the Russian regional courts.
Since then, the Russian government has continued to use accreditation as a means to restrict the number of children adopted outside of Russia. They have also increased their efforts to promote domestic adoption as an option for children who are living without parents and improve conditions for families who are forced to use the state orphanages for temporary care for their children.
Over the last few years, some Russian child welfare leaders and legislators have focused in on controversies as a reason to end adoptions of Russian children by American parents altogether. In 2007, Mr. Harrison of Virginia, forgot his newly-adopted, Russian-born toddler, Chase, in a hot car and the child died. In December of 2008, a Virginia court acquitted Mr. Harrison of involuntary manslaughter. The child’s death and his father’s subsequent acquittal revived the call by some in the Russian government to end adoptions between Russia and the United States. Another incident in April, 2010 where U.S. mother Torry Hansen put her then seven-year-old adoptive son back on a plane to Russia alone with a letter that said she didn’t want him anymore further ignited the debate. Russian officials maintained that US laws are not sufficiently protecting their children. They supported this claim by pointing out the fact that 12 children have been killed after being adopted to parents within the United States.
In response to these concerns, after two years of negotiations between Russia and the U.S., President Vladimir Putin signed a bilateral agreement between the two countries on July 28, 2012 to continue to allow adoptions of Russian children by U.S. families. Prospective adoptive parents who registered documents in Russia prior to November 1 were not affected by the agreement.
However, on December 28, 2012, President Putin signed Federal Law 18661406, known as the “Yakovlev Act” prohibiting the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families effective on January 1, 2013. The law is named after Dima Yakovlev, adopted as Chase Harrison, who, as mentioned above, died after being left by his U.S. adoptive father in a hot car. Lawmakers in the Russian Duma have stated that the legislation is a direct response to the U.S. “Magnitsky Act” which is designed to address human rights violations by sanctioning a specific group of Russian officials connected to the death of a whistleblowing lawyer in a Moscow prison.
Adoption Authority: Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation
In addition to the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Russia also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for intercountry adoptions from Russia. Prospective adoptive parents will have to come to Russia twice during the adoption process.
Age Requirements: For single persons who wish to adopt, there must be a 16 year age diference between the prospective parent and the prospective child. There are no age requirements for married couples.
Marriage Requirements: Both married couples and single persons may adopt. Single persons must be at least 16 years older than the adoptive child.
Other Requirements: Russia has some medical requirements for prospective adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents should consult their adoption agencies concerning medical conditions. Some disqualifying conditions include tuberculosis (active and chronic), illness of the internal organs and nervous system, dysfunction of the limbs, infectious diseases, drug and alcohol addictions, psychiatric disorders, and any disability preventing the person from working.