Interesting News From Putin about Adoption… (July 21, 2011)

MOSCOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti):
Couples who want to adopt Russian children should undergo special training in the basics of teaching, psychology and first aid, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

“High-quality training must be compulsory for the adoptive parents,” Putin said, adding that the classes should be required for both Russian and foreign couples.

He also said that the regional authorities should cover the costs incurred by Russian couples going through the adoption procedure.

Russia and the United States signed an adoption deal last week that stipulates psychological testing of adoptive parents and requires them to use only accredited adoption agencies.

The new agreement also envisages that all adopted Russian children will maintain dual citizenship until they become legal adults, after which they may choose their citizenship.

Russia is one of the largest sources of foreign adoptions for U.S. families. The latest official figures show that about 60,000 children born in Russia have been adopted by families in the United States since the adoptions started more than 15 years ago. As of January, 17 Russian children adopted by U.S. parents have died as a result of child abuse.

Hummm, that is interesting…

Windows to Russia!

Update: Things have changed in the Russian American adoption issues…


Interview with with Irene Steffas, an attorney accredited under The Hague International Convention on incoming and outgoing adoptions.

I’d like to ask you some questions about the recent agreement on adoptions signed between the United States and Russia. Why was the US federal government reluctant to sign the agreement at the beginning?

Initially, all efforts are being made to everyone to follow the procedure under the Hague convention. And the US has not been very flexible and not willing to enter into any memorandums, as we understand it, or bilateral agreements. However, in this instance we made an exception and the exception is really one of nomenclature, just a name, because if you look at the essence of the agreement, many of the safeguards that are built into the new agreement are the same safeguards we have under The Hague convention.

I heard, one of the parts of the agreement calls for no more independent adoptions.

That’s correct.

Only agencies authorized by the Russian government will be allowed to participate in the adoption process. Where could the parents that want to adopt a Russian child find such a list of agencies?

They are on the website of

Are these accredited by the Russian government or by the US government or both?

These are the ones that have been accredited by the US authorities and then you have to actually inquire and ask: are you authorized to work in Russia? And agencies are going to tell you the truth on this because they are not actually going to be able to move a case forward if they are not certified to work in Russia.

What is entailed by part of the agreement? What’s that more complete information that will be given to the adopting parents on the adoptee? What is entailed by more complete information?

There is more emphasis in knowing who the adoptive parents are and training that they are going to receive that was not there in the past and also in having more certain understanding about the child. We now have a more formal child study, which will be one at the orphanage where the child has resided. It will require medical, family, social history. You know, getting good medical background makes the match more secure. We don’t want a family to adopt a child, who is uncomfortable dealing with the prosthesis.

Who is going to be overseeing this process? Is that both sides that are going to be responsible for that or is it the responsibility of the Russian side?

Let me walk you through the process. The US government, through the Department of Homeland Security, is going to certify the adoptive family.

This is a new procedure? Is this something new?

This is a little bit more involved than what we had in the past. Then the Russian authorities will say: we want this child to go to this specific adoptive family in the US. So the matching is not going to be done by an orphanage, it is not going to be done by an individual. The actual matching is done by the Russian authorities, which is your Department of Education.

Russia will now be able to receive reports on the children, on their well-being. How often will these reports be given and how reliable will they be and who will be administering them?

Let me dissect your question. The person who is responsible for getting those reports back to Russia is a US accredited agency. What was happening in the past – and I’ve seen it with my own eyes – is that sometimes agencies had these reports but they never made it to the right place in Russia. So one of the things that this agreement has done is identify exactly where these reports are going with some sort of a receipt system, so that we know, this agency sent a report and it was in fact received. And there will be no ifs and buts about that. We will have evidence that the report was sent and received. The frequency of the reports and for how many years these reports go on – that is a determination made by Russia. We have different requirements for different countries and what I can tell you is that the US adoption agencies and the US government work very hard to make sure there is compliance with getting those reports and getting them to the correct authority.

Who is going to oversee all this? Because normally this was the domain of state governments, and now the federal government is involved. So who exactly will be administering reports, doing checks and so on?

Let’s say we have ABC agency. And ABC agency is accredited in the US and also certified to work in Russia. However, the family lives in a different state, let’s say in Hawaii. And this agency does not have a branch office in Hawaii. The ABC agency will supervise an agency in Hawaii for the family’s home study and will also supervise that agency to make sure that those post-placement reports are done. Post-placement reports are always going to be sent to the accredited agency and then the accredited agency, also certified in Russia, is going to make sure that they get to the right place.

In summery, is this a positive thing?

Absolutely. This is a very good thing. Our two governments worked very hard together to keep inter-country adoptions open and also to improve the system that’s in place.