Adoptions no longer ‘humanitarian’, instead heavily politicized – expert

Date: 2013-07-03

On Tuesday the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) passed a resolution “On international adoptions”. Although Russia is not directly mentioned in the document, its author, US Senator Roger Wicker, implied that the resolution had resulted from Russia’s ban on US adoptions. Roelie Post from the Foundation Against Child Trafficking in Brussels talks to the Voice of Russia about the OSCE resolution and the globally decreasing demand for adoptions.

Will Russia yield to pressure from the OSCE and soften the restrictions on US adoptions?

You mean if they should continue the ban?

Should they continue the ban, should they yield, should they soften the restrictions on US adoptions?

Well, I think that it is very clear that the pressure is enormous and this is a political pressure. And what Russia should keep in mind is the interests of Russian children, that is Russia’s responsibility. So, yes, I do think they should insist on being able to visit the children in the US, but they should also continue to improve their child protection at home and kept the children where they can look after them and supervise them.

Will the recent adoption scandals result in a decreased demand for adoptions from Russia?

It’s very difficult for me to understand you. There is less demand you are saying?

Will the recent adoption scandals result in a decreased demand for adoptions from Russia? Will Americans just stop adopting Russian kids?

You know, we see the same trend worldwide. There has been a decline in the number of adoptions worldwide, but also a decline in the demand for adoptions. We have to realize that the adoption industry, this is what it has become, has a very large vested interest and this is why they are pushing so strong for reopening Russia’s adoptions and to finalize the so-called pipeline adoptions.

You’ve mentioned that the demand worldwide has fallen. Is this per country? Who is this demand?

Well, this demand is not only from the US but also from many European countries and from Canada, and Australia. But I can tell you that here in Europe the demand has halved over the last years because there were so many scandals about trafficking in children. And also, because there is a reduced offer of children, the waiting time has become really very lengthy and the price has gone up dramatically. So, this obviously has reduced the demand.

You’ve mentioned that the demand has halved from Europe and that there is a reduced number of children that can be adopted, and actually the cost have gone up. Does that mean that there are less children that are ready to be adopted or are the children going to orphanages? What is happening to the children?

We must realize that in many countries the children who are to be adopted, they are not orphans, they are in children’s homes, they very often have contacts with their parents, or have parents at least. And what we see in many countries is that children who go for inter-country adoption are actively sought, they are being harvested for inter-country adoption. This is, as far as I know, not yet the case in Russia. But for example in the African countries adoption agencies brokers are going into poor villages and contacting parents to see whether they want to give up their children for adoption. So, the children who are ending up in these children’s markets normally would not really be orphans. They are brought there with the goal of inter-country adoption.

It sounds more like a big business and actually some type of humanitarian product. Do you feel that the Russia-US adoption issue has been politicized?

In general, adoptions are always being politicized because it is the political pressure by which the US and also some European countries want to try to keep this business, because it has become a business, an industry. They want to keep it open. Yes, it is very much politicized. I’m not in a position to judge whether the stoppage of the moratorium on adoptions from Russia is really so strongly linked to the Magnitskiy act because I know that the Russian authorities and the ombudsman have been worried about the adoptions to the US for a long time because of the scandals of children being killed by the adoptive parents, children ending up in the rancho in Montana – this has all been going on for a long time.