Thursday, April 15, 2010

In the News: To Russia, for Love

Have you read these articles?

Artyem is a 7 year old Russian boy. He was adopted by a U.S. family six months ago, and last Thursday his adoptive mother put him on a solo-flight back to Russia. For all intensive purposes, she just returned her child. Like clothing. Really?

When a person adopts a child, he or she becomes their parent. There's no option to say, "sorry stork, I really didn't want this one - could you take it back?" with the birth of a child, so why should a parent be able to return an adopted child? I think it's ridiculous. There are many support groups for adopted children and parents, including FRUA, which specializes in support for adoptions of Russian and Ukrainian children.

I think what frustrates me the most about the actions of this woman is that it could impact the adoption of future children. There are approximately 700,000 orphans in Russia alone, according to the United Nations Children Fund, and many of them (83% according to UNCF) are children taken from their biological parents who are deemed unfit to be parents. According to the U.S. Embassy in Russia, there have been over 50,000 successful adoptions to American families in the last 16 years. There are many many families in the country who have adopted children from Russia.

Two summers ago, I was a nanny to a boy who was adopted from Russia. Like any 6 year old boy, he was energetic, noisy, and hyper. However, he was well-mannered, and would listen to anything he was told. Behavior problems are often times as much a parent's fault as the child's - and there's no difference between an adopted child and a biological child. When a child is adopted, they have huge challenges to overcome - they must change their language, their diet, their living conditions, their family, and more, all while adjusting after an international flight to the United States.

While I do understand that not all women are meant to be mothers, I think that this is a terrible situation. I feel as though this mother should have looked into more resources, both before adopting as well as before sending the child back. As a 7 year old, this child will remember this event forever. He will always remember being rejected. We can't possibly know the entire situation behind the adoption, the child, and the adoptive family. However, I don't think any child should ever be abandoned, regardless of their actions. There are therapy classes, support groups, and medications. True to the letter the woman wrote, the child may have been violent. But what if this had been her biological child?

When a child is adopted, I think that the family needs to eliminate the difference between biological children and adopted children. Otherwise, the two will surely be treated differently, leading to situations like this.

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