On January 1, 2013, the Russian Adoption Ban took effect, causing quite the uproar in both America and Russia. The Dima Yakovlev bill, named after a Russian child who died following his intercontinental adoption, bans U.S. citizens' from adopting Russian orphans. It’s seen as retaliation from Vladmir Putin, the Russian leader, against the Magnitsky Act signed by President Obama on December 14. The Magnitsky Act punishes Russian officials thought to be responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky. The political debacle has people crying objection on either side of the Pacific.
In Moscow, over 20,000 protesters rallied on January 13 in the streets with posters in opposition to the adoption ban. To say it was a hefty, surprising conflict against the Russian parliament is an understatement. Shouting "Hands off the children!" and "Shame on the scum!" they were avid in making their voices heard. The populace was speaking for their youth. In my opinion, Russians shouldn’t have such a “policy.” I’d be standing right there with the activists if I could, because the U.S. gives children a chance – perhaps even better opportunities! Using them as pawns will ruin prospective lives and possibilities.
With over thousands, perhaps even millions of young Russian castaways, the orphanages are overflowing. Some can hardly be called acceptable institutions. Crowded with children who suffer from malnutrition, health conditions, mental illnesses and lack of familial love, the orphanages contribute to bodily, emotional, mental, and cognitive problems for impressionable children.
It was 1991 when a Russian orphan boy by the name of Vanya was abandoned by his parents and sent to a "baby house." Most of his time was spent lying alone with "incurables" because of premature birth defects. Days went by without socialization. Without human contact. He was a bright child though, and somehow taught himself to speak. It was in 1996, Vanya was around the tender age of six, when he was subjected to an adult insane asylum on account of an assessment based off the outside world - something he knew nothing of, had never experienced. He was automatically diagnosed with Oligophrenia.
In other words, he was marked with mental retardation.
The year 1999 marks the year he was saved from the denial of the love of a real family by a US citizen, Paula Lahutzky, after she persevered through complications to adopt him. The single mother brought Vanya, now known as John Lahutzky, to America where he grew up. John even wrote a book: "The Boy from Baby Home 10." His life was one of the few that blossomed with a light of hope shining like a beacon against the bleak and desolate orphanage.
America has medical advancements that Russia has yet to achieve that can help young individuals in desperate need of care. The percentage of Russian children who suffer from issues that can affect them in life is high; more than half of their orphans are categorized as socially or physically inadequate. Accompany that with the fact that Russia has been the US's third highest intercontinental adoption country, providing youth with the opportunity of having a caring family - even if they are from an alternate country - and one can't argue that it's wrong for Americans to adopt a Russian child.
The big picture should be to provide children with a future… for a chance to have a doting circle of people around them. Not to be collateral damage in a petty reprisal of government affairs.