News / USA

Adoptive Parents of Foreign Children Often Face Challenges

Russians protest against adoption banRussians protest against adoption ban
x
Russians protest against adoption ban
Russians protest against adoption ban
Greg Flakus
The death of an adopted Russian child in Texas last month has stirred controversy over how such adoptions are arranged and what safeguards are in place for children once they are in their new homes. Adoptive parents sometimes need support when dealing with children.

The death of three-year-old Max Shatto in Gardendale, Texas, has sharpened tensions between the United States and Russia only a few months after Russia banned further U.S. adoptions.  

Jennifer Lanter, a spokesperson for the Gladney Center for Adoption in Fort Worth, the agency that handled the Shatto adoption, says children from Russia are in demand.

“It is one of our most beloved programs. The children are beautiful. The parents are excited to travel to Russia. It is a country filled with such great history. We treasured our Russia program and we are so sad that that decision was made to ban adoptions because we truly believe it was in the best interests of the children,” Lanter said.

But some Russian officials say the United States needs to provide better safeguards. In some cases, that is true, according to Michele Goodwin, a University of Minnesota Law School professor and author of the book “Baby Markets: Money and the New Politics of Creating Families.” She says many U.S. couples want children from Russia and eastern Europe simply because of their race and do not focus on cultural differences.

“They may think this is a white child coming into a white family and they don't take into account the fact that this happens to be a child coming from Russia. That means the child has a Russian name. That also means there is a language barrier and a language barrier that may be very difficult to overcome,” Goodwin said.

In Russia, the birth mother of the boys in the Shatto home has been among those calling for their return, but last week she was removed from a train for allegedly being drunk and disorderly.  Michele Goodwin says Russia has more than 100,000 children in orphanages, many of them damaged by drugs and alcohol before they were even born.

“Kids exposed to alcohol in utero may have very difficult hurdles to overcome. There may be tendencies toward violence. There may be psychological conditions that are difficult for families alone to treat,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin says parents who have adopted such children are sometimes desperate for help.

Lanter says the Gladney agency keeps in close touch by phone and home visits after parents bring an adopted child home.

“In six months, 12 months, 24 months and 36 months we go out and perform a post-placement visit. That means we go in and check on the family, check on the child, making sure that everyone is okay and adjusting well, and if they are not that is the time we would provide resources and help them with referrals to doctors and counseling,” Lanter said.
 
Chuck Johnson, president of the National Council for Adoption, says agencies are performing much better thanks in large part to U.S. adherence to an international agreement.

“The system is much better today and has been since 2008 when the U.S. ratified the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption and that multilateral treaty set a whole new standard for inter-country adoption. It set new standards for the agencies who do inter-country adoptions. It just reformed the whole system,” Johnson said.

Russia did not sign the Hague Convention, but did sign a treaty with the United States last year. That agreement had only been in effect for seven weeks before the ban was imposed.

Johnson says he understands why Russians are upset by possible abuse or neglect of adopted children from their country, but he says most U.S. parents are providing a good home for these children.

“As we focus on these tragedies - and we should because we need to try to prevent them in the future - you cannot lose sight of the fact that most children and most families do very well. Even for the children who come here and are struggling, they are going to get better services here in the United States,"  Johnson said.

Johnson and others involved in international adoptions say they hope Russia will reconsider its ban on adoptions and allow more U.S. parents to take in these children in need.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid