News / Europe

American Families Visit Russia with Adopted Children

American Families Visit Russia with Adopted Childreni
X
July 22, 2013 4:40 PM
Last winter, passions were high over the Kremlin’s ban on American families adopting Russian children. James Brooke reports.
American Families Visit Russia with Adopted Children
James Brooke
Last winter, passions were high over the Kremlin’s ban on American families adopting Russian children. In the streets, demonstrators said they were ashamed that their government was hurting orphans to score a political point.
 
On the other side, President Vladimir Putin was angry at the United States over American human rights legislation. He said on national television: “There are plenty of countries with higher living standards than Russia. So what? Should we send our kids there?”
 
Summer has come to Moscow and the adoption ban is still in place. But human warmth is easing the chill.
 
In mid-July, 15 American families traveled to Russia along with their adopted children -- to connect with their birthplaces. The Americans blended in with tourists and wedding parties on Red Square.
 
Lauren Thompson came with her adopted son, Andrei. She said:  “If people understand we are Americans, not Russians - I have not found any hostility at all.”
    
“We have been thinking about this for a number of years,” she said about the ‘roots’ trip. “Andrei has always been interested in his Russian heritage.”
 
The American parents recalled that Russian adoption officials asked them to teach their children about their Russian origins.
 
But four Russian children adopted by Americans were denied Russian visas. Sarah Goth ran the tour for The Ties Program, an American company based in Wisconsin.
 
“We don’t understand why,” Goth said in Moscow. “And we could not appeal that decision in any way. It seemed to be random.”
 
People in Russia have been welcoming. She said:  “We have confirmed visits to all the hospitals, baby homes that the families want to visit.”
 
Some families met with birth mothers. Ally, aged 12, said she did not push for that.
 
“Well, I’ve been curious about my birth mom, I mean, any kid would, but I don’t really think about her that much,” she said.
 
For John, Ally's adoptive father, the trip back to Russia was about answering questions.
 
“We would like for her to see, to be able to ask questions, and to satisfy any curiosity and get closure on any issues that she may have now and going forward,” he said.
 
While the trips have been intensely personal, the Kremlin ban has loomed in the background.
 
Katherine, Ally's adoptive mother, said: “To think that anyone would stand in the way of a child having a family is incomprehensible to me.”

Stung by domestic and international criticism, the Kremlin has launched a program to encourage Russian parents to adopt Russian orphans.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 22, 2013 7:59 PM
To issue visas means for government to claim both receivers belong to native countries and visiting places do not belong to them. In Japan, government has been rejected to issue visas to some Japanese who want to visit Hoppou-ryoudo, small islands which have been occupied by Russia since WWII.

Regarding this international adoption, Russia looks like declined to lose its nationals due to a matter of honor, Russia is a big county which does not need any aids to its nationals especially from US, a rival in many cases. From the stand point of human rights, Hague treaty should be signed by all countires.


by: Rebecca from: Kaneohe Hawaii
July 22, 2013 4:37 PM
It's easy to answer why they were denied visas. Adoptive parents are required to keep the children's Russian passports updated until they are 18 and adopted children MUST travel on their Russian passports and not on American passports with visas. If they had flown with their original Russian passports (if they were kept up to date) they would have been allowed entry.

In Response

by: Linda from: Maryland
August 09, 2013 4:44 PM
I too paid a huge amount of money to have a visa placed on my daughter's U.S. passport, as did the other 3 families. This was an arbitrary decision that seemed completely rooted in the current tensions over U.S. adoptions. Again, punishing the children.

In Response

by: David from: Arizona
August 03, 2013 11:04 PM
We travelled to Russia and were nervous about our child traveling on a Russian passport, so we paid an exorbitant fee to the Russian government for a visa to use with our child's American passport. We encountered no difficulties.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid