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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid