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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs