Thursday, April 15, 2010

Update on Status of Russian Adoption: April 15

As of now, Russian adoption to the US remains open; there is no moratorium. The Ministry of Education is the Russian government entity responsible for adoption; the spokesmen interviewed on CNN, FOX, and other media outlets are spokesmen from other Russian ministries without jurisdiction over adoption. Unless and until jurisdiction for adoption is given to another ministry, the Ministry of Education is the entity that must agree to a moratorium. Currently, this has not happened.

Two of our adoptive families were at the US Embassy in Moscow this morning (Thursday) and were given the passports and visas for their children to return to the United States. The embassy confirmed that courts are still being held for American adoptive families across the country of Russia, and that the embassy is continuing to grant visas to children (

A delegation from the US State Department is scheduled to meet with Russian officials April 20, 2010, in Moscow regarding the ongoing situation. While there is always the risk of shutdown in international adoption, including Russia, most insiders are optimistic and do not believe the situation regarding the Russian adoptee from Tennessee will lead to any moratorium on adoption to American families.

Most agencies and adoption facilitators, including ours, receive e-mail newsletters from the US Embassy when there are any changes in adoption climate. If and when the US Embassy is made aware of changes in laws affecting American adoption, they will send e-mail notification immediately. We, among others, will receive this word then. For now, news outlets are reporting this story in an uninformed, sensationalistic, and irresponsible manner.

For those who wish to remain updated accurately on this subject, we offer these suggestions:

1. Visit the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCISC) website at for the latest updates. JCICS is an internationally-respected clearinghouse for adoption advocacy and information; they are also leading the charge to keep adoption open in Russia.

2. Recognize the media has an interest in stories that are alarming, and accuracy sometimes takes a back seat. While some in positions of authority within Russia are calling for a moratorium, no one with the authority to actually implement one has done so. The media either does not understand which ministry is in charge of adoption within Russia, or they are ignoring this detail in an attempt to produce a sensationalistic story.

3. Understand there is, now and always, a risk of shutdown in international adoption. There is much frightening posturing and threatening now within Russia; however, if we stopped working every time someone in the Russian government threatened a moratorium, we would never bring any children home. Until a moratorium is announced by the appropriate ministry within Russia, we continue to process our cases as expeditiously as possible.

As always, if there is news of interest to our Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project waiting families, they will be informed by telephone as quickly as possible. Further updates will also be posted in this space, and on Facebook, as news becomes available.