Tulsans affected by Russia's U.S. adoption ban
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Sunday, December 30, 2012
12/30/12 at 4:32 AM
A bill signed Friday by Russian President Vladimir Putin bans the adoption of Russian children by U.S. residents, leaving some potential adoptive parents in limbo and others with the option of starting all over again.
There are 46 children who were about to be adopted in the U.S. this week who will likely remain in Russia if the bill takes effect on Jan. 1, according to a children's rights official in Russia.
Buckner International, an adoption agency based out of Dallas, affiliates with Tulsa-based Dillon International and facilitates Russian adoptions for Dillon's clients.
Scott Collins, vice president of communications for Buckner, said the agency has 22 families that were in the process of adopting children from Russia, four of those from the Tulsa area.
While none of those was in the group of 46, all those families or individuals, including the four in Tulsa, will have the option to start over with another child from another country, Collins said.
The new law is in response to a measure signed by President Barack Obama that calls for sanctions against Russians assessed to be human-rights violators.
According to UNICEF, more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by Americans in the last 20 years, and the United States is the most common destination for Russian children.
Tulsa resident Nancy Baney adopted her son from Russia in 2004 when he was just under 20 months old. She met him in August, and three weeks later she went back to Russia to finalize the adoption. She brought him back to the U.S. in September.
"That was back in the day when things moved somewhat quickly," Baney said. Now adoptive parents have to wait three to six months between visits.
Several years after adopting her son, Baney decided to adopt again, this time a daughter, and she started in Russia.
"I saw the signs," she said. "There were more restrictions, and it was much more difficult."
Baney said she waited almost five years for a referral from Russia to adopt before the agency she was working with suggested looking at another country. Eventually she found a child in Pakistan and is in the final stages of formally adopting her 3-year-old daughter, who is already living with her in Tulsa.
About 740,000 children are not in parental custody in Russia, UNICEF estimates, while about 18,000 Russians are on the waiting list to adopt a child.
"If you've ever traveled and been in those orphanages, you're profoundly changed by the needs those children have," Baney said. "Many of these children will never be adopted if it wasn't for Western countries coming in."
Collins said regulations and restrictions vary by country, and some are stricter with a longer adoption process.
But the law passed in Russia shouldn't affect other countries' international adoption laws, he said. "There's no connection at all. This only affects Russia."
While Russia is no longer an option for international adoption, Collins said, there are plenty of other countries that are open to Americans adopting children within their borders.
"Inter-country adoption will continue because there are so many children who need homes," he said. "We're hopeful maybe someday we'll be able to go back (to Russia), but we just don't know."
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465