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The Politics Behind Russia’s Adoption Ban

3719 words - 15 pages

Few situations in adoption would be as harrowing and distressing for a hopeful, adoptive family; the majority of the paperwork has been completed, and it appears the adoption will proceed shortly without further waiting. In a shocking action, a ban is passed that immediately terminates the remaining process of the adoption. Regardless of the completion of the process – whether the adoption is in the early stages or the hopeful parents are preparing to travel to pick up their new child – the law stands firm and shuts down all communication between the family and child, leaving only questions and a void behind. No answers exist for why this is taking place, but rumors have circulated that the law has been passed in retaliation for an act passed earlier that had no apparent relation to international adoption. From this point on, the potential adoptive parents are left in a federal limbo where they are unable to reach the child they have worked tireless to adopt. Sadly, such a law is a harsh reality for American families today who had previously wanted to adopt a Russian child and have found themselves unable to begin the process, or found their progress has been terminated no matter how far along they had come. The most unfortunate part of the law is that it is a purely political response to the 2012 human rights Magnitsky Act, meaning the Russian adoption ban is the product of political posturing and needs to be overturned.
This law, in Russian legislation, is officially titled “Russian Federal Law No. 186614-6”, and in essence, bans American parents from adopting Russian children (“Russia”). The more common name of the law is the “Dima Yakovlev Law”, named for an international adoption case from 2008. The law was passed by the Russian State Duma and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on December 28, 2012 (“Dima”). Even prior to being passed and becoming effective on January 1, 2013, the law collected both supporters and critics in both affected nations; shortly thereafter, critics from both Russia and the United States maintained the argument that the law was the result of over-politicization of the international adoption system. It cannot be overlooked that the law is a reactionary law passed in response to the Magnitsky Act, which was a significant legal passage itself; however, the Magnitsky Act is concerned with human rights of a political, national kind, whilst Dima’s Law has come to stand for children’s rights (Assessment).
The fact of reactionary law-passing has been proven outright by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who explained to journalists the law was indeed a response to the United States’ Magnitsky Act (“Dima”). The law also has ties to the case of its namesake, the tragic case of Dmitri Yakovlev, who was a young adoptee who died of heatstroke after being mistakenly left in his father’s vehicle for the workday (Barry). It can be argued that this law is in the best interest of Russian children, to protect them from this...

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