This guest post was written by Shannon Johnson.
This article was published on The Guardian website on March 2, 2013 and written by The Guardian staff. Russia recently placed a ban on adoptions of Russian children by people from the United States. This ban was put into Russian legislation due to a recent death in Texas of a 3 year old Russian adoptee named Max Shatto. There were suspicions of child maltreatment causing his death and an investigation was initiated. This death was ultimately ruled accidental by the courts, however it has not stopped Russia from banning Americans from adopting Russian children, nor has it changed the opinion of Russian citizens. The announcement of the ban and ongoing tension between Russia and the United States sparked the rally of about 12,000 people in Moscow in support of the adoption ban. In the past 20 years about 60,000 children were adopted by Americans from Russia with approximately 20 deaths of those children post-adoption in the United States. There is no information on whether this ban is time-limited or if it is permanent.
This article gives some good statistics and factual information on what has happened in Russia leading up to this ban and the event that sparked the ban to be put into law. Another positive thing about this article is that it gives a nice picture to the reader about why Russians feel so strongly about this ban and it is clear and concise; it gets straight to the facts and relevant information. There are also some limitations this article has as far as the amount of information provided by the authors in several areas. First, there is little information on the actual ban of American adoptions in Russia and all of the events that led to the community outrage. Second, there is little information given about what will happen with the 650,000 orphans in Russia and how Russia will reform their child welfare to meet the needs of these children. This article also does not discuss any of the consequences of this ban on the children, Russia or America. Overall, there is a lack of in depth information and leaves the reader asking several questions.
It seems this article is promoting myths/misconceptions about adoptions in the United States in that adopted children "get abused" and does not show the picture of most adoptions in the United States that are safe and healthy. Also, it paints a further "ugly" picture of foreign adoptions and does not help American citizens' outlook for international adoptions in the future. Finally, it does not help Russia in that it points out how many orphans are currently in institutions and makes it seem like Russia is not taking care of their children.
For a video on the impact of the ban, see the video below: