GORKI, January 14 (RIA Novosti) – In terms of supply and demand Russia is an “adoptee’s market” with over 128,000 children waiting for adoption and only 18,000 families ready to take them, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said Monday.
Of that number 105,000 are in so-called “children’s homes,” or orphanages, while the others, who are 14 and above, are in special vocational institutions and living in dormitories, she said.
In 2011, that number was 82,000, while just 7,400 were adopted by Russian nationals that year.
Golodets has publicly opposed the adoption ban that came into force January 1 as part of Russia’s wider response to the United States’ so-called Magnitsky Act, which introduces sanctions against Russian officials suspected of involvement in human rights abuses.
Late last year, President Vladimir Putin signed the ban into law and issued a decree mandating the simplification of the adoption procedure for Russian nationals. The Cabinet of Ministers has until February 15 to carry out the presidential decree.
The new procedure should lower the requirements on housing conditions for prospective adoptive families, reduce the list of adoption-related documents to be submitted to government agencies, and provide legal, organizational and psychological support to adoptive families.
The US law – which the Kremlin called a “purely political, unfriendly act” – was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a whistleblowing lawyer who died under disputed circumstances in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in 2009.
Opponents of the ban say it effectively condemns Russian children in state care to lives of misery in what they say are underfunded and sometimes brutal institutions.
The ban will affect almost all of the children – some with serious illnesses – now at various stages of the adoption process by US families, which the US State Department estimated last week at 500-1,000.
Over 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by American families in the last 20 years, including around 1,000 in 2011, according to US State Department figures.