Blind Girl Keeps Urging Putin to Lift Adoption Ban

ROSTOV-ON-DON, January 16 (RIA Novosti) – A blind teenage girl on Wednesday reiterated her appeal to President Vladimir Putin to lift the ban on foreign adoptions.

The adoption ban, endorsed by Putin, came into force on 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.

Natalya Pisarenko’s first open letter, posted on her blog on January 6, urged Putin to set an example and “adopt five, ten abandoned children with grave congenital diseases.”

Her letter caused a furor on the Internet and in the media. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin will consider the letter, though a social networking message is not formal correspondence.

“I am once again appealing to the president of Russia. Vladimir Vladimirovich, please promise to reverse the adoption ban for US nationals,” Natalya wrote in the latest post.

“Children should live in their own home, not in a state institution. There are so many children without parents; childhood passes and will never return.”

In her first letter she said there are many disabled children “who live a short life because of their congenital diseases and die at age 20 at best.”

“Our families won’t adopt children with grave congenital disorders; such children require modern healthcare facilities, which are nonexistent in Russia.”

Pisarenko, who was born blind, explained that her diagnosis was made by German doctors and she will soon undergo treatment in the United States to restore her eyesight.

“For Russian doctors, I’m still a child with an unknown disease and incurable blindness,” she said.

The girl openly waived her state-issued disability pension of about 7,500 rubles (about $250) per month in 2011, protesting against changes in the Russian legislation that cancelled free health resort treatment for people with disabilities. A year later, she publicly complained of being given ordinary schoolbooks instead of books for the visually impaired.

Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said Monday that with over 128,000 children waiting for adoption, there are only 18,000 families in Russia ready to take them.

In 2011, that number was 82,000, while just 7,400 were adopted by Russian nationals that year.

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 children – some with serious illnesses – now at various stages of the adoption process by US families, which the US State Department estimated two weeks ago to number from 500 to 1,000.

Over 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by American families in the last 20 years, including around 1,000 in 2011, US State Department figures show.


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