American Parents Pen Adoption Plea

American Parents Pen Adoption Plea

Published: May 15, 2013 (Issue # 1759)

MOSCOW — On Tuesday, the Moskovsky Komsomolets published an open letter written by a group of Americans to the Russian children they met but were hastily barred from adopting. Signed by 55 prospective parents, the letter contains both words of reassurance to the children and a heartfelt plea to President Vladimir Putin to reverse the Jan. 1 ban on U.S. adoptions.

Almost six months have passed since U.S. parents were banned from adopting Russian children, officially for safety reasons, though the move was widely seen as a hastily drafted response to the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which calls for sanctions against Russians suspected of human rights abuses.

The ban was condemned by the human rights leaders and the U.S., which lobbied for Russia to exempt parents who had already met and bonded with their perspective child but not completed the legal process.

Tens of thousands of opponents of the ban attended a January march in Moscow, and more than 100,000 signed a petition against the bill, which rights advocates said would condemn thousands of orphans, many with disabilities, to grow up in often inadequate, state-run facilities.

About half of Russians support the adoption ban, according to a January poll by the independent Levada Center. More than 20,000 attended a government-backed march “In Support of Children” in early March, the event’s organizer said at the time.

A group of nearly 200 pediatricians and child psychologists signed an appeal to Putin last month, asking him to allow 100 children who had bonded with their would-be parents to move to the U.S. The Kremlin has said it could not comment on the letter because it had not received it officially.

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