Putin Sticks It to Orphans the Week of Christmas

Outraged by a new American law that bars Russians accused of human rights abuses from visiting the United States, the Russian parliament this week overwhelmingly approved a law, signed today by President Vladimir Putin, that bars Americans from adopting Russian children. If you have trouble following the moral logic of this particular tit for tat, you are not alone. The New York Times reports that the new law applies not only to future adoptions but to adoptions in progress:

For parents with their hearts set on adopting Russian children, the political discourse has been little more than background noise to their own personal agony. Senior officials in Moscow have said they expect the ban to have the immediate effect of blocking the departure of 46 children whose adoptions by American parents were nearly completed.

Adoption agency officials in the United States who work regularly with Russian orphanages said there were about 200 to 250 sets of parents who had already identified children they planned to adopt and would be affected.

As the Times explains, this nasty trick, which reneges on a recently completed adoption agreement between the two countries, is not simply a matter of disrupting cherished plans in which American couples have invested much time, effort, money, and emotion (although that would be bad enough). Since these parents already have met and bonded with the children they are adopting, Putin and his allies in the legislature are arbitrarily breaking up newly formed families, randomly hurting innocent orphans in a fit of political pique. The week of Christmas, no less. (Yes, I know: Theirs is the week after next.)

Putin's reply to critics who say it is wrong to prevent Americans from giving Russian orphans a better life in the United States:

There are probably many places in the world where living standards are better than ours. So what? Shall we send all children there, or move there ourselves?

This all-or-nothing logic argues not only against adoption but against any action that helps some while neglecting others. The 1,000 Russian children adopted by Americans last year may amount to less than 1 percent of the children available for adoption in that country, but every one of them now has a family he did not have before. Likewise the 60,000 Russians adopted by Americans during the last two decades. It would be wonderful if all 120,000 children waiting for adoption in Russia could find homes there, but since only 18,000 or so Russians are waiting to adopt (according to UNICEF), why prevent people in other countries from picking up some of that slack?

And yes, it's true: There are more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted right here in the United States. In that context, it may seem puzzling that Americans look for children to adopt in other countries. But as someone who has adopted both domestically and internationally, I can tell you there are sound reasons for preferring the latter process. Sadly, dealing with an authoritarian government, even a corrupt one, can be easier than dealing with our own child welfare system. 

Not in this case, of course. The nearly adopted children affected by the new Russian ban are unambiguously worse off as a result, to the benefit of no one. It is hard to fathom how anyone could support such a policy, let alone almost every legislator in Russia's parliament. You say we abuse human rights? We'll show you! It would be comical if it weren't so cruel.

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  • R C Dean||

    Sadly, dealing with an authoritarian government, even a corrupt one, can be easier than dealing with our own child welfare system.

    If handing over a couple of thousand, cash, gets you across the finish line, that's a better result (from a narrow perspective, perhaps), than spending a lot more than that and waiting a lot longer dealing with American bureaucrats.

  • Drake||

    And no chance of biological parents showing up some day and suing for custody.

  • Steve G||

    Knowing a few teenaged russian adoptees and their lingering developmental baggage, I'm amazed people still look past viable candidates closer to home to adopt these kids. True, they all need good homes, but I swear it seems people have no idea what they are getting into.

  • silent v||

    As an uncle to five kids adopted from Russia, I agree about the baggage. But many of them adjust to life in the US very well and become really great kids.

    OTOH, the ones that don't get adopted are kicked out of the orphanages and face a very grim future. With no skills and no support system, their career choices are either soldier for one of the gangs or prostitute. Neither one has a very long life expectancy in Russia. Preventing these kids from escaping this system over some diplomatic pissing contest is unconscionable

  • Jordan||

    Because dealing with the bureaucracy closer to home is a freakin nightmare.

  • R C Dean||

    Knowing a few teenaged russian adoptees and their lingering developmental baggage, I'm amazed people still look past viable candidates closer to home to adopt these kids.

    From my limited and second-hand experience with the American foster care and adoption system, you would be hard-pressed to find teenaged American adoption candidates without baggage. Sure, the Russians might have different/worse baggage, but most teenaged American adoption candidates come from severely dysfunctional homes.

  • Sudden||

    I worked in a tutoring center right out of college and two of the students were a 7 and 5 y/o Russian brother and sister that were adopted a couple years before. I was talking with their adopted father and he told me about how when he first brought them over, his son would sleep with his shoes on (shoes taken off would be stolen by other orphans) and they would throw their used toilet paper in the trash (sewers in Russia were incapable of flushing TP).

  • Michael S. Langston||

    I assume this is some sort of a distraction. Haven't been keeping up on good international news, but Russia mostly got things out of the US by using Iran as a pawn (Russia would routinely ignore trade embargoes and send cheap energy products to Iran).

    If recent reports are any evidence, Iran has been hit pretty consistently with viruses and such, which should slow their nuclear ambitions, allowing the US to focus on Russia when necessary.

    Or maybe Putin has just been getting bad press in Russia... though I'm pretty sure all the dead journalists have stopped most of that.

    Either way - I would assume this is a distraction of some sort. Not aimed at the US, but aimed at his population.

  • Hugh Akston||

    If you have trouble following the moral logic of this particular tit for tat, you are not alone.

    What's so difficult to follow? The US passes a dumbass punitive law against the Rooskies, so the Kremlin passes a dumbass punitive law against the Yankees. You can learn everything you need to know about international relations by watching two young siblings in the back seat during a car trip.

  • Drake||

    Except the dumbass punitive law passed by the Rooskies only hurts young Rooskies. It doesn't hurt American parents who will just adapt kids from other countries.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Drake, I know you're not suggesting that people who are entrusted with the power to pass and enforce laws haven't fully thought through the consequences of those laws.

  • FatDrunkAndStupid||

    The law targets the most important people in America (upper class white people) and targets the least important people in Russia (orphans). It makes perfect political sense. The law will absolutely devastate the lives of a small number of people who belong to Obama's base. Just like the US law highly complicates the lives of a tiny amount of Putin supporters. It is the perfect tit for tat. Every bit as petty and senseless as the US Law.

  • ||

    This law is only going to punish at most a couple 1000 Yanks. It will, however, punish about 500,000 Russian children.

    I always thought Putin was politically astute. Not sure what this law accomplishes. I think he may have gone off the deep end.

  • ||

    I think it very well be politically astute as it plays to Russian nationalism. The compliant press isn't going to make a big deal about all the kids that will languish in orphanages because of this.

  • ||

    However, a friend of mine living in Russia just IM'd me that it's bombing at home.

  • ||

    Yeah, I don;t see how letting a bunch of poor kids languish in orphanges at Christmastime is going to score any points, even with the uber nationalist Russkies (which is most of them, non?)

  • Redmanfms||

    Putin picks up Russian baby, stares at America intently then snarls and punches baby in the face screaming, "See America, this is how much we hate you." He continues in this fashion, screaming and punching until the baby is dead. After dropping the baby's corpse to the ground he wipes his hands and smiles while saying, "I taught you Americans, didn't I."

    Actually this whole thing reminds me of an exchange I saw between one of my friends and his wife. I'm sitting on the couch when all of a sudden a row starts in the kitchen area. I can't make out what they are saying, but they are both clearly plenty pissed. He storms out and on his way to the front door he punts his wife's dog (a totally unoffending and sweet little pug).

  • The Sego Sago Kid||

    I wouldn't blame the guy. Pugs are just too puntable to leave alone. They are like nature's footballs.

  • ||

    My pug would take your leg off.

  • Jordan||

    Must be an assault pug. Is it black?

  • nicole||

    Actually I believe Kristen has revealed before that it is a sporting model.

  • Jordan||

    Oh okay. If it was a werepug, we'd have to go all police state on her. FOR TEH CHILDREN

  • ||

    Indeed...he stalked and caught a bird on my balcony and ate it alive. Even my cat would never do that. That's why the Squeeze calls him "Doom Puppy, Destroyer of Worlds".

  • Sudden||

    My pug would take hump your leg off.

    FTFY

  • ||

    He would do that after he detached it from your body.

  • Sudden||

    Now maybe you understand why police officers find it necessary to shoot even the most seemingly harmless family pets.

  • R C Dean||

    He storms out and on his way to the front door he punts his wife's dog (a totally unoffending and sweet little pug).

    I would probably go ballistic right there (speaking figuratively!). Screw the merits of your argument with your wife, you don't take it out on the dog.

    Trying to punt any of my dogs would probably get you some broken toes, but I imagine those would be well down on the list of things the ER would be trying to deal with. Regardless of whether I involved myself in the ensuing fracas.

  • Redmanfms||

    Yeah, well we aren't friends anymore, though not directly over the pug punting episode.

    Let's just say the moral capacity to hurt a little dog is a big red flag for deeper very serious personality issues.

  • Tonio||

    Really? You were the one who was arguing that animals were exactly the same as lumps of clay on another thread. So what changed?

    I also got a lot of abuse on that thread for pointing out that animal abuse was a marker for psychopathic tendencies.

  • Redmanfms||

    Really? You were the one who was arguing that animals were exactly the same as lumps of clay on another thread.

    No, you posed a false dichotomy with an end to angling an appeal to ridicule and I called it.

    So what changed?

    Nothing on my part. I was never in favor of animal cruelty to begin with, I was opposed to government bans on human activity based on arbitrary definitions and poor logic.

    I can see you being mendacious hasn't changed though.

    I also got a lot of abuse on that thread for pointing out that animal abuse was a marker for psychopathic tendencies.

    You got a lot of "abuse" because you made unsubstantiated claims using undefined terms and resorted to sloppy fallacies and baiting questions to support them.

  • Tonio||

    Bullshit.

    You are a hypocrite.

    I'm not invested in your accepting this, but it is gratifying for me to be able to call you out on this for the edification of others.

  • Redmanfms||

    You are a hypocrite.

    And you are a lying piece of shit.

    Link to the discussion.

  • Tonio||

    Yes, the discussion in which the following dialogue occured at 12:01 PM:

    Tonio: So, no difference between a cow and a lump of clay in terms of human rights of ownership, control and disposal. Am I getting this right?

    Redmanfms: [quotes Tonio's question] Yes.

    Please seek help for your issues.

  • Redmanfms||

    Yeah, that was entire conversation, what else was posted you lying piece of shit?

    Let's see from me at 1206:

    When some asshole puncher like Tonio comes up with such a disingenuous question than I'll be happy to be that huckleberry.

    The individual should be free to slaughter the animal however they so choose. The market can determine the feasibility of the method.

    What I'd purely love to see both you and Tonio do is make an argument defending statist destruction of individual liberty instead of expecting everyone else to defend whatever you believe crosses the arbitrary animal cruelty line.

    1212:

    Now you can feel free to make the dipshit argument I know that leading and stupidly disingenuous question was destined to evolve into. It was already made above by an equally disingenuous apologist for anti-liberty, so feel free to make it now Tonio.

    Don't expect anything other than the derision such an asinine and fallacious question deserves as an answer though.

    1221:

    So you're seriously going to take the anti-liberty position because they made an appeal to (ultimate) authority?

    Really?

    I'm not invested in your accepting this (that you are a dishonest fucking twat), but it is gratifying for me to be able to call you out on this for the edification of others.

  • Agreenweed||

    I have a nice expandable baton for those who hurt anyone or any pet in my house. Ahem. And I aim for all the spots the packaging said not to hit.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Actually this whole thing reminds me of an exchange I saw between one of my friends and his wife.

    I'm hoping he became one of your former friends at that point?

  • Robert||

    A place kick could've been an accident, but not a punt.

  • CE||

    But no government wants to be stuck with a declining and aging population, so it's only prudent for them to stop emigration in any way they can, especially emigration of young people. Someone has to be around and working to prop up the state.

  • CE||

    Or maybe Putin wants to ramp up the army, and sees them as future draftees.

  • Agreenweed||

    Back flipping tomahawking spetsnaz.

  • Tonio||

    Several things.

    Most western Christians celebrate Christmas on Dec 25, some eastern orthodox churches celebrate Christmas in early January, so maybe not Xmas over there. Anyone? Groovus.

    Many of the orphans available for out-country adoption have known physical, developmental or emotional problems. Thus, the Russians are deliberately saving the state money by adopting these kids out (contra to CE at 1:00). The poor state of care in these orphanages only adds to the problems.

    These kids often go on to a better life in the US than they could ever have at home.

    And what RC said about bribes and repo efforts.

  • ||

    From the article:

    The week of Christmas, no less. (Yes, I know: Theirs is the week after next.)
  • Tonio||

    Derp.

  • Robert||

    Your alt text would be perfect for a caption in Vladimir Putin Action Comics.

  • ||

    I was reading this article about this very topic. It profiles an American couple trying to adopt a young Russian girl who suffers from spina bifida. Knowing that someone out there would spend untold sums of money to adopt a seriously ill child from the other side of the world is very uplifting. If there's a heaven, their place there is assured.

  • Robert||

    Jacob, you should remind people that you adopted a foreign child. It jacks up your credibility on the subject a notch about the time, money, emotion, and bonding.

  • Robert||

    Darn, I missed it in the next to last para. Sorry.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Holy shit. The Kremlin makes the Jets look like a functional organization in comparison.

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