January 10, 2013
Russian News Article released today

We were made aware of a news article issued earlier today by the Russian news outlet RIA Novosti.  The article cites President Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov as stating, "The existing bilateral adoption agreement between Russia and the United States will remain valid until early January 2014.  The agreement is in force at the moment, it will be in force over the course of the year". (link to article)

Although this appears to be good news, we remain cautious as to how the Russian law banning adoptions will be implemented and how it will affect in-process cases. 

We will continue to work with our resources and wait for additional information from the US Department of State.  We will forward any information we receive it.

 

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January 3, 2013
The United States Department of State issued the following statement today:

Alert: Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families

On December 28, President Vladimir Putin signed into law Russian Federal Law No. 186614-6, which prohibits the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens. This law went into effect on January 1, 2013. The law bans adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens, bars adoption service providers from assisting U.S. citizens to adopt Russian children, and requires termination of the U.S.- Russia Adoption Agreement.

 

The United States regrets that the Russian government has decided to ban the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens and to terminate the Agreement under Article 17(5). The Agreement entered into force on November 1, 2012, to promote stronger safeguards for children and all parties involved in the intercountry adoption process. Under the termination clause of the Agreement, it will remain in force for one year, until January 1, 2014. Despite the adoption ban, the U.S. government remains committed to implementation and fulfillment of its obligations under the Agreement. The United States continues to urge the Russian government, in the spirit of the Agreement, to allow U.S. families already in the process of adopting a child from Russia to complete their adoptions so that these children may join permanent, loving families.

 

At this time the Russian government has provided no details on how Russian Federal Law No. 186614-6 will be implemented. The Department of State has no information on whether the Russian government intends to permit the completion of any pending adoptions.

 

In observance of national holidays, most Russian government offices will be closed through January 8, 2013.

 

U.S. families in the process of adopting a child from Russia may continue to reach out to the Office of Children's Issues at Russiaadoption@state.gov. The Office of Children's Issues will reach out directly to families as additional information becomes available. Further information regarding intercountry adoption from Russia will also be posted on www.adoption.state.gov.

 

 

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January 2, 2013
The United State Department of State issued the following statement on December 31:

Alert: Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families Signed into Law

On December 28, President Vladimir Putin signed into law Russian Federal Law No. 186614-6, which prohibits the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens. This law will go into effect on January 1, 2013.

 

In keeping with the spirit of the current U.S.-Russia adoption agreement, which went into effect on November 1, 2012, the U.S. government continues to urge the Russian government to allow U.S. families in the process of adopting a child from Russia to complete their adoptions so that these children may join permanent, loving families.

 

At this time the Russian government has provided no details on how the law will be implemented. The Department of State has no information on whether the Russian government intends to permit the completion of any pending adoptions.

In observance of national holidays, most Russian government offices will be closed through January 8, 2013.

 

Prior to traveling to Russia, we strongly encourage families, in cooperation with their adoption service providers, to confirm that Russian authorities will process their adoptions to conclusion and provide all required documents. It remains unclear whether Russian immigration authorities will allow adoptees to depart the country and whether families in this situation will encounter legal complications with local authorities starting on January 1, 2013.

 

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will continue to process Forms I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, and immigrant visa applications for children whose families have obtained all required documents as part of the adoption process. U.S. citizen adoptive parents who have completed an adoption, received a Russian passport for their child, and have filed or are ready to file Form I-600 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and then apply for the immigrant visa at the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow should call +7-495-728-5000 or email the USCIS office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow at Moscow.dhs@dhs.gov to request assistance.


 

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December 28, 2012
Below is a statement issued this afternoon by the Department of State.  We encourage all EAC families to email their adoption status to russiaadoption@state.gov (if you have already submitted your information to askci@state.gov, you do not need to resend).  The Department of State will keep you posted on the status of Russia adoptions as new information becomes available.
   

Russian President Vladimir Putin Signs Legislation to
Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families into Law

 

December 28, 2012

 

On December 28, President Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law No. 186614-6 which prohibits the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families.  This law will go into effect on January 1, 2013. 

 

The Department of State remains actively engaged with the Russian government to determine how this will impact the resolution of adoptions by U.S. families in various stages of the adoption process.  In keeping with the spirit of the current U.S.-Russia adoption agreement, we have urged the Russian government to ensure that U.S. families in the process of adopting a child from Russia will be able to complete their adoptions so that these children may join permanent loving families. 

 

The Department continues to encourage U.S. families in the process of adopting a child from Russia to provide information regarding where they are in the adoption process to the Office of Children's Issues using the subject line "Intercountry adoption in Russia - family update."  An email address has been set up for this correspondence: Russiaadoption@state.gov.  Those families that have already provided information to AskCI@state.gov do not need to resend their information.    

 

As more information is obtained we will reach out directly to families that have provided their contact information.  Further information regarding intercountry adoption from Russia will also be posted on adoption.state.gov.

 

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December 28, 2012
Putin Signs Adoption Ban
EAC has been made aware of the tragic news President Putin has signed the Adoption Ban law.  The details of the implementation have not been made as of yet.  When the details are made available, EAC will be able to provide direction for each of our families.  To reiterate - we do not, at this point, know how this ruling will affect in-process cases.  We are continuing to contact each of our families to provide as updates as we learn them.

Here are statements released by DOS, NCFA and JCICS:

Department of State
Statement on Russia's Yakovlev Act
Press Statement
Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC 
December 28, 2012

We deeply regret Russia's passage of a law ending inter-country adoptions between the United States and Russia and restricting Russian civil society organizations that work with American partners. American families have adopted over 60,000 Russian children over the past 20 years, and the vast majority of these children are now thriving thanks to their parents' loving support. The Russian government's politically motivated decision will reduce adoption possibilities for children who are now under institutional care. We regret that the Russian government has taken this step rather than seek to implement the bilateral adoption agreement that entered into force in November. We are further concerned about statements that adoptions already underway may be stopped and hope that the Russian government would allow those children who have already met and bonded with their future parents to finish the necessary legal procedures so that they can join their families.

The limitations imposed by the Act on Russian civil society's ability to work with American partners will also make it more difficult for Russian and American non-governmental organizations to cooperate in areas as diverse as human rights advocacy, open government, and electoral transparency. The United States remains committed to supporting the development of civil society and the democratic process around the world, including in Russia.

 

NCFA

Russia Bans Intercountry Adoption with the United States

 

December 28, 2012 - Alexandria, VA - Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law the controversial ban on intercountry adoption with the United States on Friday, December 28, 2012.

 

"Russia's decision to ban intercountry adoption with the United States and deny children an opportunity of a loving family is most certainly a great tragedy, but it is just one example of a greater tragedy lived out daily by millions upon millions of orphans worldwide who are victims of war, famine, disease, and political systems that deny them a voice" says Chuck Johnson, President and CEO of National Council For Adoption.

 

Orphans want and need families. National Council For Adoption and orphan advocates from around the world will renew our efforts and continue to be their voice until their right to be loved, protected, and secure in a family is realized.

 

 

JCICS

In what we can only describe as a tragedy, earlier today President Putin signed the ban on intercountry adoption.  The law goes into effect on January 1, 2013 and while some details remain unclear, it is being reported that the law supersedes the bi-lateral adoption agreement between the US and Russia.  The status of the adoptions currently in-process is not assured at this time.

The closure of Russia to intercountry adoption follows what is now an all too familiar strain of tragedies.  Children in Vietnam, Nepal, Romania and too many other countries suffer the life-long effects of institutionalization due to the elimination of intercountry adoption as a viable option.  However unlike other closures which were generally based on child protection issues, the Russian ban is particularly stinging in that it is an act of politics, pure and simple.

As a professional advocate for children and the father of two Russian born children, this ban by the Russian government is a loss for my head and my heart....but most of all a loss for the children of Russia.

 

Best Wishes,

Tom DiFilipo
President & CEO

 

Joint Council reminds those families who are in the process of adopting from Russia of the U.S. Dept. of State's requests that families currently in the process of adopting a child from Russia email the Department of State at AskCI@state.gov.  Families should state the stage and status of their adoption and use "Intercountry Adoption in Russia - Family Update" in the subject line of the email Joint Council will continue to engage in collaborative efforts with and through US and Russian government officials, the Department of State, Congressional offices, Joint Council Partners, NGOs and advocates in both countries.  We will provide updates on this situation as they become available.  To receive Joint Council updates regarding Russia, individuals are urged to sign up for our Russia email alerts, which can be done by clicking here (Select "Country and Issue Specific Information" and then select "Russia").

 

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December 26, 2012
Update from the US Department of State Website
Adoption Alert: Federation Council approves Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families

The Department of State continues to follow developments in Russia related to Federal Law No. 186614-6 and remains actively engaged in discussions with the Russian government regarding concerns that, if signed into law, this legislation will needlessly remove the opportunity for hundreds of Russian orphans to join loving families each year.  The Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian Parliament) approved the legislation in a unanimous vote on December 26 and it will now go to President Vladimir Putin for signature or veto.  The Department of State has not received any notice that adoptions to the United States are suspended, and both the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continue to work closely with Russian authorities on intercountry adoption issues as set forth in the U.S.-Russia adoption agreement. 

U.S. families currently in the process of adopting a child from Russia are encouraged to reach out to the Department of State at AskCI@state.gov to provide information regarding where they are in the adoption process.  We encourage families to use the subject line "Intercountry adoption in Russia - family update."  We will seek to provide information directly to families that contact our office through email as it becomes available.  Information regarding the passage of any legislation that affects U.S. citizens who are in the process of adopting a child from Russia will also be posted on adoption.state.gov.

 

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December 21, 2012
Russian Duma passes the third reading of the Dima Yakovlev Law
The Russian Duma passed the third reading of the Dima Yakovlev Law, sending it to a Senate vote next week.  Upon the Senate vote, Putin will then decide whether or not to sign the law into effect.

EAC has also been informed the Russian Supreme Court has recommended all adoption court cases be postponed until a resolution has been reached. (this does not mean the law has gone into effect and adoptions are closed).

EAC believes we owe it to the orphaned children in Russia that we remain hopeful.  We also recognize this can be an extremely difficult task for adopting parents, but we need them to be prepared in the case adoptions are able to move forward.

As always, we are continuing to work with our resources in finding out as much information as we possibly can and will forward it to you.

EAC will be sending emails later today identifying some ways you can make your voice heard on this issue.
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December 20, 2012
Here is a response from NCFA regarding the threat of a Russian Adoption ban:

National Council For Adoption Responds to Threatened Ban of  

Russian Adoptions to the U.S.

 

December 20, 2012 - Alexandria, VA - A draft bill banning intercountry adoption to the United States is quickly making its way through the Russian legislative process.  The "Dima Yakavlev Law," which has already passed two of the three required votes in the Russian Duma, is expected to be voted on by the full Duma on Friday, December 21. If passed, the legislation will then be voted on by the Russian Federation Council, possibly as early as December 26. From there, Russian President Vladimir Putin must decide whether to sign the bill into law or reject it.

 

 On Thursday, December 20, President Putin stopped just short of promising to sign the legislation. He did say, however, that he considered the Dima Yakavlev Law to be an "appropriate" response to the Magnitsky Act, a new U.S. law that calls for sanctions on Russian citizens who are complicit in human rights violations.

 

 "There is terrible irony in the fact that America's decision to speak out against human rights violations may cause the Russian government to deny many thousands of Russian orphans the possibility to grow up in loving adoptive families," says Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of National Council For Adoption. "The plight of orphaned children worldwide, so many of whom spend their young lives in institutions, is itself a violation of every child's right to a safe, nurturing, and permanent family. Often inadequately cared for, lacking in love and security, deprived of necessary education, healthcare, and support, too many orphaned children either die in institutions or 'age out' into a world in which they continue to suffer the harshest of injustices, alone and without a voice."

 

 According to the United States Government Action Plan on Children in Adversity, which was released by the White House this week, there are more than 700,000 registered orphans in Russia. Approximately 100,000 of these orphans are four years old or younger, and are housed in 2,150 public institutions throughout Russia. It is estimated that 80% of these children have developmental delays. Despite a steady decline in the total number of intercountry adoptions being completed each year due to changes in adoption policies and practices, Americans' interest in adopting children from other countries continues to increase. Americans adopted 962 Russian orphans in 2011, the last year for which statistics are available. Over the last twenty years, Americans have adopted nearly 60,000 Russian orphaned children.

 

 Of all these adoptions, there have been nineteen deaths of Russian adoptees at the hands of their American parents. These terrible tragedies have led to important and necessary reforms to protect children; most notably the Bilateral Adoption Agreement between Russia and the U.S. that went into effect on November 1, 2012. This agreement, which was passed to help safeguard and protect children and families involved in Russian adoption proceedings, requires the facilitation of adoptions through accredited agencies, mandates that prospective adoptive parents complete up to eighty hours of pre-adoption training, and permits Russia to engage in post-adoption monitoring of children adopted by families in the United States.

 

Research has consistently shown that both institutional care and temporary foster care are woefully poor substitutes for permanent family care. "Youth aging out of institutions without permanent families of their own face poor outcomes and terrible hardships," says Chuck Johnson. "Children need and deserve love, stability, and permanency. Whether this permanency is achieved through family preservation, permanent guardianship, kinship care, or adoption, permanency itself - and the safety and love it can provide - should be a priority for every child. When children cannot return to their biological family members nor be adopted by citizens in their own countries of origin, it is in their best interest to consider and allow intercountry adoption."

 

 The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, which the U.S. and many other countries have signed, establishes international standards of practice for intercountry adoption in order to safeguard children and adoptive parents. The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption has clearly identified intercountry adoption as preferable to either institutional care or long-term foster care, because of the permanency and stability adoption can provide for children.

 

 "On behalf of the tens of thousands of children whose human right to a family will be violated if this law is passed, the National Council For Adoption calls on Congress and President Barack Obama to address this threat to intercountry adoption before it's too late. We must act now for the sake of all the orphaned Russian children who will be deprived of loving families if this legislation is signed and enacted," says Chuck Johnson. "As advocates for children who know and believe that intercountry adoption is in the best interest of many children, we humbly plead with President Putin and Russian officials to consider how this intercountry adoption ban could hurt Russia's voiceless orphaned children. Whatever political statement the Russian government feels is necessary as a response to the Magnitsky Act, it should not be carried out in a way that harms innocent children."

 

 

European Adoption Consultants, Inc.
EAC