When Pat and I decided to begin the journey to adopt, I had insisted that we needed to go to Russia. Truthfully, yes, it was in part because of the messed up system of adoption here in the United States. It was also in part because, since the fall of the Soviet Union, I had seen countless specials about the children left in orphanages who sat there glassy eyed and dazed without anyone to hold, hug and kiss on them. I thought I could change the life of a child by being able to bring him or her home.
Boy was I wrong on that!!! Okay, maybe we did change his life. But, he has most definitely changed ours for the better!
But, before all of the change happened, we had to complete a mountain of paperwork; be checked out by our agency/the FBI/Child Protective Services/doctor upon doctor upon doctor upon doctor/the police/more doctors ad infinitem. . .and we had to wait. We had to wait for all of the paperwork to come back so we coul sign it, have it notarized and apostilled, and send it off to the agency to be checked and then redo some of it and then send it back again and then off to Russia to be checked. And in the meantime, we also had to wait because Russian adoptions were shut down due to all of the agencies needed to be re-accredited. It. Was. Never. About. Money.
There have been countless times since those days, including while we were in country, that another shut down was threatened due to this or that--I am in no way minimizing the deaths of any child here. But, as many others have also said, there are many thousand Russian children living here in the United States who are healthy, normal and living wonderfully normal lives without any kind of abuse what-so-ever.
In most Regions, children are in a baby home from infancy to about 4 years old. They then move up to a Secondary Home. Where they typically remain for the rest of their growing up. Unless they are adopted, of course. So, at the age of 4, a child is then placed in a home with children up to 16 or 17 years old. While many have not been overtly abused, aside from the leaving them in the crib all day or not changing the diaper all day or the setting them on the potty at twelve months and told to sit there until they go. . .my son was actually given tea with lemon and sugar every day as part of his snack. At 16 months old! Talk about a crazy caffeine withdrawal when we got custody of him. . .
Anyway, these little 4 years are then abused (beaten, harranged, etc.) by the older children. Most of whom think this is normal behavior because it was done to them!
So, basically, the Russian Government is now on the verge of condemning 600,000 or so children to neglect, abuse and a lifetime of misery because of politics. Right. That's how you push our buttons, Russia.
Meanwhile, my son, who is very loving and sensitive and loves his birth country as much as his adoptive country, gets upset to tears when he hears people here talking about how stupid (bad word, Mama! You get a ticket!) Russia is acting! And what am I supposed to tell him? I agree with the comments, but I can't tell him that! I love him too much to hurt his beautiful heart any more than it already has been! I will likely never tell him he was actually rejected by a Russian family. . .that just breaks my heart to think about it.
And so we pray that all involved will have cooler heads and calmer hearts and think beyond the immediate issues and more about who stands to lose in this situation. The 600,000 or so children will definitely lose.
I can't even begin to imagine the anguish the 46 families are experiencing right now who are caught in the waiting period. And I can't even begin to imagine what those 46 children might think of their country later when they find out that they were condemned by their government to a life of misery in a forgotten hole called an orphanage.
God help us all if we can't think of our children first.