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From Russia With Spite: Ban on U.S. Adoptions

By Andrew Lu on December 28, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law an adoption ban that will prevent Americans from adopting Russian children.

The Russian law seems to be politically motivated, and may be a form of retaliation against a new U.S. human rights law, reports Reuters.

Americans who'd hoped to adopt Russian children now find themselves in a state of limbo. There were 52 Russian children whose adoptions to U.S. parents were already underway. These children will now remain in Russia for the immediate future.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, and appears to be part of a larger bill that Russia enacted to combat a U.S. law over alleged human rights violations committed by Russians. In turn, Russian lawmakers created a mirror-image of the U.S. law -- and then added the anti-adoption clause for good measure, upping the stakes in the political battle, reports Reuters.

So with Russia apparently closed to U.S.-based adoptions, prospective adoptive parents may have to turn elsewhere, perhaps to different countries. Here are some general tips to guide you through the international adoption process:

  • Spend some time in the adoptive child's country. This may be a good idea both to familiarize yourself with the customs and culture of the adoptive child, as well as to fulfill legal requirements prior to the adoption. Some countries' laws require that you spend several weeks in the adoptive child's country prior to beginning the adoption process.

  • Have a home study conducted. In almost every case, a government official will conduct a home study to ensure that your home is suitable for an adopted child.

  • Obtain a visa. When you adopt a foreign child, the child does not automatically become a U.S. citizen. In fact, you may need to obtain a visa so that the child can even enter the United States in the first place.

Adopting a child from a foreign country is a time-consuming and complicated process. You'll likely want to work with an experienced adoption attorney to help you along the way, especially if you're affected by Russia's new ban on adoptions by American parents.

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