Taking time out from my Las Vegas honeymoon to write a short blurb on a news article that caught my eye this morning - an interesting addition to the Russian adoption story. While many Russians have been outraged at deaths and abuse of foreign adopted Russian children in recent years (especially by Americans) - Galina Semya is reporting via RIA Novosti that abuse of adopted children within Russia is at least as bad, if not worse. This appears to be a lightly reported topic for comparison, as it is just much easier to blame outsiders. It is a characteristic of human nature - but appears to be especially so within Russia these days.
A Moscow children's rights expert said Monday that 1,220 Russian children adopted by Russians had died since 1991, including 12 killed by their foster parents.A quick search for "галина семья" reveals that she works for "Дети-сироты" (Orphan Children) in Moscow. Her last name Sem'ya would appear to be an adopted name, as it means "family" in Russian.
Galina Semya said that 116 cases of serious physical abuse had been registered in the same period, with 23 cases of serious physical abuse by foster parents.
Adoption has been in the political spotlight recently following a string of high-profile abuse cases involving Russian children adopted by foreigners that have prompted calls to tighten up regulation of adoption procedures.
"Since 1991, five children adopted by foreigners have been killed, and 16 have died in accidents," Semya said, adding that another 119 children had been returned to Russia.
Recent changes in Russian adoption laws will prohibit the independent adoption of Russian children, beginning in 2007. This would seem to be a reasonable measure and would require adoption agencies to be certified and regulated by the state. However, other articles have suggested that these organizations are no better at screening potential parents than via independent adoptions.