Major Misconceptions About The Dima Yakovlev Law

1. For Russian orphans life is much more dangerous in Russia than in America. Let’s agree to disregard the hidden subtext which implies that any country ought to give over its orphans to foreign nationals should it be ranked safer for children. Let’s first examine if the claim that Russia is 39 times more dangerous for adoptees than the US is even true.

This number most prominently featured in a March 2012 article at the liberal website Ttolk, perhaps (probably?) it originated there. It then spread to the rest of the Internet via Yulia “Pinochet” Latynina at the Moscow Times

According to official government statistics, a child adopted by Russian parents is 39 times more likely to die than one adopted by parents in the West.

… and Victor Davidoff at the St. Petersburg Times.

It is also well-known that the chances a child will die after being adopted by a family in Russia are almost 40 times higher than if adopted by a family in the West.

While it’s no great secret that Western countries are safer than Russia, the differential struck me as absurdly high. Especially when I checked mortality rates, according to which on average Russian children have approximately twice the risk of death as do their American counterparts (or the same as the US in 1980). This is pretty much as to be expected, as Russian healthcare despite intensive modernization in the past decade still lags developed country standards.

So we have a paradox: While Russian children are on average are “only” 2x as likely to die as American ones, adoptees in particular are supposedly 39x more at risk. The differential between the two groups is simply too high to be credible.

Thankfully one gelievna had already done most of the work. Here is what the article in Ttolk wrote:

Already for several years semi-official documents cite the following number: Since 1991 to 2006, i.e. over 15 years, there died 1,220 children who had been adopted by Russian citizens. Of them 12 were killed by their own adopters.

During this same period, from 1991 to 2006, there died 18 Russian children in adopting families in the West. Knowing the number of adoptees there and in Russia (92,000 and 158,000, respectively) we can calculate the relative danger of adoption in these two worlds. It turns out that there is one dead child per 5,103 foreign families, whereas in Russian families this ratio is at one dead child to every 130 families. This means that adoptees in Russian families are in 39 times more danger than in foreign ones.

Well isn’t that shocking? Surely a humanitarian intervention is called for to rescue Russia’s children and place them in American homes. The only problem is that the 1,220 figure doesn’t refer to deaths at all. Here is what the original source, a 2005 report, actually said:

In 2005, the Ministry of Education and Science gathered preliminary statistics for the past 5 years on cases of death and incidences of ill treatment of orphans, adopted by Russians or taken into guardianship or a foster family, according to which:

Out of 1220 children, 12 died by the fault of the adopters and guardians;

Out of 116 children, whose health was for various causes subjected to heavy harm, 23 suffered by the fault of the adopters and guardians

So the article at Ttolk is basically comparing apples and oranges, i.e. the numbers of Russian adoptees who died in foreign countries vs. the numbers of Russian adoptees that were ill treated in Russia. Of course the latter figure is always going to be much, much higher.

What concrete findings we have (assuming the rest of the article is accurate) is that 18 Russian adoptees died in foreign countries (of those we know! there is no systemic tracking) during 1991-2006 vs. 12 Russian adoptees died by the fault of their foster parents specifically during 1999-2004 or so.

So while an exact comparison remains elusive we can know be fairly certain that in fact the risk of murder is broadly similar for a Russian adoptee in both Russia and the US. Basically it is (thankfully) extremely rare in both countries. I would also point out that this is far from a “Russophile” or “Russian chauvinist” conclusion, knowing that a lot of Russians harp on about the supposedly everyday shooting rampages in schools all over America. In reality this is just the usual anti-guns hysteria mixed in with Americanophobia, American schools are actually extremely safe with only 1-1.5% of all violent deaths of children occurring on school premises in any single year. (Even a very “catastrophic” event like the Newtown shooting would only raise this by about one percentage point).

This whole episode strongly reminds me of similar cases in the past when some wild figure was misquoted, spread in Russian liberal circles, and then transferred to the West. E.g. an imaginary spike of abortions in the wake of the economic crisis. Or the wild exaggeration of Russian emigration figures.

2. It was a cynical and pre-planned ploy to “punish” the US for the Magnitsky Act. Mercouris has already very elegantly demonstrated why this is the wrong way to look at it so one can do worse than quote him in extenso:

“I gather the Federation Council has now voted unanimously to support the adoption ban. This is a direct result of the campaign against it.

The adoption ban looks to me like an emotional response not just to the Magnitsky law but also to the way in which the original Dima Yakovlev law was first formulated. This very wisely limited sanctions to US officials who have violated the human rights of Russians. By doing so Russia has avoided the ridiculous situation created by the Magnitsky law by not extending its jurisdiction to US citizens whose actions have nothing to do with Russia. Understandably enough someone decided to name the law after Dima Yakovlev, who is not a Russian whose rights were violated but who as a child makes the ideal poster boy for this sort of law. However by naming the law after Dima Yakovlev the whole subject of the mistreatment of Russian children in the US was opened up and someone (Putin?, Russia’s Children’s Ombudsman?, someone within United Russia?) in what was surely an emotional response decided to tack on an adoption ban to the original Dima Yakovlev law. That this was not pre planned is shown by the fact that the Russian Foreign Ministry was until recently busy negotiating the agreement with the State Department to protect Russian children that I discussed previously. I gather this agreement was reached as recently as last month i.e. November not September as I said in my previous comment. It is scarcely likely that the Russian government negotiated an agreement it planned to cancel, which shows that the adoption ban must have been an emotional afterthought.

Since the adoption ban was almost certainly an emotional afterthought that almost certainly had not been properly thought through the best way to defeat it would have been to try to reason the Russian parliament and government and Russian public opinion out of it. The point could have been made that adoption is a private matter, that the number of Russian children abused by their US adoptive parents is microscopically small, that it is unfair on other intended US adopted parents to discriminate against them because of the bad behavior of a very few bad US adoptive parents and that the problems involving Russian children with the US authorities and with the US courts have hopefully been addressed by the agreement with the US State Department, which should be given a chance to work. It could also have been pointed out that the adoption ban sits uneasily with the rest of the Dima Yakovlev law, which is intended to hit out at US officials who violate the rights of Russian citizens and not at innocent US citizens who want to adopt Russian children.

All of these arguments have been lost by the hysterical and hyperbolic reaction to the adoption ban. Thus critics of the law have accused Russian legislators of cynically acting contrary to the interests of children, which unnecessarily offends those Russian legislators who may genuinely have thought that by supporting the adoption ban they were trying to protect Russian children. They have also all but said that Russia is incapable of looking after its own orphaned children, which must offend patriotically minded people generally. They have even come close to insinuating that Russian children are better off being brought up in the US than in Russia, which must offend patriotically minded people even more. For its part the US has behaved equally crassly by using the Magnitsky law to threaten Russian legislators in a matter that has nothing to do with either human rights or with Magnitsky and by apparently saying that the adoption ban violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is doubtful but which is also crass if it is true as I have heard that unlike Russia the US is one of the two or three countries which have not ratified it.

The totally predictable result is that the adoption ban has not only been overwhelmingly supported by the parliament and is now certain to become law but Russian public opinion has consolidated behind it.”

3. The law meets fierce population opposition within Russia. Here is what the Guardian writes:

But inside Russia the bill has been criticised by opposition figures as “cannibalistic”, with a petition against the act being signed by more than 100,000 people.

The Western media has spread the idea there is huge grassroots opposition to the Dima Yakovlev law. In addition there has been coverage of a petition floating around the White House to place Duma deputies who voted for the adoptions ban to be placed on the Magnitsky list as “human rights abusers” and denied entry to the US.

This image is however almost entirely false.

Laurie Penny hints at it in the Guardian:

Not all the adopted children thrived, as the populations “back home” are painfully aware. In 2008 Dima Yakovlev, a Russian toddler adopted by Americans, died after being left in a sweltering car for hours. His adopted parents were found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Russia’s new bill is named after Dima Yakovlev.

Max Fisher in the Washington Post spells it out clearly:

As it turns out, the ban on American adoptions is remarkably popular in Russia. A new Russian survey finds that 56 percent support the ban and 21 percent oppose, a ratio of almost three-to-one. The support seems to stem from a belief that American families are dangerous, cruel, and at times violent to their adoptive Russian children.

Here is the link to the FOM poll. What’s especially noticeable is that a majority of all major social groups support it: 44% of Prokhorov voters;  50% of young people; 48% of people with a higher education; etc.

If one believes that only the scum of the earth like Putin could write the Dima Yakovlev Law, then it would be incongruent not to extend the hatred towards ordinary Russians. La Russophobe is one of the few who gets points for consistency.

4. The Russian government was very enthusiastic about the Dima Yakovlev Law. No, it wasn’t. As Mercouris wrote above, it basically torpedoed months of negotiations with the Americans for Russian officials to get more information about the status of Russian orphans in the US. That is presumably why FM Lavrov was against it as were at least two other Ministers. It was the Duma taking the initiative.

In a further irony, I found an article at the Communist Party website that criticized United Russia for not supporting a similar law back in 2010.

NOTE: The following points are taken pretty much directly from the very разоблачительная article “Orphans Q&A” by gloriaputina.

5. Russia has an inordinately huge number of orphans. The number is 654,355 as of end-2011, however the vast majority are so-called “social orphans” (their parents have been found incapable of parenting). Furthermore, even if a social orphan is adopted, he still remains in the social orphan category. The analogous figure for the US is 3 MILLION.

Ironically, as argued by the blogger, there is an inverse correlation between the rate of orphans and children’s safety. Basically when the state makes children into orphans, the  numbers of deaths of children falls (presumably because they are taken away from violent and/or abusive parents). Now yes of course this is not positively good, sometimes there are ridiculous cases, but in Russia at least he is correct in that there is a correlation: As the numbers of parents who had children taken away climbed from 31,000 in 1995 to 53,000 in 2000 and 74,000 in 2008, overall child mortality has plummeted throughout the period (although of course other factors like better healthcare and less alcohol consumption would also play major roles).

Very few Russians abandon their children. They account for 1% of the total number of orphans, vs. 4% both of whose parents died, and 95% “social orphans”.

6. Russians don’t adopt, if there are no kind Americans to take up some of the slack, Russian orphans will be condemned to slow death in state orphanages.

It’s not so much a matter of Russians and Americans not adopting as few people anywhere being interested in adopting children over the age of three. Here is a graph.

In the above graph green represents adoption by Russian citizens, blue by foreign citizens, in 2009. In state orphanages, 90% of children are older than 11 years; 70-80% are older than 14 years. There is a waiting list for adopting children under the age of 3.

7. The majority of Russian orphans have to live in orphanages. Wrong, and this apparently has never been the case.

The yellow bars represent children who are transferred to foster parents (which I think is distinct from “adopted” as in the US), the blue bars represent the numbers of children who are housed in state institutions at any one year. The ratio between the two is steadily increasing and converging to the typical Western model, in which almost all children are taken in by foster parents.

7. Russians only adopt healthy children, while only kind foreigners take those with disabilities. Again, wrong.

30% of the children in the federal database are children with some registered physical disability; the vast majority of them are living with families, only 5% of their numbers live in child institutions.

Now since 1995 about 10% of Russian children adopted by both foreigners in general and Americans in particular were registered as having a disability. In 2011, the US adopted 44 children with disabilities, whereas Russians adopted 188 children with disabilities. In 2009-2011 more than 20,000 orphaned (0-6 age range) children left Russia, whereas as of January 2012, the waiting list for them in Russia was 12,900 long.

8. Russia is alone in being a nasty country that (now) bans American adoptions of children.



In any case adoptions from Russia had been dropping rapidly since 2004 anyway, constituting less than 1,000 by 2011.

There are in fact quite a number of countries that make foreign adoptions very difficult stopping short of outright bans including many in the ECE area. Russia’s ban is the only one the Western media decides to politicize however (although in fairness it’s a two way street given the absurd association on Russia’s part to portray it as a response to the Magnitsky Act).

9. I think that the Dima Yakovlev Law is a good idea. No, I don’t, I’m just clearing up major misconceptions in this post. While there may be valid grounds to much more stringently regulate foreign adoptions (e.g. ensuring all Russians wishing to adopt have the chance to, and ensure children don’t fall into the hands of pimps/organ traders/etc), the decision to only target Americans and to present it as a response to the Magnitsky Act is crude and idiotic, and just one of the many examples of the Russian government shooting itself in the foot PR-wise.


  1. “to present it as a response to the Magnitsky Act is crude and idiotic, and just one of the many examples of the Russian government shooting itself in the foot PR-wise.”

    I agree…unless this is only a first step by the Russian state. It does have the effect of forcing the American media out of the closet. Obama is a gangster now…the Magnitsky Act is the start of the sanctions war. Putin went and joined the WTO…if 60+ countries succumb to the loyalty litmus test and Obama ratchets up the pressure?…lacking countermeasures maybe Russia suffers slow economic death by soft power strangulation. Putin is the new Milosevic and looks like now they’re coming to deal with him.

  2. Dear Anatoly,

    This is an altogether excellent article.

    I agree with your assessment of the Dima Yakovlev law. I think it began as a well calibrated law but the adoption ban is wrong and a mistake. That in no way excuses the sort of misinformation we have just seen. Taking an official survey from 2005 that gives a number for the number of orphans who have been ill treated and reporting that number as if it was the number of orphans who have been killed is simply wrong. Incidentally, since conditions in Russia have improved very considerably since 2005 I would not be surprised if the number of ill treated orphans is lower now.

    There are three points I want to make about this:

    1. The liberals for once had a good case to make against the adoption ban. Instead they chose to make a bad case. It seems that the habit of falsifying statistics and of saying “US good/Russia bad” has now become compulsive so that they don’t know how to argue in any other way. The reality in many cases is that they care nothing for orphans but seized on this issue to try to score points off Putin and the Russian goverrnment.

    2. In spite of the campaign against it a clear majority of Russians support the adoption ban. As I said in my comment which you kindly reproduced, given the stupid way the adoption ban was opposed it was all but inevitable that Russian public opinion would consolidate behind it. Given how unpopular the liberals are (and make themselves) one wonders if a further factor in consolidating public opinion behind the adoption ban is that the liberals oppose it.

    3. The Russian government or to be more precise United Russia should have set out the truth about the figures in the 2005 survey itself rather than rely on the hard work of people like you. When Latynina said that her figures came from “official statistics” that should have immediately raised alarm bells. If United Russia was functioning properly like a proper political party it would have an information department able to research and rebut this sorf of thing. It is the absence of such a department that in my opinion explains many of its problems.

    • Hate to maintain the echo chamber/mutual admiration society, but I can honestly say I agree with everything you say here too.

      • Thank you for the kind words Anatoly.

        I notice by the way that the Max Fisher article in the Washington Post also (surely innocently) reproduces the wrong fact about the 1,220 children who have supposedly died in Russia, the source in this case being an article in the Moscow News. Truly this is one case where one can definitely say that the lie has travelled half way round the world before the truth has put its boots on.

  3. I think that the Dima Yakovlev Law is mistake.
    Not because its bad PR, but because there is a possibility that just ONE child will lose mom and dad.
    All the hype for or against this law is “not worth a single tear of a child”.

    • … but because there is a possibility that just ONE child will lose mom and dad.

      That is impossible by definition.

  4. Excellent analysis, Anatoly, and likely to become a go-to reference. It’s amazing what a different complexion research puts on the situation, isn’t it? Quite a lot of people are just pulling figures from their ass, and as Alex pointed out, this is assisted by the general awfulness of the Russian government’s keeping track of things, at least in this particular case. II predict it will tighten up significantly, and right away.

    I could be wrong, but it was my impression that it was the U.S. government that ceased adoptions from Guatemala, rather than the Guatemalan government, because the situation was getting out of hand and unscrupulous “businessmen” were setting up “baby farms” with kidnapped teenage girls and young mothers were being knocked down in the street and their babies taken, because they were worth thousands. In the case of Romania I think it might have been the Romanian government. Anyway, whichever way it was, at one point Americans were adopting one out of every hundred Guatemalan children born.

    It’s also worth mentioning that a measure, introduced as a result of the 7-year-old Russian boy who was put on a plane unaccompanied and sent back to Russia in 2010 by his adoptive American mother, now mandates that there must be a 6-month search for adoptive parents within Russia before international adoption is permitted. Well, was, before the total ban altogether.

    I support the adoption ban, however cruel it might be, because – as you correctly point out – the Russian children who were to have gone to Americans will not necessarily be sentenced to hell in an orphanage. They are likely from the desirable group, meaning less than three years old, and Russia had to do something that would hurt. It would reflect badly on Russia in the press anyway, and if it’s that Russians are cruel savages, it’s better than laughing at Russia for saying, “Oh yeah? Well, now YOU can’t travel to Russia, and we’ll freeze YOUR investments in Russia”, which was, as soon as the possibility was mentioned, the subject of much mirth and wisecracks in the English-speaking press. I’ve seen it suggested elsewhere that Americans have gotten used to the idea that nothing on the earth is denied to them, and that restrictions are for others. I would, however, have let adoptions which were already in progress proceed to completion.

    As far as sanctimonious pap about “if even one child is hurt by it, it’s unacceptable” goes, I refer the peddlers of it to former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and her response to an interviewer that U.S. sanctions in Iraq had been credited for the premature deaths of a half-million children, more than the number of children killed by the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. She replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it”. There’s how “pragmatic” official America can be about the needless deaths of children when they serve its foreign-policy objectives. Madeline Albright, as SecState, helped formulate and enforce the policies that killed a half-million children.

    • One of the cases reported in the US media was a tragic one involving a 5 year old girl with spina bifida, paralyzed from the waist down, who was weeks away from joining an American family. It is indeed cruel to force her to remain in her orphanage. She personally may now be adopted by someone in Russia due to the media scrutiny but I suspect there are a few more like her.

      Western misreporting and lies about Russian orphan mortality doesn’t make this law any better or less cruel, and nor does Albright’s justification of Iraq sanctions (so it’s okay to cause suffering for Russian orphans because of what the Clinton administration did to Iraqi children? Really?).

      • “ it’s okay to cause suffering for Russian orphans because of what the Clinton administration did to Iraqi children? Really?”

        That’s a bit of a leap, don’t you think? I don’t think I ever endorsed the law as being okay to cause suffering to anyone. I said that chestnut about “if even one child is hurt by it, it’s unacceptable” is sanctimonious pap, and it is. The continued damage to the country by allowing the USA to push its face in the dirt, overall, would result in far more suffering for far more children. What’s the alternative? What would be a “good law” that Russia could write that would not just make Americans fall about the place laughing, the way they did when it was reported that Russia would retaliate by sanctioning America? What could Russia possibly deny to Americans that they actually want? The privilege of visiting Russia? Ha, ha. But Americans don’t like this. And it isn’t because it’s cruel. It’s because Americans don’t like to be told there’s something they can’t have that other people can, because they did something to screw it up.

        I can show you many examples – much more current, if you like – of how the USA does not make foreign policy based on its potential harm to children, or ask itself, “Could even one child be hurt by this?” when deciding whether or not to interfere in the sovereign affairs of another country. Moreover, the American people appear to be not bothered by this methodology, at all. Why is Russia always expected to “be the bigger person” and worry about fallout? The USA, it should be said, could immediately put the brakes on the adoption ban by repealing the Magnitsky Act, which it adopted upon prompting from an American-born individual who renounced his U.S. citizenship and is currently a British citizen, William Browder. And he has his own reasons for wanting to punish Russia. I can promise you innocent children do not figure anywhere among them.

  5. Ildar Adi says:

    Well, according to official Russian statistics:

    it seems rather that 1220 deaths in 15 years is somewhat underestimate. Truly horrible.

    • Kehmalize says:

      Why do you say that is official Russian statistics? Besides, all it says that 181 kids died in 2011. It means nothing.

      • Kehmalize says:

        I don’t mean that kids death means nothing. I meant that number this number of dead kids per year 181, if true, is piss in ocean.

    • It appears to be correct. This would adopted children in Russia have 4x the background death rate of children. So 1220 deaths in 5 years during 1999-2004 may well be true then.

      That however does not change the fundamental point. The figure of 19 children dead in the US (by the fault of their own adopted parents, whereas the 181 is only those who “died” – not only at the hands of their adopted parents, but also other murders, car accidents, suicides, fires, etc.), plus the fact that tracking of adoptees in the US from the Russian side pretty much ceases after the first 3 years of adoptions, means that the figures are still completely incomparable.

      • This can not be true. It’s a lie. in America for 10 years, killed 19 children. In Russia in foster care killed 14 children. Americans adopted in Russia 60,000 orphans. 350,000 Russian orphans adopted. so Americans are killed Russian orphans more (much more) U.S. court systematically justifies the killers and sadists. Americans should forget about Russian children. and do not forget to remember because it is an American shame and unjustified cruelty. America does not like and does not protect Russian orphans. You must adopt American orphans. in the United States more than 500,000 orphans. More than 150,000 American orphans are waiting for adoptive parents. GOOD LUCK!

  6. It’s interesting to read the perspective of a “traditionalist” (i.e. cultural conservative) American blogger on this law. She supports it:

    • “The effects of this legislation are cruel and malicious. To punish innocent babies and children over a political disagreement between our governments is a new low, even for Putin’s Russia.”

      Yes, that’s John “Grampy Turtle-Neck” McCain, pontificating on his personal moral beliefs vis-a-vis innocent babies being punished over a political disagreement between the U.S. government and that of another country. John McCain, one-time fighter pilot engaged in a war with Vietnam, a war that killed many children in a land which had not attacked the United States, but could be said to be involved in a “political disagreement”. John McCain, who voted against the DREAM Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. John McCain, who voted against the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, and to HR 976 before it, which would extend health insurance coverage to 9 million currently uninsured American children. John McCain, who voted to cut nearly $40 Billion from the federal budget which would come from cuts to welfare, child support and youth lending programs. Who voted to impose tighter sanctions on Iran, a country which has no quarrel with the United States and which has not been shown to be producing any nuclear material in violation of established treaties; sanctions which will surely harm innocent babies. Who voted against the Gillibrand Amendment, which would provide for treatment of autism under the TRICARE Act. Who voted against S3412, a bill to provide tax relief to middle-class American families. Who voted to prohibit assistance to North Korea under title ll of the Food for Peace Act. And on and on and on. Example after example that John McCain actually makes decisions on almost a weekly basis whose effects will cause harm to innocent children.

      John McCain, who famously could not keep track of how many houses he owns, and who – as a candidate for President of the United States, got almost half of the American electorate to vote for him.

      Uh huh.

  7. Great stuff and great research. The irony is that potentially a lot of Russian orphans lost a chance to be adopted by American parents simply because Russia (rightly or wrongly) made the process more difficult over the years (this is my understanding of the fall in the number of adoption from 6000 in early 2000s to a mere 1000 last year). So the tears shed now over kids who won’t go to America should have been shed over the years when the numbers of American adoptions dropped so drastically.
    At the same time, although I think I understand rationale behind this law (insistence on protecting own citizens) I personally despise it and absolutely agree that this is a complete PR disaster that could easily be avoided. Shows the incompetence and lack of imagination on the part of the authorities.

  8. Christopher says:

    Dear Anatoly.

    Thank you for the article. It was informative. (I found it via Sailer.)

    My wife and I are in the middle of the process of adopting a Russian girl.

    Since I have been have recently been in a Russian orphanage and have read as much as I can on the topic, I thought I might share a little anecdata and answer any questions that anyone might have. (I freely own my ignorance. Some months of reading aren’t going to make me an expert, but I know more than some.)

    * The girl we are in the process of adopting has a medical condition which, as best I can tell by reading and talking to Russians, makes her unlikely to be adopted in Russia (especially when coupled with her age). According to (US) physicians we have consulted, it does not appear that her course of treatment is going as well as it could, but we have very limited data overall on that front at this point.

    * She is over the age of four.

    * The orphanage is in decent condition. She looked well fed, the facility was clean if spartan, and the staff seemed friendly, competent, and compassionate toward the children (as much as they could be given the demand on their time). That said, caretakers were few and children were many. The caretakers seemed fond of the girl and were eager (it seemed to me) to see her adopted before she is “graduated” to a more “hostile” orphanage for older children.

    * She is clearly both active and bright and at the same time developmentally delayed. The developmental delay is apparently nearly universal with orphanage children and is easily reversed on adoption. She couldn’t count in Russian but picked up “1 2 3” in English quickly.

    * She was abandoned and legally repudiated by all of her known living relatives. She had never been visited before we arrived. Her mother is still alive. The father is unknown.

    * We didn’t go looking for a Russian child. We went looking for a child with disabilities and found her in Russia.

    So, that said, I’d be happy to answer any questions (if any) you have about our experiences.

    Please understand that I won’t be giving any medical or any other personally identifiable information about the girl.

    Additionally, I’ll likely decline to discuss the politics of the case, aside from observing that instituting policies which have the effect of trampling the downtrodden is simply what governments do.

    If you’ve read this far thanks for your time.

    • Dear John,

      I can only speak for myself and say that I am grateful to you for your dignified comment.

      In response the best I think I can do is refer you to my comment which Anatoly kindly quoted in the body of his post

      “The point could have been made that adoption is a private matter, that the number of Russian children abused by their US adoptive parents is microscopically small, that it is unfair on other US adopted parents to discriminate against them because of the bad behaviour of a very few US adoptive parents and that the problems involving Russian children with the US authorities and with the US courts have hopefully been addressed by the agreement with the US State Department, which should be given a chance to work”.

      That sums up my view of the adoption ban that I have made clear both here and elsewhere..

  9. John Newcomb says:

    A comment on RIA Novosti’s facebook page posting yesterday about blind Russian letter-writer Natalya Pisarenko’s opposition to the anti-US-adoption bill didn’t weigh in with too many facts, and the commenter simply wrote:

    “We could send her to the family that previously adopted Dima Yakovlev…”

    Rather than suggesting a painful death as a response to that RIAN story of a blind Russian child, maybe the commenter could just have provided a link to your fact-filled posting?

  10. John Newcomb says:

    Russian deputy PM Golodets seems to be defining the issue in economic terms (link below), saying its a problem of orphan “over-supply and under-demand” in Russian orphan market and orphan supply now growing rapidly.

    Does she suggest that “quality” of orphan stock deteriorating as Russian orphan “product” ages, and less appealing product (sick orphans) won’t be appealing to potential Russian families?

    By re-opening orphan market to Americans, maybe the market can be cleared slightly faster as product moves out?

  11. While there are plenty of myths out there, and the comment about Russian orphans being 39x more likely to die in Russia was exaggerated, I find your post to create as many myths as it dispels. Your mention of Romania is misleading. They banned ALL foreign adoptions, not just adoptions by Americans. Furthermore, Russians do not commonly adopt. Based on the graph that you are using, Russians adopted a total of 7,802 children in 2009 and Americans adopted a total of 3,355 Russian children. Americans may not adopt MORE Russian children than Russians do anymore, but that doesn’t mean that Russians don’t have a low adoption rate. You are comparing Russian domestic adoption rates to US adoption rates of Russians. If you compared Russian domestic adoption rates to US domestic adoption rates you would realize that Russia does not have a high rate of adoptions.