Just saw this on the Russian News & Information Agency. The most interesting figure for me is that of the 120,000 orphans adopted 115,700 were adopted within Russia, a 14.5% increase from the previous year! That is very good news, though I wonder how many orphans are left unadopted each year.
MOSCOW, February 29 (RIA Novosti) – Some 120,000 Russian orphans
were adopted both in Russia and abroad in 2007, a 6.4% increase from
2006, an official with Russia’s Science and Education Ministry said on
“A significant growth in the amount of children
adopted was seen in more than 40% of Russian regions,” said Alina
Levitskaya, the director of the ministry’s department for education,
higher education and social protection.
The official added,
however, that number of foreigners adopting Russian children had almost
halved. The number of people in Russia adopting children saw a 14.5%
growth from 2006, however. Only 4,300 Russian orphans were adopted by foreigners last year.
Russia’s authorities have been seeking tighter control over foreign
adoptions following several high-profile scandals involving Russian
orphans abroad, notably the killing of a 2-year-old girl from Siberia
by her adoptive mother in the United States. The woman, Peggy Sue Hilt,
was sentenced to 25 years in prison in May 2006 after a court in North
Carolina convicted her on second-degree murder charges. In an
effort to protect Russian children eligible for adoption, the
government then moved to ban foreigners from adopting children except
for via officially registered agencies.
Much as I would love to believe this number, I can’t. The United States, which has accounted for the bulk of adoptions from Russia since 1991, had just 2,305 adoptions in 2007. That was down from 3,706 in 2006 and 5,865 in 2004, the year in which there were the most adoptions of Russian children by Americans.
Adoptions of Russian children by Russians have, historically, been well below that of adoptions by Americans. Based on some statistics I saw mid-year, the family growth incentives Russia enacted in January 2007 seemed to be encouraging adoptions, but not by any amount that would add up to 115,700. And with American adoptions at 2,305, these statistics want us to believe that nearly 2,000 children were adopted by other countries, even though those countries–such as Germany, Italy, France, the U.K. and Spain–were just as affected by the accreditation slowdown as the U.S.
Believe me, I would love to believe Ms. Levitskaya’s statistics. At the pace she indicates, all of Russia’s orphans would find forever families within the decade.