Immigration Section
April 2014 Issue
Content is updated daily

Russian Adoption Ban Drives International Trend To 15-Year Low

With international adoptions by Americans already experiencing a sharp downward trend in recent years, the waning figures are likely to drop even further with a new law passed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The law, which bans the adoption of Russian children by Americans, was announced only months after the signing of a bilateral adoption agreement made between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

According to the Associated Press, the number of international adoptions into the U.S. has dropped to its lowest point in 15 years. In all international adoption cases, proper notarization of supplementary documents can prove critical to ensuring successful adoptions.

The U.S. State Department reports that American couples adopted 45,112 children from Russia between 1999 and 2011, second only to China. However, after peaking across the board in 2005, the number of international adoptions began tapering off shortly thereafter. Adoptions have continued to decrease from several of the formerly prominent source nations, including Russia, China, Guatemala and South Korea, and the new Russian law is expected to impact hundreds of American families looking to adopt Russian children.

A struggling world economy, increased regulations designed to prevent adoption-related misconduct, and increased efforts by nations to promote domestic adoptions over international adoptions, have all been cited as potential causes for the drop in adoption figures. In the case of Russia, the cause may also be political, as Russian leaders retaliate against a law passed by President Obama in December placing U.S. travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia.

Key Points:

  • International adoptions are declining.
  • Russia’s recent ban on U.S. adoptions is likely to further impact the decline in international adoptions.
  • The move by Russia to ban American adoptions could be a political one, as retaliation for new laws placing restrictions on Russian human rights abusers.
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