Why? Because for years it has been a dream of mine to adopt from Russia. I've wanted to do this for many reasons. I've thought about how great it would be to adopt a sibling group. First, I have a strong interest in Russian history and I was told once that if you ever adopt that you should adopt from a place that you have a strong interest in so that way you can share that culture with the child for all of his or her life. Also, in Russia children are still placed in mass orphanages. These children, some of them instiutionalized since birth, don't ever have the opportunity to experience what family life is like. The foster care system is far less developed there. I know the US has its own problems, we have many foster care issues, children who need to be adopted...I'm aware of this and did an internship for a year as a child advocate (legally representing the interests of foster children) while I was in law school. Still, I've always had an interest in adopting from Russia.
Sure, the ban may not last. By the time I'm ready, married and wanting children, I could adopt. Or I could pursue other countries because there are millions of children in this world that need homes. But, still today I am sad. I'm sad for all the families who began the adoption process that have now been told that they will not be getting the child they dreamed of. My heart breaks for those children who were going to be able to leave the orphanage life, but now must wait again. It is sad that the children and good families will suffer when they have done nothing wrong.
I went to Russia in 2006. I worked in an orphange in Yaroslavl, Russia. My senior thesis in college I wrote about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the orphanage system structure and policies in Russia. I've seen first hand what life is like in an orphanage. I met so many wonderful children and the people who cared for them, who truly cared for them. I fell in love with them. I would have taken them all home if I could. When you meet the children your perspective changes. Statistics now have faces. I still think about them all the time. I wonder what has happened to them. I dreamed of going back to a Russian orphanage and giving some children a home someday. Who knows now. Tonight my thoughts are with all those children and families.
Here are some of the wonderful children I had the honor of meeting. These children, and many more, really changed my life.