Parents of Russian Orphans in 'Holding Pattern' After Adoption Ban

Americans who were in the process of adopting Russian orphans are waiting to see if their adoptions will be allowed after the Russian government last week banned all adoptions from the United States.

"We are in a holding pattern," Teri Froman told The Christian Post Friday.

Froman and her husband, Ryan, had already begun the process of adopting their second child from Russia when they heard the news of the adoption ban. They received news from the State Department on Thursday that there would be no new information until after Jan. 9 due to Russian holidays.

The Fromans brought home their first adopted child, Maxim (2), from Russia on Christmas Eve 2011. They were hoping to adopt his sister from the same country and began the process in July 2012.

The Fromans were not yet matched with a child but are far along in the process. There are 46 American families who have adopted Russian orphans but they had not brought their children home when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the ban into law.

Those 46 families are going through a difficult time, Froman explained. To them, the children they adopted are no longer orphans but their children.

"Those 46 families have attached to those children and they are their own," Froman said. "They consider them their children. If they don't get to bring them home, it's going to be pretty devastating, not only to them, but to the children."

Before the Russian adoption ban was passed, the United States and Russia both signed an inter-country adoption agreement. The agreement addressed some Russian concerns and was aimed at making sure that adoptive families in the United States are prepared to adopt Russian children.

The agreement also stipulates that if Russia does ban adoptions there will be a one-year transition period for the adoptions that are already being processed. Americans families like the Fromans are, therefore, waiting to see if the Russian government will abide by that agreement. Froman does not know at this point, though, which families, if any, would be allowed to complete their adoption.

There had been talk of a Russian adoption ban for some time after some incidents that raised concerns. In 2010, a Tennessee woman sent her adopted 7-year-old child back to Russia on a plane unsupervised, and there have been cases in which adopted Russian orphans were abused by their adoptive parents.

In a blog post for The Christian Post, Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, argued that the few cases in which Russian orphans received poor treatment by Americans should not be used to justify banning all adoptions.

"Such tragic cases should be taken seriously as reminders of the need for robust pre-adoption preparation and post-adoption support. But as justification for the new Russian policy, they are entirely disingenuous. In fact, known cases with such tragic endings constitute roughly 1-per-3000 of Russian adoptions in the past dozen years. Meanwhile, I'd easily estimate that tragic endings face 1 in every 2 Russian orphans who isn't adopted," Medefind wrote.

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