Casey to Russia: Small Concessions on Adoptions Aren’t Good Enough

Russia Announced Exception to Ban for Adoptions In Progress But Will Still Inflict Harm on PA Families, Innocent Children

In Letter to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Casey Renews Call for Full Reversal of Adoption Ban

Washington DC- In the wake of inadequate concessions by Russian on its U.S. adoption ban, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced, today, that he has sent a new letter to Russia renewing his call for a full repeal. In a letter to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, Casey called the country’s decision to let in-process adoption go forward ‘not good enough.’

“Russia’s inadequate concessions on its U.S. adoption ban are simply not good enough,” Casey said. “Russia’s policy will still have devastating consequences for Pennsylvania families and innocent children in Russia. It must be reversed.”

Recently the Russian government announced that will continue to honor the bilateral agreement on international adoptions that took effect on November 1, 2012 and will allow adoptions that have received court approval to be finalized. However this measure is not enough. The decision to allow the completion of adoptions only includes adoptions that had already been approved by a court.  As court approval is one of the final steps in the adoption process, not all families would have reached this point. However, by this stage, many families will have already bonded with their child and adoption agencies would also be preparing the child for a life with their new family.

In his letter Casey argued that in accordance with the bilateral adoption agreement and out of humanitarian concern, all adoptions that had been initiated must be allowed to be completed.

The full text of Casey’s letter to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister is below:

January 11, 2013

Dear Deputy Minister Karasin:

I am writing express my opposition to the adoption of the law “On Measures of Coercion on Persons, Involved in the Violation of the Rights of Russian Citizens.” I remain gravely concerned about this action, which permanently bans adoptions of Russian children by American families. I respectfully reiterate my request that the Russian government reverse this damaging legislation, which will adversely affect Russian children in need and bilateral relations between our countries.

I understand that the Russian government will continue to honor the bilateral agreement on international adoptions that took effect on November 1, 2012 and will allow adoptions that have received court approval to be finalized. However, this measure is not enough. The decision to allow the completion of adoptions only includes adoptions that had already been approved by a court.  As court approval is one of the final steps in the adoption process, not all families would have reached this point. However, by this stage, many families will have already bonded with their child and adoption agencies would also be preparing the child for a life with their new family. In accordance with the bilateral adoption agreement and out of humanitarian concern, all adoptions that had been initiated must be allowed to be completed.

Approximately 500 to 1,000 families in the United States have been affected by this ban.  Many families from my home state of Pennsylvania have adopted Russian children and multiple Pennsylvanians are currently in the process of completing adoptions. These families have consistently demonstrated their commitment to their adoptive children, traveling to Russia multiple times at significant expense and putting their lives on hold as they await the conclusion of the adoption process. It is extremely disappointing that children are caught in the middle of an unrelated political issue between our two countries.

I hope that we can work together to ensure that U.S. families already in the process of adopting a child from Russia can complete their adoption. I also continue to urge the Russian government to reconsider this ban so that more children can join loving and welcoming families.

Thank you for your attention to this very important issue.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

Press Contact

April Mellody 202-228-6367