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Russian Adoption Changes


Updated: December 28, 2012

Russia has historically been within the top three countries for popularity among American adoptive families along with China and Guatemala. In 2006, Americans adopted 3,706 Russian children. Russia is not the only country changing it's international adoption policies. China's new stricter guidelines took effect May 1, 2007 and Guatemala is working to comply with the Hague Convention on Inter country Adoptions..

Current Status

Russia and the US have worked over the past two years to create reforms to better protect adopted children from violence, abuse, neglect, and even death. The Bilateral Adoption Agreement was signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and went into effect on Nov. 1. The agreement required the use of accredited agencies for adoptions, up to 80 hours of required training for adoptive parents and post adoption monitoring of children by Russian officials.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the Dima Yakovlev Bill into law on December 28, 2012. The Dima Yakovlev Bill not only bans entry to US citizens who may have committed crimes against Russians abroad, but it also bans US citizens from adopting Russian orphans.

Many believe that the Dima Yakovlev Bill was in retaliation to the US's Magnitsky Act.

The Dima Yakovlev Law should take effect January 1, 2013.


In 2005, Russian adoptions by American parents slowed by a third. This is reportedly due to the battle between child care agencies and politicians, which has come to a head after the recent deaths of Russian children who have been murdered by their foreign adoptive parents. Since 1990, when Russian adoptions were made open to foreigners, 19 Russian children have been murdered by US adoptive parents. The Education Ministry, which oversees the adoption of Russian children by foreigners, has been heavily scrutinized by the State Duma(lower house of the Federal Assembly, the parliament of the Russian Federation) after the mistreatment, abuse, and murder of Russian children by U.S. adoptive parents. The State Duma has accused the Education Ministry of being corrupt and making money off of the sale of Russian children. Russian adoptions and the Russian adoption process has been under investigation more than once.

Some reports estimate 700,000 children wait to be adopted in Russia.

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