Between the RF and the USA Regarding Cooperation in Adoption of Children
On July 13 the AGREEMENT was signed in Washington by the
appropriate authorities from both countries. The text of the AGREEMENT
can be found on our site at http://www.adoptionarticlesdirectory.com/agreement.htm.
There was a lot of speculation and even direct misrepresentation
in the press and on the Internet of what is going to happen according
to this AGREEMENT, so I would like to comment on several important points
which are and are not in the AGREEMENT.
According to ARTICLE 4, all adoptions are to be conducted
from now on only through the adoption agencies licensed by the Russian
government: no so-called "independent" adoptions are permitted.
This is a very positive step because a lot of corruption and abuse was
associated with the "freelance adoption facilitators".
ARTICLE 5 confirms and details the process of post-adoption
reporting about the "living conditions and upbringing of
the adopted child, which contain reliable information about his or her
psychological and physical development and adaptation to his or her
new family and social environments in the period after the adoption
and other information about the adopted child, in accordance with the
domestic laws of the Country of Origin."
I think that ARTICLE 10 of the AGREEMENT is exceptionally
important. It clearly states that the donor country must provide the
appropriate social, developmental, medical and psycho-educational information
about the child considered for adoption, including:
- All available information on the social situation
of the child, and his or her medical history, and also, if available,
all information about the social situation and health of all the child's
family members (the Country of Origin shall take all possible measures
to ensure access to such information);"
- A description of any special needs of the child
(defined as needs for accommodations, care or medical assistance related
to special or disabling physical, mental or emotional conditions);"
- A detailed medical conclusion about the child's
current state of health, including the results of a medical evaluation
conducted by independent experts, if such an evaluation has been conducted
at the initiative of the prospective adoptive parents;"
In plain English this means that now the adoptive parent
may request and demand, not beg for, all known information about the
prospective son or daughter. In practice, the adoption agencies ought
to create a list of mandatory documents to be obtained from the Russian
The same article spells out the requirements for adoptive
parents' preparedness: the prospective parents have to be able to confirm
that they "have received information and undergone all required
psycho-social preparation with the assistance of the Authorized Organization
or the Competent Authority
It is significant that nowhere in this AGREEMENT can one
find the request for psychological testing of adoptive parents. Indeed,
there is no such requirement, in spite of the active preliminary
discussions of introducing one. The AGREEMENT confirms that the only
legal document that verifies the "fit-to-adopt" status of
the prospective adoptive parents is the Home Study procedure. Vladimir
L. Kabanov, the Head of the Section of Orphan's Protection, Ministry
of Education and Science, Moscow, RF personally confirmed, by e-mail
and telephone conference, that no psychological testing of parents is
required by the Russian Authority. Thus, any psychological testing taking
place now is the initiative of local districts of the country of origin
or local American adoption agencies - an extra and unnecessary expense
for adoptive parents.
ARTICLE 14 of the AGREEMENT spells out the "dissolution"
procedure - disruption of the adoption and placement of the child with
another family or a return to the Country of Origin:
- With the goal of ensuring the protection of the
rights and best interests of the child and creating favorable conditions
for his or her harmonious development following the dissolution of
an adoption, in the Receiving Country measures are taken to place
the child with another family that is appropriate for adopting this
- In the event that the Executive Bodies of the
Parties become aware that in the best interests of the child it is
essential to provide for the return of the child to the Country of
Origin, the Executive Bodies of the Parties shall consult regarding
such return and reimbursement of expenses associated therewith".
Now the Russian authorities will be closely involved
with this process from the early stages. In general, the AGREEMENT is
certainly a positive step on the way to finding orphaned children the
right home in America.
B. Gindis, Ph.D.