With the passing of the Dima Yakovlev law many Russians are debating the issue of adoptions and sadly another rift, albeit small has appeared in Russian society due to America’s actions. What is being lost in the debate here in Russia as sides point fingers at each other, namely the Western backed “opposition” who come out on every occasion to belittle any decision are action that protects Russia’s sovereignty and those who are interested in the well being of Russian children, is the real reason for the Dima Yakovlev law: the deaths and murders of Russian adoptees at the hands of their American foster parents.
Many have said the law was in answer to the U.S. Magnitsky Act, however this is far from the case. The real reason was the continued abuse of Russian adoptees by American adoptive parents and the obfuscation and interference by the US authorities in granting Russian Officials access to Russian adoptees in order to check their well-being. It is important to recall that all Russian adoptees are Russian citizens until their 18th birthday and Russia is simply seeking to protect the rights of its smallest and most defenseless citizens.
Why Americans adopt foreign children
To start off I think it is important to look at why Americans want to adopt Russian children in the first place. One reason is because they did not have to go through the extensive background checks and even the US checks that exist are more lenient when it comes foreign adoptions.
Another and perhaps more significant reason is the simple fact that most American adoptive parents are white and many openly state of their dream to have a blonde blue-eyed white child, problematic in the US where parents may have only children from other race groups to choose from or where the competition for the child of their choice is too great or the wait could take years.
“Parents” such as these are not interested in charity or providing a child with a good life but are in reality simply engaged in the act of “buying goods” to fulfill whatever motivations they have for pursuing the “purchase” in the first place.
The argument they may use that a white child is easier to integrate into a white family may seem valid on the surface but true familial harmony has nothing to do with racial make-up, unless you are a racist of course.
For adoptions agencies and child “brokers” engaged in the business of selling and buying children for their clients, having a source of cheap white children was a “God-send”. Like anything where there is a demand there is always someone ready to capitalize on that demand and fill it, and for them Russia was ideal.
One “Christian” organization in Russia openly states that the cost of a Russian child was $5,000, almost nothing when Americans are ready to pay from $35,000 to $120,000 for a white blue-eyed child. The profits to be had are huge.
Of course it is distasteful to call the process what it is; “the buying and selling of children”, especially for the parents, so the agencies and those involved have to come up with mountains of supportive arguments and self-satisfying reasoning to make their business palatable to the world at large.
The constant propaganda against Russia and the “deplorable conditions in Russian orphanages”, etc etc ad-nauseum by people who have never set foot in a Russian orphanage or even in the Russian Federation is necessary to assist them in selling their product and placating the consciences of people who are uprooting a child from the child’s natural surrounding and attempting to recreate the child in whatever image they desire on the other side of the planet.
Another reason Americans seek to adopt children from overseas is the fear that the birth mother may show up and “interfere” in the upbringing of the child or take the child away altogether, something which may happen in the US if for example; a mother had her child taken away due to substance abuse issues and has since reformed her behavior.
All of these reasons; the long waiting lists, the stricter internal US controls, the fact that the birth mother may show up at any moment, the fact that the child itself may seek out its mother or father, make adopting children from a foreign country attractive to Americans. There are also issues with parents who may have an affinity for a country or possess imperialistic sentiments assuaged by the fact that they “possess” a person from a certain country and can make them “American”.
Another fact that few pay attention to but is also important is the tax breaks that Americans may receive for adopting foreign children, there is the primary tax break for having a dependent child (applicable to all adoptions) and then tax breaks for foreign travel and “charitable contributions” if the adoption is done for example through a “Christian” organization. Again, from a “business” viewpoint a very sound “investment”, and from an oversight viewpoint such organizations enjoy almost no oversight by the authorities.
Unfortunately no serious studies on the subject have been done and data is extremely difficult to find as to the primary driving motivations so what you have just read are the results of my own research on the matter at hand.
Adoptions and adoptees in the US
Most of the information about adoptions in the US is almost impossible to find and even the number of actual children eligible for adoption is a fact that is not available to the public. As an example; in one state an adoptive parent, who went through all of the steps to be allowed to adopt a child and was finally allowed to “choose” a child, was shocked to learn that apart from the 30 children she was at first told were available, there were in fact more than 500 more in her state.
According to official data; in the US the figures regarding international as opposed to internal adoptions stands at roughly 20% international and 40% from the foster care system and 40% from private adoptions.
Currently there are officially about 129,000 children in the US in the foster care system ready for adoption and the number from private adoptions may be far greater bringing the number of children in the US waiting to be adopted to what could be close to half a million or more, this does not include children who the states are waiting to take parental rights away from.
The US does not officially list children as being eligible for adoption until the parents have lost all parental rights and states intentionally refrain from taking this final step until there are adoptive parents, making the number of children eligible for adoption but not on official lists possibly ten times greater.
Child homicide and abuse in the US: stats and figures
In 2008, a year I was able to find data on, there were approximately 1,494 child homicides in the United States. Of those killed 1,035 were male, while 453 were female, these figures are more or less average with reports seeing an increase in the past few years.
Indeed, even the 19 Russian-born children who died while in the care of their adoptive parents are a tiny minority of the 60,000 Russian children who have been adopted in the United States since 1991. Using this number, the death rate of Russian adoptees is 1.5 per 100,000 per year. By comparison, the general child fatality rate due to neglect and abuse has hovered around 2.2 deaths per 100,000 children per year over the past few years in the US. One might argue from the facts that Americans kill more of their own children than Russian children, but the point is moot when even one death is unacceptable.
Some more figures: in the US in 2011 an estimated 1,570 children died of abuse and neglect, making the numbers: 2.1 per 100,000, and in the past 6 years the number has fluctuated between a high of 1,608 in 2007 and a low of 1,494 in 2008.
By age the number of children killed in the US is disproportionately high when it comes to children under 3. In 2011: 98 3-year-olds were murdered, 166 2-year-olds, 229 1-year-olds and 534 children under the age of one were murdered by their caregivers, making almost 82% of all murdered children in America under the age of 4.
According to US Government statistics for 2011 the race of parents who murdered their children is as follows: 490 children were killed by white parents (40.5%), 341 by black parents (28.2%) and 215 by Hispanic parents (17.8%), figures from which any number of conclusions could be reached.
The figures for those killed by neglect stand at 895 deaths (71.1%), from abuse 602 dead (47.9%) with the rest dying from other causes.
An argument in defense of adoptive parents might be had from the fact that there were 617,858 cases of abuse reported by parents in 2011 and by adoptive parents only 5,108. This could be attributed to the fact that adoptive parents are generally better educated and more well-off than the majority of the population.
How do Americans abuse their children? According to US Government figures for 2011 61% of parents abusing their children were guilty of neglect, 9.7% physically abused their children and a whopping 6.2% sexually abused their own children or those in their care.
Crime and Punishment
Sadly, in a country where rapists get an average of 65 months in prison before they are prowling the streets again (according to figures by the FBI), hackers get approximately 10 years for DDoS attacks, and anyone the state deems a “terrorist” can be disappeared for life, parents who murder their own children, and in particular those who murder Russian orphans, get away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist if they are repentant.
The United States has long ago lost its self-perceived position as the world’s moral compass for many reasons, one being the situation surrounding adopted children, others being all of the war crimes, aggressive wars, droning, torture and human rights violations that have existed and come to light since 9-11.
Yet another no less important indicator is the Official US refusal to sign and comply with international treaties and norms including: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the Mine Ban Treaty, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
The US is the only country in the world, other than Somalia, that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely and rapidly ratified human rights treaty in history. As for the CEDAW, it is one of only seven countries including: Iran, Nauru, Palau, Somalia, Sudan and Tonga that has failed to ratify the convention.
One might argue that the US has ratified the Hague Conventions on International Adoptions, however there is no recourse for violations to the conventions and they are largely ignored.
Despite all of the above many Americans feel that, while dictating to the world what to do and meddling into the affairs of any nation they choose to, any “foreign” oversight or monitoring is somehow an attack on their sovereignty. Hence the obfuscation faced by Russian Officials when it comes to checking on the welfare of Russian adoptees.
As I said before: having lived in both Russia and the U.S. for decades I can honestly say that any Russian travelling to the U.S. would be shocked at the number of stories and cases of child abuse and atrocities against children that exist in the United States and that no one hears about in the filtered international U.S. media.
Societal violence, sexual deviation and the mentality of Americans in seeing every country in the world as being beneath their own contempt make it dangerous for children from other countries to be adopted by Americans. Predators see isolated foreign children as prime targets as they are defenseless and in most cases too afraid to fight back or speak out, which leads to an escalation of the violence against themselves.
For decades few people have understood the reality that in America it is not all milk and honey, yet Russians are beginning to wake up. The Russian Government in particular, with the expulsion of USAID, which was heavily involved in subverting the Russian state, and also in the whole children’s care sphere, has finally begun to take measures against the carefully planned and subtle encroachment on Russia’s sovereignty.
Russians must congratulate the government and President Putin for having the courage and foresight to take measures to protect the Russian Federation and the Russian people and most importantly protect Russia’s defenseless children who were being “sold” to America. Unfortunately after decades of pro-US propaganda many in Russia still believe the lies they have been fed and unfortunately do not know the real motives behind organizations such USAID.
With higher education almost out of reach for the majority of Americans the overall population is one of the worst educated in the world. The societal glorification of violence and force is exacerbated by lack of education, resulting in a situation where many see violence as the only solution, including when it comes to resolving issues with children.
America’s own problems concerning unwanted children are also not helped and possibly driven by the church and the whole anti-abortion craze which has caused millions of unwanted children that no one really cares about adopting.
Economic concerns and the breakdown down in the family, the primary societal unit, also have led to a situation where children are paying the price in America.
Despite all of this the US Media is continuously biased against Russia, and any other country in the world for that matter, and continues to perpetuate the myth that most Americans themselves refuse to part with, that America is the land of milk and honey and everywhere else is “third world”.
One of these myths is the argument by the Russian opposition that disabled Russian orphans have nowhere to go. According to the Pavel Astakhov, the Russian President’s Ombudsman on Children’s Rights, there are more Russian parents ready to adopt Russian orphans than there are children.
There are also hundreds of thousands of disabled American children for Americans to adopt and if there were really charitable motivations behind the actions of these adoptive parents, they would adopt their own disabled children first, but they don’t. Americans who want to adopt Russian children, as I said above, are not interested in charity, they are interested in obtaining a cheap white blue-eyed Russian baby.
I can not say there are no Americans who are driven by charity, there are some and they must be applauded, but they are few and generally they are overburdened and run group homes which attempt to deal with the needs of these special children in an environment where there is minimal support.
As for Russia and I can say this honestly and with the insight of an educator, the respect for children is much higher than in the U.S. and the level of crimes and cases of inhumane acts against children are so much lower as to almost be non-existent if one compares them to the U.S.
In the better part of two decades here there have been less than a dozen high profile cases of crimes against children and once again I cannot help but to compare that with the almost daily onslaught in the U.S. media of cases of child abuse, kidnappings, child murders and pedophilia.
Not only Russia
Russia is not the only country that has put a halt to American adoptions. One important source for children used by those in the child trade business was Guatemala. In 2008 it was the leading country providing children for Americans with 4,123 children being adopted by Americans. Several countries have also drastically cut back on the number of adoptions to America or increased the requirements on those wishing to adopt, these include: Ethiopia, Vietnam, South Korea and even China.
Since the ‘90s 19 Russian children have died at the hands of their American adopted parents.
1. Ivan Skorobogatov “Nathaniel Craver” aged 7, died August 25, 2009 after being taken off life support in Hershey Pennsylvania. The autopsy revealed Vanya suffered 80 external injuries, including 20 to the head and had been abused for an extended period of time. His killers Michael and Nannette Craver were released after time served.
2. Dmitry Yakovlev, “Chase Harrison” aged 21 months, died July 8, 2008 in Herndon, Virginia. Child was baked alive in the back of the car of adopted “father” Miles Harrison, who “forgot” the child and was acquitted of any wrongdoing in the murder of the infant. His killer was released.
3. Nickolai (Kolya ) Emelyantsev, 14-months-old, died on March 7, 2008 in Tooele Utah. He was murdered by his adoptive mother Kimberly Emelyantsev, he died of a fractured skull after being repeatedly bashed on a concrete floor and had cuts and bruises to over 90% percent of his little body. His killer has already been released.
4. Denis Uritsky “Dennis Gene Merryman” 8-years-old. Died January 22, 2005 in Harford County, Maryland of cardiac arrest brought on by starvation. At 3 he weighed 40 pounds, at the time of death he weighed 37. His killers were released then received 22 years each.
5. Victoria Bazhenova “Nina Hilt”. 2.5-years-old. Died July 2, 2005 in Manassas, Virginia of blows and internal injuries to the abdominal area after being repeatedly kick and punched in the stomach and back. Murdered by Peggy Sue Hilt. Killer sentenced to approximately 20 years.
6. Konstantin Shlepin “David Polreis Jr” aged 2. Died February 9, 1996 in Greeley, Colorado after being beaten to death. Had cuts and bruises over 90% of his body. Killed by Renee Polreis. Killer was released in 2005.
7. Logan Higginbotham aged 3. Died November 25, 1998 in Shelburne, Vermont of massive head injuries after being slammed into a wall. Killer Laura Higginbotham was sentenced to 1 year and has been released.
8. Viktor Sergeivich Tulimov “Viktor Matthey” aged 6. Died October 31, 2000 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey of hypothermia after being locked in an unheated service room overnight. Had over 40 cuts and bruises on his body as well as untreated bone fractures. Killers Robert and Brenda Matthey were released in 2008.
9. Luke Evans aged 1.5 years. Died November 30, 2001 in Lowell, Indiana of massive head injuries and shaken baby syndrome. His killer Natalie Fabian Evans was found not guilty and released.
10. Alexei Vasilovich Geiko “Alex Pavlis” 6-years-old. Died December 18, 2003 in Schaumburg, Illinois of massive injuries after going into a coma. His killer Iram Pavlis was sentenced to 12 years in prison but was released in 2008.
11. Ilya Kargyntsev “Isaac Jonathan Dykstra” aged 21 months. Died August 14, 2005 in Iowa City, Iowa of massive internal injuries. Killer Brian Dykstra was charged with 2nd degree murder then acquitted. Free 12. Jacob Lindroff aged 5. Died December 14, 2001 in Gloucester Township, New Jersey of a blunt force trauma to the head. Jacob has 2nd degree burns on his feet. Killers James and Heather Lindroff have been released. They were later charged with conspiracy to commit murder after attempting to hire a someone to kill a witness in the case. They are free after those charges as well.
13. Jessica Albina Hagmann age 2 years 7 months. Died August 11, 2003 in Prince William County, Virginia of mechanical asphyxia due to compression against an adult: lack of blood and oxygen. Jessica weighed only 27 pounds when she died and was covered with bruises including multiple bruises and cuts to her face and head. Killer Patrice Lynn Hagmann received 2 suspended sentences and has been released.
14. Dmitry Sergeyevich Ishlankulov “Liam Dmitry Thompson” aged 3. Died October 16, 2003 in Columbus, Ohio of burns to his entire body after being boiled alive in a bathtub in 140 degree water and placed in a crib in a freezing basement for five days. Killers Gary Allen Thompson received 15 years. Will probably be released in 2018. Killer Amy Thompson will be released in 2017.
15. Maria Anastasia Bennett aged 2. Died October 23, 2002 in Columbus Ohio of fatal head wounds and eye injuries. Her killer Susan Jane Bennett received 3 years with release after 2 years and the probation. She has been released.
16. Sacha Vallée aged 4. Died October 9, 2002 in Verdun, Quebec, Canada after being beaten for 4 days, dropped on his face, punched in the stomach and left outside in the Canadian winter. His killer Eric Grenier was found guilty of non-premeditated homicide and sentenced to life in prison with no possiblility of parole for 12 years( by Canada).
17. Nikita Khoryakovont “Zachary Higier” aged 2. Died August 15, 2002 in Braintree, Massachusetts of a bilateral skull fracture, a massive stroke on the right side of his brain, a smaller stroke on left side, brain swelling and detached retinas consistent with a fall from a 3 storey building. Killer Natalia Higier was sentenced to 2 1/2 years. Has been released
18 and19 Yana and Anatoly Kolenda. Both aged 11. Died on October 21, 2002 in Westfield, Massachusetts after being brutally murdered by the Richard Kolenda who then killed the adoptive mother and later shot himself in the head.
Then there are multiple cases of abuse such as:
Kuzma Cochran, 4-years-old. Abused by Jane and Timothy Cochran. Kuzma was tortured, had bruises over 90% of his body, was beaten and had a piece of his ear cut off. Abusers received 3 and 2 months. Were released.
Kelsey Hyre, aged 2, living in Akron Ohio and permanently paralyzed on September 26, 2002 when her spine severed by Gerald Hyre after he slammed her on the floor.
Russian children should be cared for and looked after by Russian parents or caregivers, especially in light of the lack of access allowed Russian Officials to Russian children abroad, in reality that is in the best interest of the children. As for America they should take more steps to solve their own internal issues with regards to child abuse and child homicide before dragging in the international community and asking it to accept the atrocious conditions faced by adoptees in America. In short America should be banned from all international adoptions until they can take care of their own children.