St. Petersburg, March 7 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The adoption of at least 33 children from orphanages in Russia’s St. Petersburg city are still in limbo two months after American families were barred from adopting Russian children, a top official said.
The 33 children, including 12 with special needs, had already met their American parents-to-be before the law came into force, city ombudswoman Svetlana Agapitova said.
It remains unclear whether all of those adoptions will now have to be cancelled, she said.
“We are waiting for the education and science ministry’s decision. They should explain how the Dima Yakovlev bill will work,” Agapitova said.
The Dima Yakovlev bill banning adoptions of Russian children by American families was enacted Jan 1 as part of Russia’s response to the US Magnitsky Act, which introduces sanctions against Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses.
The US State Department has said as many as 500 to 1,000 American families may have been in the process of adopting Russian children as of Jan 1, while Russia’s child rights ombudsman, Pavel Astakhov, said earlier that his regional representatives have identified 172 minors in the process of being adopted by Americans when the ban took effect.
Russia has said the ban was necessary to protect its children, citing cases of abuse and neglect by US parents which have resulted in the deaths of at least 19 Russian adoptees since the early 1990s.