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Columbia Missourian

Mid-Missouri adoption agencies discuss ban on Americans adopting Russian children

By Lauren Gatcombe
December 28, 2012 | 7:06 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A Russian law passed Friday that bans Americans from adopting Russian children could limit the options of mid-Missouri couples wishing to adopt, representatives of adoption agencies said.

"It will be one less source for those wanting to adopt children," said Christine Corcoran, director of regional operations at Adoptions by Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri in Columbia

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Elizabeth Page, who runs Adoption Solutions in Jefferson City, worries about the law's effect on Russian children.

"The law is a travesty," Page said. "It's sad that children are suffering due to political crosshairs."

Even before Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the law, it was becoming more difficult to adopt Russian children, Corcoran said.

"When I started working here 10 years ago, Russia was a typical choice for adoption and was pretty popular," Corcoran said. The agency handled only one adoption from Russia this year, she said.

Fewer agencies have been coordinating adoptions of Russian children because of the red tape, Corcoran said. The Russian government requires couples to travel to Russia twice to visit the child they wish to adopt.

The cost of adopting Russian children also was discouraging couples, Page said. "The parents would have to pay for all of the airfare and fees to stay in the country, and this may be what has prohibited families," she said. 

Page's agency does not assist with international adoptions, but she has assessed couples hoping to adopt Russian children, making sure they meet standards set by the Russian and American governments. During the past three to four years, the number of adoptions of Russian children the agency has assisted with has dropped to almost zero, she said.  She hasn't assessed a family wanting to adopt a Russian child since 2007.

Page is hopeful that the Russian government will change its policy. "It's the international flavor for countries to shut down adoption with our country, but then open them back up," she said.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.