On the Russian Adoption Situation

As a family who is seriously praying over and considering the possibility of international adoption (particularly from Russia or Ukraine – I’ve written about my love for the adoption process before here), we are following this story pretty closely.  It breaks my heart to read about this situation and I find myself frustrated and angry.

When any parent enters an adoptive situation, particularly with an older child as this one was, there is the potential for psychological or emotional issues.  Any child that has been neglected and virtually unloved for much of his life is going to have problems adjusting and accepting love.

If what the adoptive mother in this situation says is true, then I agree that the little boy she adopted had severe emotional problems and that she likely felt overwhelmed and incompetent to parent him.  But here’s the kicker:


The absurdity of what she did is astounding.  This is a child – not a defective puppy or a ripped shirt that you can just return.  It’s a CHILD.  A child she agreed to parent, incidentally.  She never told her adoption agency of the problems she was having with her son. 

Her SON.  She adopted him.  He was her son.  In my mind, that is abandonment and she should be ashamed of herself. 

No.  She didn’t make anyone aware of the struggles.  She didn’t ask anyone for help.  She just shipped him back.  What did she think was going to happen?!  Did she think the Russian government would send her a thank you note?

Thank you, Madam, for your honesty and forthright thinking in this sensitive matter.  Of course, we would be happy for you to come over and take a look at our other children and find one that better suits your needs.  Perhaps a mild and meek little girl who will sit quietly and let you brush her hair all day long.

Ugh!  Can you tell this story has gotten me a bit riled up?

There are so many ways this woman could have handled this situation.  She could have given her adoption case worker a heads up, first of all.  She could have gotten counseling both for herself and for her son.  The fact is that she hadn’t even had this boy for a full year.  So no – I don’t think she put any effort into helping this child overcome his obvious issues.

There are even reports that in December, this woman told her adoption agency that she would like to adopt a second child from overseas – something she was discouraged from doing right away.  So clearly, this woman has an equal amount of problems and likely shouldn’t have adopted in the first place.

But what about the child she shipped back?  What happens to him now?  He’s branded as being violent and psychologically unstable.  He spent the first seven years of his life in a Russian orphanage and he is finally told he has a mother – someone who will love him unconditionally – and what does she do?  She abandons him.  Sends him packing.  What will this do to this precious boy’s heart?  It literally makes me sick to think of this little boy and what he’s been through.

And now, because of this woman’s foolish, careless and selfish decision, Russia has shut down adoptions to the U.S. until better regulations can be set in place.  I don’t blame them.  I just hope that this doesn’t destroy the trust forever.  I also hope that this doesn’t set into motion stipulations and regulations that are so impossible to meet that U.S. families will no longer be able to afford Russian adoptions.

The fact of the matter is that adoption is never to be taken lightly.  In my viewpoint, if you are called to adopt a child and a child is placed in your care, then that child was ordained for you by God just as your biological children were ordained for you by God.  I know not everyone probably holds that same viewpoint and it’s probably really easy to say that if you don’t have a problem child.  But I know many people who have adopted or fostered children from around the world who had severe emotional problems and I have seen the power of perseverence and love in the life of a troubled child.

Does that mean it was an easy road for those families?  Nope.  Not at all.  But they didn’t love their adopted child any less than they would have a biological child who had a difficult temperament.

If Lee and I choose to follow this route of adoption, we will, of course, pray that God spare our adopted child of severe emotional distress.  But I trust beyond a shadow of a doubt that should God choose to give us a child that is more difficult to parent, He will also equip us with the grace to parent the child well.

I could go on and on about this, but I think I should stop now before I break out in hives.  And I shall now climb off my soap box and carefully tuck it away once again…


  1. It really is unbelievable and I think she should be charged with abandonment. I think it’s absurd that the US officials are saying that they don’t really know if a law has been broken – just because adoption is invovled. Forget adoption – she sent a child in her custody away to a foreign country with a note pinned to his chest. That’s abandonment!

  2. Exactly, Pam. The child was legally hers. How can she not be charged with a crime? If my biological child is difficult to handle, can I ship him off to Russia without repercussion? Because trust me, there are some days I’ve thought about it!

  3. Wasn’t there a state in the west where you could legally abandon child by leaving them at the hospital or something? I think it was meant for newborns but all kinds of children were being dropped off at hospitals- I think they changed the law after this happened.

    I think the woman was unprepared for life with a child, any child. We all know how difficult they can be under the best of circumstances.

  4. I agree, Joyce. She was clearly not ready to parent a child. Particularly an older child who had every potential of needing a lot of guidance due somply to the environment he had been raised in his whole life.

  5. Joyce, I am pretty sure that happened in the state where I live now, in Washington. There have been a lot of issues regarding that law because of exactly that. Issues with parents trying to drop off teens and stuff. Regardless, it is ridiculous all that is going on. Great topic Kelli, thanks for keeping us aware-I hadn’t heard about this crazy situation.


  1. […] I’m still upset about the russian adoption situation and frustrated that no charges have been brought agains the woman who sent her adopted son back to […]

  2. […] I’m still upset about the russian adoption situation and frustrated that no charges have been brought agains the woman who sent her adopted son back to […]