At the moment, the Russian Duma has enacted a ban on adoption of Russian children. As a family lawyer some years ago, I spent time in Russia and Ukraine at the detski dom
, visited the children, spoke with the orphanage directors, etc., to assess the situation there. I have also had contact with American parents that adopted from Russia and Ukraine.
One thought that I can interject is that if Russian adoptions are to be halted, then Ukrainian adoptions will likely rise. The situation in the orphahanges in Ukraine is quite similar to that of Russia; the children are ethnically quite similar, especially in the east of Ukraine, which is largely Russian. Ukraine, unlike Russia, does not permit for profit agencies to facilitate adoptions in Ukraine, though there are non-pofits that are in every sense for profits. Still, there are nonprofits that have facilitated adoptions in Ukraine for a fraction of the cost of a Russian adoption.
My final comment is that extraordinary caution must be exercised in adopting an infant or very young child from Russia, Ukraine, and many other countries. Many of the children were adopted out by parents with serious alcohol, street drug and/or mental health issues. Many of the children regardless of family of origin suffer lack of care and contact in the detski doms, leading to potential for attachment disorders. Some of these beautiful kids also have birth injuries that are either undiagnosed or hidden from potentially adopting families. It is also true that in some cases, the nurses in the orphanages hold out healthy babies for Russian families, or for western parents willing to pay monies to the orphanage over an above the usual high fees.
I have personally met parents who adopted from Russia that experienced a child or children that grew into serious mental health and developmental disabilities. I have also met many parents who adopted children from Russia and Ukraine who now have healthy wonderful children.
My opinion is that it can be better to adopt a toddler from Russia or Ukraine, vs. adopting a baby, as with a baby it is very difficult to fully do the medical due diligence on an infant or baby. There are medical doctors in Russia, Ukraine, the US that specialize in assisting would-be adopting parents with this medical due diligence, but the process is not perfect. With a toddler, one can do a medical and developmental assessment, and have some confidence in the assessment.
I am 100 percent in favor of Russian and Ukrainian adoption, but feel that parents need to go into the process with eyes and minds wide open. Do not trust the agencies and facilitators completely. Russian adoption is a big money business and would be parents need to really take the reins themselves regarding which child to adopt.
I have talked with Cathy Harris, but do not know her and am not making any referral, necessarily. She is a good person to talk to. Many people have worked with her and her nonprofit to have a facilitated adoption in Ukraine, and I have heard nothing but positives about her in my limited contacts in this area of family law. At the very least, she or someone in her group can bring adopting parents up to speed on what really goes on with foreign adoption in the FSU. http://www.adoptukraine.com/cathyharris.html