Alumni Insights

The Russian Adoption Ban: An Uncertain Year Ahead


In the final days of 2012, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed into law an initiative that prevents US citizens from adopting Russian children. This new law, which went into effect on January 1 of this year, also calls for the termination of the bilateral treaty on adoption that had just entered into force in November 2012. The treaty was the product of more than a year of negotiations between the US State Department and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and imposed greater restrictions on adoption agencies operating within Russia as well as US citizens adopting Russian children. The bilateral treaty’s termination clause requires that it remain in effect until January 1, 2014. The new law could potentially halt hundreds of in-process adoptions of Russian children by US citizens. US citizens adopting Russian children are usually required to make at least three trips to Russia before they can return to the United States with the adopted Russian child. It is currently unclear whether the Russian government will halt all adoptions at all stages of the process, or if they will allow families who have already passed their court date, usually during the second required trip, to complete the process of adopting Russian children.