Streetwise Professor

April 19, 2010

A Clarification on the Adoption Issue

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 10:34 pm

Given some of the feedback I’ve received on the adoption post, it’s evident I was not sufficiently thoughtful, and gave too much weight to my very limited personal brush with Russian adoption (which did leave a big impression on me, but which was far too superficial to provide the basis of any broad conclusions).  So I think it’s necessary for me to clarify, and to provide some different perspectives.

First, to me the biggest tragedy is the large number of Russian kids who need good homes and loving parents who may see their opportunity thwarted by cynical politicians exploiting what happened with the 7 year old who was sent back by himself.  As R notes in her extensive comment, the narrative being spun by the Russian authorities is almost certainly deeply deceptive.  And even if the specifics of this story were as the Russian government represents, extrapolating from this one episode is as inappropriate as my extrapolation from the observations on a single flight from Moscow.  Indeed, far more inappropriate, because my opinions don’t really affect anybody’s lives, but the Russian government’s actions have the potential to harm innocent children and those who want to provide them better lives.

Second, contrary to the impression I left in my post, the effect of these adoptions is almost certainly highly positive on balance.  R’s experience is one example.  Some friends in Chelsea, Michigan adopted 4 Russian children in the early-90s and have given them wonderful lives full of love.  And my friend Mike S. sent along this inspiring story which you really should read.

I regret that by over-emphasizing a single personal anecdote I left a misleading impression about something as complex as international adoption, and specifically Russian adoption.  I should leave that subject to people who know more about it.  I should have just focused on what were my main points: (a) that it is wrong for the Russian government to seize upon a single human tragedy to score political points in a way that could create many more tragedies, and (b) would that the Russian government showed as much outrage at the suffering of Russian kids at the hands of Russians–including in the first instance agents of the Russian state–as it has over the hapless woman in Tennessee, and turn that outrage into constructive action.

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3 Comments »

  1. Respect.

    Comment by TRex — April 20, 2010 @ 9:18 am

  2. Are you TRex or Aretha (or, actually Otis Redding–who wrote the song)? Regardless, a man of few words. Like one. LOL.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — April 20, 2010 @ 9:55 am

  3. Russians also abandon Russian kids:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g5QGG2zYzhv3Heh13Xk0Dr2j1ZBAD9F73DU00

    Don’t even go so far as to send them home.

    Comment by La Russophobe — April 20, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

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