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The problem with rumors when they're about laws
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
I've spoken about this before but it certainly deserves repeating.

Often during the adoption process you hear a rumor about a new law or some negative event that a vast majority of folks immediately declare as the end of days (for international adoptions, for life on earth, etc.). I think even typically rational people tend to jump on the bandwagon simply because there is so much emotion wrapped in the adoption process it becomes hard to remain logical.

Case in point is something that some Russian lawyer who I believe is actually here in the U.S. posted to the various adoption forums yesterday. And from what Stef tells me, this person is a bit controversial to begin with since she helps people with independent adoptions which Russia is very against. Anyway, she says that there's a new law in which Russia's get 250,000 rubles (about $10,000) for adopting a child. Well, that amount is a huge sum in Russia (in some cases years of salary).

Unfortunately, she didn't provide backup i.e., a link showing the law's details, (by the way here it is) just her opinion as to what it means. So now a bunch of folks are extremely concerned that this is somehow going to severely impact adoptions.

Well, the short answer is...not a chance. And here's my opinion as to why:

First, from what I have read (keep in mind it's through a Russian translation which may alter words incorrectly) the "money" is not given to the parents but instead goes into a "pension fund" that must be used for education and other child support expenses.

Second, this fund cannot be accessed until 2010. Now, keep in mind the state of the Russian economy. Who's to say that the funds will even be available at that time, cause I certainly doubt they have them now!!! Not to mention that there were over 700,000 orphans in Russia (in 2003) so that number today is probably even closer to 1 million, of which about 5,000 are adopted each year here in the U.S. Somehow (very unfortunately) I suspect there will remain a significant number of orphans needing families.

Third, and this is the most important, the Russian culture is very different from the U.S. or really any other Western nation. The Russian people first and foremost do not believe anything their own government says, especially when laws are created which appear to help them out. This is very different from the U.S. in which most people believe the laws created to help will actually help (even though our government officials lie just as much if not more than the Russians do!).

But then why would this person, a lawyer no less, stir everyone up with a post that as she says, "...This law has already made an impact on Russian society." and that "...it can impact international adoption. More children...will likely be adopted by Russian families."

Yea, why? Well, again let's look at it logically. She works with families doing independent adoptions. In a couple of months there will be a slew of agencies who will have regained their accreditation and can start working again in Russia. Her business, certainly the competition, is going to get tougher. Perhaps a little scare tactic can drive a few folks to this person as new clients now.

But maybe I'm being too harsh. Perhaps she was just trying to be helpful and neglected to give out all the facts, maybe she didn't understand the law all that well. But wait, she's a Russian lawyer. Odd, don't you think?

The moral of this story is don't immediately believe anything until you get some confirmation. And for Russian laws there is no better confirmation as to what they really mean than a gentleman that posts on the FRUA forum and elsewhere under the user name "Jim".

He lays things out straight and always states that his commentary is merely an opinion and always backs it up with logical theory. When you read something from him, you're at least getting an unbiased logical opinion.
posted by Steveg @ 10:15 AM  
  • At 12:11 PM, Blogger Tricia said…

    That was my take as well on the posting.

  • At 12:13 PM, Blogger Jenni said…

    Great post Steve! There are more than a few people who post on the FRUA boards in an effort to further their own agenda. People can be especially tricky when they know that emotions are involved. It is always a good idea to research their claims to see if they are valid or not.

    I haven't been ont he FRUA boards in a while, but I remember "Jim." He is an excellent resource, and you are absolutely right about him being a straight shooter.

  • At 1:36 PM, Blogger Jeff & Maria said…

    Wow, another great post. I often tell my friends in the adoption race, it is not a sprint but a long distance run. There will be lots of hurls, bumps and a couple of sucker punches but we will cross the finish line.

  • At 4:19 PM, Blogger Debbie said…

    I'm so glad you did a post on this. I have the same opinion in that I don't really think it will affect us that much except for possibly a longer wait for a referral.
    But I hadn't heard that it was not available until 2010. That would change a lot of peoples spur of the moment decision to adopt I would think.

  • At 5:41 PM, Blogger JennyM said…

    I always enjoy reading your comments about things. International adoption is definitely an emotional experience...it's great to hear the logical side of things. I'm so glad you have a blog...hearing a man's perspective is a great benefit in the blog world.

  • At 5:28 PM, Anonymous annmarie said…

    well said!

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I'm Steve and this is my wife Stefanie. This is our story, mostly seen through my eyes, of the journey to create our family by adopting a child from Russia.

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