The adoption of five-year old orphan Polina was already in process when Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, signed a law prohibiting American adoptions of Russian children. The law was in response to a U.S. bill, nicknamed the Magnitsky Act, that targeted Russians accused of human rights violations. The majority of in-process adoptions are now being canceled, though about fifty children are being allowed to leave Russia with their adoptive American parents. This law has particular significance to Russian children with disabilities.
A combination of social stigma and a lack of services for children with disabilities has resulted in many Russian children with disabilities being cared for by the state in orphanages. And now, willing prospective American parents are being denied the opportunity to adopt, while Russian children are being denied access to a loving home. In Polina’s case, she lived in a Russian orphanage for most of her life, where she received limited services and treatment for spina bifida, a condition which is present at birth. Indeed, according to her adoptive parents, she arrived in the U.S. with two untreated broken legs. Although Polina’s adoptive parents won the custody fight, many other children are being left behind.
Watch the video of Polina’s reunion with her adoptive parents below. If you’d like to learn more about Polina and her family, you can read adoptive mother Kendra Skaggs’ account of her experiences on her blog “Pennies for a Princess”.
This video begins with a commercial which was not chosen by or for the benefit of DisAbility Rights Galaxy.