Two years ago today, Russia banned American adoptions. 5 months after Gus came home, about 6 weeks before his second birthday. Without that last referral, he wouldn’t be home today.
As one friend shared on Facebook, I don’t think that Russian orphans are better off in America. In fact, I generally believe that finding loving families in one’s own birth country is the best. But, I also believe that all children are better off in families. I believe that all children are better off being able to live lives outside of orphanage walls. I believe that all children are better off growing up with parents, family and a community to support them throughout their lives.
For many orphans in Russia, especially those with special needs, they’ve been waiting for two more years since the ban. 730 days. 17,520 hours. In the worst orphanages, that might mean over one million minutes of sitting in a dirty diaper, or with hunger pains, or tied to a crib. In the best, it still means over one million minutes without the love and nourishment that only a family can offer.
For 300 of them, they had loving families in the process to adopt them. 300 little people who should be drinking hot chocolate or opening presents or begging for candy canes they don’t even like. 300 little people, who even in the best orphanages, still don’t get to know what it’s like to have a mom and dad tuck them in each night with a warm blanket and a kiss on the head.
If you want to see more stories of adoption, check out the following event and hashtags on Twitter and Facebook.