NPR: Russia’s Halt on Adoptions Spotlights Conditions

NPR had a horrifying story on it’s Morning Edition program this morning on the condition of roughly 800,00 children who live in Russian orphanages. The Russian government has suspended foreign adoptions for what it calls a temporary measure to institute new regulation requirements for all “non-governmental organizations.”

The Russian government is also trying to encourage its own citizens to adopt orphans, which has been a hard sell. As it is here in the United States, orphans and foster children are often seen as defective.

The problem is that adoptions mean money for the Russian orphanages, and the suspension of foreign adoptions has highlighted the wretched conditions in which these children are often placed. Some of the overworked, understaffed facilities can’t provide even a basic level of care, and children are left to die.

NPR’s Gregory Feifer writes:

Last winter, another patient in a central Russian hospital noticed a room of abandoned babies with their mouths taped shut to stop them from crying. Her cell phone video shocked the country when it was played on national television. Reports of babies tied down in their cots are common. Many believe that’s because hospital staff are seriously overworked.

Boris Altshuler of the Child’s Right group says it’s often immediately clear to visitors that abandoned babies are left to “rot alive.”

“First of all [there’s] the smell — [the] smell of unchanged linens or even children lying on just plastic. And [a] terrible smell because nobody changes, nobody cares,” Altshuler says.

Dear God, forgive us for our indifference and allow us to come to the aid of the least of these.

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