Thursday, April 21, 2011

Moratorium on international adoptions in Kyrgyzstan may soon be lifted

Moratorium on international adoptions in Kyrgyzstan may soon be lifted
Parliament has approved amendments to the Family Code, all for the president and government
Erica Marat Friday, April 15, 2011
Photo VOA

On Thursday, April 14 the Kyrgyz parliament approved a bill on amending the Family Code of the country, which would eliminate the two-year moratorium on international adoptions. Now turn to the president of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbayeva and government. In that case, if she would sign the law and the government will their amendment, the moratorium will be formally withdrawn, and 65 U.S. families waiting for their adoptive children from Kyrgyzstan will be able to complete the adoption process.Recall that international adoptions were suspended in February 2009 by former Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Igor Chudinov. As wrote the Voice of America, since American adoptive families and the U.S. State Department attempted to persuade the Kyrgyz side to bring the adoption process to the end.During the moratorium two children adopted by American parents have died - presumably due to the lack of adequate medical care.President Otunbayeva supports lifting the moratorium, she is aware of the trials, which had to deal with foster families in the U.S.. "I get letters from all 65 families on their page Facebook», - said the president of one of the adoptive families during a visit to Washington in March. However, it also noted that while the parliament does not adopt the amendments to the legislation, its ability to influence the process are limited.Foster families and Kyrgyz politicians look to the future with cautious optimism. According to the deputy Damir Niyazalievoy that throughout this time, advocated the abolition of the moratorium, the moratorium a year ago was almost canceled after a similar law of the Family Code passed by Parliament and was sent to the signing of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.However, a few days later, April 7, 2010, Bakiyev was overthrown by a mass demonstrations, and the process of lifting the moratorium "depends" for another year. "As such, the moratorium on international adoptions was not. There were gaps in the Family Code, which was not spelled out who controls the process of international adoption ", - told VOA Niyazalieva.Under the new law, coordinating and monitoring role in the international adoption takes the Ministry of Social Protection in Kyrgyzstan. Among the deputies Shirin Aitmatov has played a special role in the adoption of amendments to the Family Code. She persuaded the parliament to consider the bill is not in one but in two readings on April 14. During the first reading in parliament in early April Aitmatov noted opponents of lifting the moratorium on the deteriorating health of foster children, and urged everyone to endorse the bill as soon as possible.Damir Niyazalieva notes that supporters of lifting the moratorium failed to win the resistance of some MPs. In general, she said, the government and the parliament there is a serious support for the resumption of international adoptions.However, according to Natalia Utesheva, a representative of the Youth Human Rights Group, which monitors the process of lifting the moratorium in Kyrgyzstan lack of political leadership and political will to complete its withdrawal. "In conditions of instability in Kyrgyzstan, where all are at risk, no one takes responsibility for such a decision, after which they can point the finger and blame" selling "children" - commented Utesheva.Social protection of children in the U.S.Some Kyrgyz politicians and the public fear that foreign adoptive children may be victims of domestic violence. However, according to the Joint Council of the International Save the Children, Violence against children in foster care is much rarer than in "normal" families as adoptive families are thoroughly tested before they destroy adopt a child.

The prevention of child abuse in the United States is engaged in the State Agency for Supervision of children and family (Child and Family Service Agency). The agency has a hotline to which anyone can call and leave information about the facts of child abuse. This may be a relative, neighbor, teacher or just a passerby, who witnessed the disturbing event. Moreover, teachers, nurses, doctors and others who directly communicate with children are required to report all the facts and suspicions of child abuse.

In turn, the agency enters the data into a computer program based on their results and conclude on the risks faced by the child. Special workers react to the received messages within 24-48 hours. They meet with your child to determine on the spot - there is a need to isolate him from his parents for safety, or start with the parents of special educational activities.

In the U.S. there is no children's homes, instead of them wanting to families may be entitled to a temporary shelter to children. These rights are updated every two years and are given to those families who pass a special audit and training.It is important to note that the work of social workers of the Agency for Supervision of children and family do not differentiate between adopted children and own children.The situation in orphanages in KyrgyzstanThe monitoring results in orphanages Youth Human Rights Group and the Ombudsman showed numerous violations of the rights of children. In the course are "cruel and degrading treatment," the report said. Children are significantly lagging behind in mental, physical and social development than their peers raised in families.Particularly widespread abuse of children in a psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Bishkek, where more than 80% of children - orphans. "For the undesirable behavior of children of staff permanently tied to a battery, a chair or tied on the floor in a painful posture, seated on the floor, hands tied behind his back and his head placed between his knees" - said in a statement. As a result, the identification of cases of torture director of the hospital was fired.One of the volunteers of the orphanage in Bishkek, who asked not to be named, told VOA that the orphanage workers receive very little money (less than $ 100 per month) for the hard work. "The orphanage receives a lot of outside help, but this aid is often stolen" - she said. In the younger groups of 12-15 people, and diapers and clothes for children are often lacking. "Kids always go wet," - she says.Natalia Utesheva notes that the orphanage workers themselves often welcome the idea of ​​international adoption. "They're trying to help sick children, but they do not have opportunities" - she says. From their own powerlessness, they favor the resumption of international adoptions.It added that Kyrgyzstan does not exist today as the monitoring of local adoptions, as well as institutions where children are orphans. "From this perspective, the comparison is clearly not in favor of Kyrgyzstan", - underlines Utesheva.In just the last few years, more than 200 orphans in Kyrgyzstan have been adopted by foreigners. The number of adoptions by local families for the same period is several times lower. Often foreigners adopt sick children, residents of Kyrgyzstan mostly - healthy.

"Children's" questions for adults

"Children's" question for adults (Translated from Russian on

14/04/2011 - 16:36

Kyrgyz Adoption of orphans by foreign nationals - a matter of dispute and discussion. Today, MPs voted in the second and third reading of amendments to the Family Code, relating to adoption of children by foreign citizens of Kyrgyzstan. I recall that in 2009, our parliamentarians have introduced a moratorium on the adoption and execution of custody of the kiddies Kyrgyz orphanages for foreign nationals.Arguments, to which officials appealed, and was at that time not a lot. "They're taking our children and we know nothing about their fate! Suddenly, there they are beaten and even killed? "- Outraged officials. The Commission, created in 2008 found that the fate of 13 adopted children from abroad, the CD is no information. This provoked another wave of disturbances and, as a result, there was a moratorium.

Meanwhile, a U.S. citizen, Pamela Allen, who herself wanted to adopt a girl from Bishkek home baby, had already talked about what I find information about the allegedly pushed into obscurity children - no problem. That it is only through the Internet data tracked down the whereabouts of nine of them. But all attempts to explain the futility of the charges against the foreign adoptive parents were in vain.

American citizens also had to tackle this problem because about 60 children, who were awaiting adoption, and have already found their foreign parents, held hostage slaboobosnovannoy whims of parliament. Do not forget that most of these children have the disease, sometimes very serious. According to official figures, amongst those kids who came to the attention of foreign adoptive parents, two died without waiting for formal adoption by foreign nationals. And this is just data about the children who were under the scrutiny of U.S. prospective adoptive parents. And how many kids did not wait to be adopted by volunteers from abroad for two years of the moratorium? Have heard the stories themselves and educators in specialized children's homes, that children with serious illnesses are required for foreigners who are willing to do everything possible to ensure the child a decent life, but do not wait for paperwork, and slowly dying on the state-owned beds without seeing in this life is nothing but from the orphanage walls.

Foreign nationals who are preparing to become foster parents of Kyrgyz babies tend to be very diligent approach to the issue of receiving a child into their family. They thrash out all diagnoses kid, his mental and physical condition, obtain information about possible treatment and rehabilitation of the child uneasy. Our officials lose sight of the fact that foreign adoptive parents undergo training and testing, not only in our country, but also at home. All documents filed by foreign adoptive parents for permission to bring an adopted child in the country - are carefully checked there the bodies of trusteeship.

Do not forget that the adoption procedure with registration of all documents, transporting the child's treatment, the organization of everyday life is worth a lot of money. And guess some ignorant people that the Americans, Italians, Germans and others adopt our children to make fun of them - look silly.

A couple of months ago I happened to visit the House of baby and talk to his head. Of course, after the issue of supply of houses with everything you need, the first question was: "How often do adopt children?". Because among the inmates of the House babies, which contains over one hundred children, many children with severe diagnoses.

Then head complained that foreigners are not allowed to pick up those kids, they chose his family back in 2009. She described how these parents care about their potential children, call, finding out their fate, send gifts.

Long time activists of several non-governmental organizations and individual deputies struggled to a moratorium on adoptions was lifted. And this day was not far off. According to the parliamentarians, the full adoption of the amendment and the entry into force - a mere formality, since they have taken in the second and third readings.

MP Damir Niyazalieva shared with his joy at the successful adoption of the law:
- At the moment the law was passed in the second and third reading. Estesstvenno, I treat it positively. And I speak for the fact that children who go there are aware of their origin, their homeland. I saw with my own eyes, as Americans, for example, instill a love for Kyrgyzschstanu dear children, adoptees have. A child's birthday gift to give, which is linked to its homeland. And every day in front of the house raised two flags: the U.S. and Kyrgyz. Foster parents told the adopted children of Kyrgyzstan, on the history of our nation. They do not hide from their family did this child. The child thus has the opportunity to realize that he kyrgyz that he was from Kyrgyzstan. And perhaps, after growing up, he wants to return home. While we have a secret adoption, when no data for the child may not be distributed. Maybe, according to our mentality, it is correct. However, I saw that in the United States have special organizations involved in searching for biological parents sdetey orphans. And often they find it. And after this family adopt the child and his biological relatives perfectly communicate with each other.
- Who, under the new law will monitor data on adopted children?

- Before all the functions of gathering information, issuing permits for the adoption, tracing the fate of adopted children were assigned to different organs. Now, we offer all these features suggest to the Ministry of sotsozaschity. To lay all the responsibility for only one department. So it will be easier to organize incoming information.

Did not fail to speak out and the main defender of civil rights in our country Tursunbek Akun :
- I support lifting the moratorium on adoptions of orphans by foreign families. And I support the decision that the child was vaccinated cultural heritage of the country of his ancestors.
We were interested to know the views of those who previously advocated the introduction of a moratorium and actively resented the fact of adoption of our children by foreign nationals. However, it may be due to the fact that the amendments are almost made ​​to the Family Code, may be because enough time has passed, wanting to speak out against lifting the moratorium was not found. Two years ago, Tursunbai Bakir uulu said the press that he is against the adoption of foreign children in Kyrgyzstan. And today he said , that his words will simply misunderstood.

- I support the idea to allow foreigners to adopt children. But the only caveat: in the first place, in my opinion, it must be children with serious illnesses that are difficult to treat in our country. And more important also the fact: when a Kyrgyz citizens were divided into those who are permanently resident in the country and those who have some time living abroad. The first group to adopt children under the laws of our country, and the second offered to adopt a child under the laws of the country where he lives. I believe that it is fundamentally wrong. Can not be divided into groups of Kyrgyzstan. That the citizens of our republic, let the laws of our country will be common to them all.And so, for the happiness and health of children orphaned me for permission Kyrgyz adoption of orphans by foreigners.

Some time ago I've met with a well-known Russian TV presenter and foster mom Tatiana Sorokina . Subject of the meeting was a professional sense, but I could not ask her a question about her personal relationships to a ban on adoptions for foreigners. And then Sorokina uttered one amusing thought: "We always think of those children who are somehow affected by the foreign adoptive parents. But we forget - how many children live with their families and subjected to violence. And how many children are psychologically deformed in orphanages with no parental warmth. " Then the presenter called the ban a procedure "witch hunt". And do not agree with her ​​I could not. So glad of that effort fighters permit foreign adoptions succeed. Business for small - to bring the legislation in order and get it to work properly.

Ekaterina Ivanova.

Power and the post-Soviet orphanage: stories of orphans in Kyrgyzstan

Power and the post-Soviet orphanage: stories of
orphans in Kyrgyzstan

While the country has been experiencing political transformation, more than 60 children
waiting for their parents in the U.S.
Erica Marat Monday, April 11, 2011

One of the orphanages in Bishkek
Pamela Allen always carries a photo album Bermet, year-old girl orphaned in Bishkek.
Allen knows her only from the descriptions of the U.S. Agency for International
Adoptions. Acquainted with her adopted daughter has not yet been.

"I first saw the photo Bermet in September 2008, she was 15 weeks, and threw her
parents - says Allen. - I thought I could take her home before she turns six months. "
However, while Pamela Allen designed the process of adoption Bermet, former Prime
Minister of Kyrgyzstan Igor Chudinov instructed to stop adoptions by foreigners. In early
2009, Kyrgyz authorities revealed evidence of criminal practice in children's homes - it is
assumed that some children were taken out of the country on forged documents.
Allen and 65 other American families who are waiting for their adoptive children from
Kyrgyzstan, seeking cancellation of the moratorium for more than two years. Their
efforts have not yielded results.

During this time, Allen adopted by a U.S. girl named Emerson. "From beginning to end
adoption process took five months - she said. - I learned that her biological family chose
me as a foster mother for two weeks before her birthday ... I was present at birth, I cut off
the umbilical cord. "

Today, Emerson goes to private nursery in the suburbs of Washington, where she taught
Russian language. "The first day in nursery Emerson ate meatballs - Russian nurse
explained to me that this is a traditional food," - says Allen. She is already seeing tangible
difference in the development of two girls: Bermet started walking only in 2,5 years.
Emerson - when she was one year old.

When Allen first showed pictures Bermet, she noticed that the girl's thin limbs and
swollen abdomen - symptoms of malnutrition. "We Bermet very high forehead and head,
apparently from her health issues" - says she is.

Allen chose Kyrgyzstan by chance - in 2006, her sister adopted a boy from Kazakhstan,
and she was a witness of the process. "My heart was broken when I saw the children in
the orphanage," - says Allen.

During the stay of the disease died two kid, and not waiting for their American parents.
The exact causes of death in these children is unknown. Foster mother of one of them - a
pediatrician from Florida - the photographs determined that the child may have infected
with syphilis. She tried to convince workers of children's homes to conduct medical
check-up, but - in vain ...

Mutual misunderstanding

For two years, adoptive families from the United States trying to meet with all sorts of
politicians from Kyrgyzstan who come to visit Washington. Their main goal - to bring
the adoption process to the end.

"When Chudinov was in Washington, DC (September 2009 - EM), I asked him to reverse
his decision. He said he would consider the matter "- says Pamela Allen. She is
particularly remembered for soft warm hands and the officials; he said nice, soothing

However, after a visit to the U.S. Igor Chudinov the issue of lifting the moratorium has
not publicly raised.

Allen also talks about his meeting with deputies of the Kyrgyz Republic: "There were
meetings where we talked about their histories of women deputies. We cry together,
sympathized with each other, they promised us to provide all possible assistance. "
Since the introduction of a moratorium in Kyrgyzstan has changed the government and
the constitution, the country erupted in ethnic conflict. Today, the location Chudinov and
other members of the overthrown corrupt government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev
is unknown. Came to power, the Parliament, whose primary task - the distribution of
rights and obligations between the rival factions.

The U.S. State Department is supporting the foster families in their attempts to persuade
the Kyrgyz authorities to allow them to bring the adoption process to the end. In response
to a request from the government of Kyrgyzstan has signed a memorandum of
understanding for Adoption (MOU), the State Department's special representative on
children Susan Jacobs visited Bishkek in September 2010 and February this year. She
presented a memorandum to the authorities, promising that the U.S. will closely monitor
the foster children of Kyrgyzstan after their arrival in the U.S.. However, the Kyrgyz
government on several occasions required to make further amendments to the text.
"The problem is that the Kyrgyz government requires a bilateral treaty with the United
States, but the U.S. did not enter into agreements of this kind. In return, the parties agreed
to sign the MOU, "- says Lisa Brozerton from California, which is also awaiting a foster
child from Kyrgyzstan. Brozerton closely monitoring the situation around the
moratorium, and frequently visits Bishkek.

In March, members of the Committee on Health, Social Policy, Labour and Migration of
the Kyrgyz parliament explained to the American Charitable Foundation for Adoption
"Saint Philomena" as follows: to cancel the moratorium should be in parliament to
approve a new draft of the Family Code and to obtain approval of the government (prime
minister and deputy prime minister).

"There are some positive changes - last week the parliament began to examine the Family
Code on first reading," - said Broz
erton. She hopes that the second and third reading will
be appointed in the near future.

The game of ping-pong
Few politicians in Kyrgyzstan knows that after two years of a child from an orphanage in
the former Soviet Union the United States is considered invalid. "In such cases, the
adoptive parents have to" catch up "child development", - told VOA Tom DiFilipo,
chairman of the Joint Council of the International Save the Children, who studied the
condition of children raised in orphanages post-Soviet countries.

This applies to nutrition, physical and mental development, the expert continues: "Almost
all children suffer from malnutrition, disease and mental disorders." According to him,
two of the dead child at the time of the moratorium - the ones who caught the attention of
adoptive parents. It is unknown how many children among those who have not been

Pamela Allen and President Otunbayeva
During the recent visit of President of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbayeva in Washington
Pamela Allen showed her pictures Bermet and asked if the president issued a decree to
cancel the moratorium. In response, Otunbayeva said she knew about the 65 families and
understands their situation, but lift the moratorium, unfortunately, not in her power. Much
depends on the parliament and government.

"It reminds me of a game of ping-pong, which loses only children - says Allen. -
Someone in Kyrgyzstan must finally decide on a heroic act and take responsibility for
these children. "

"Cultivating bodies and nationalism
Meanwhile, speculation about what is exported from Kyrgyzstan children are used as
donors of internal organs - one of the main arguments of some opponents of international
adoption in Kyrgyzstan.

"You hear a lot of stories about how to foster children being abused, humiliated, and even
killed. I am not in favor of the adoption of children by foreigners "- the words quoted
Kyrgyz MP Tursunbai Bakir uulu edition Eurasia Insight.

"While the myth that U.S. children are used to nurture bodies, so popular in Russia,
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, we were not able to identify the source of this information" -
says Lisa Brozerton results of his research.

Tom DiFilipo results statistics on adoption of children from Russia by American families
over the past 15 years: from 50,000 adopted children as a result of domestic violence
killed 14.

"Undoubtedly, this is a sad figure, and unfortunately, despite all the thoroughness with
which the monitoring of foster families, the violence still takes place," - he said. Such
statistics in the post-Soviet countries do not.

"Violence against children - a fact of life" - continues DiFilipo. However, he stressed that
the U.S. abuse of children in foster care is much rarer than in "normal" families. This is
because the adoption agency conducted a thorough screening of prospective adoptive
parents. And when you consider that the inspection of parents wishing to adopt children,
it is much harder in the U.S. than in the former Soviet Union, the chances of a child get
into the hostile environment is minimal.

"We checked thoroughly - our financial position, our character, our past" - lists Pamela
Allen. According to her, as foster parents even require to make an evacuation plan in case
of fire in the house. Clearly, this requirement does not extend to "ordinary" families.
Lisa Brozerton says that in 2009 the Kyrgyz authorities were frightened when it was
discovered that the fate of 13 children adopted by foreign families, are not known. When
Brozerton requested a list of "lost" children, she was given 11 names. "For three days, a
simple Internet search, I found the location of 9 of them" - she said. As it turned out,
some adopted children live in Kyrgyzstan in the families of foreigners working in the
country. Others were taken to Israel and Switzerland, where they live in high-grade

Another popular explanation for the refusal of international adoption is such an argument:
children born in Kyrgyzstan should be educated on the basis of local traditions and know
their native language.

With this view agrees DiFilipo. He notes that the main task of foster families - to create
for foreign children on Wednesday, as similar as possible with the customs of their
homeland. "Before the adoption, the parents undergo special training, where they explain
the local culture and environment of their adopted children" - he says.

After the adoption of a child adoptive families continue to visit clubs and online forums
where they socialize with other families with children from the same country. American
families who have adopted children from Kyrgyzstan, Russia and other countries have
maintained close contacts with each other. "I have many friends from Kyrgyzstan", - says
Pamela Allen.

Total U.S. annually adopt about 100,000 children. Of these, 20 to 30 thousand - children
from abroad.

Orphans and criminals
According to Tom DiFilipo, for all this time in Kyrgyzstan was not punished a single
person, because of whose action has been declared a moratorium. "None of the
perpetrators are not jailed. The children remain in institutions ", - says DiFilipo.
On the disastrous state of children's homes indicates a report prepared by the Open
Society Institute in cooperation with the NGO "Youth Human Rights Group." Of their
study showed that the Kyrgyz government has "an effective, transparent system of
governance institutions for children deprived of family environment."

For example, the Ministry of Education and Science of Kyrgyzstan has provided
information on 50 institutions, while the National Statistical Committee - about 82
institutions, indicated in the report. However, summary data, all in Kyrgyzstan - 133
institutions where there are orphans.

"Children often suffer from hunger, as funds for their food or not enough, either they are
spent effectively, there is an acute shortage of feminine hygiene products, clothing and
footwear, often completely missing materials for development: children's books, toys.
Care agency staff often use various types of violence against inmates, "- said the report"
Youth Human Rights Group. "

Lack of love, family affection and stability in relations between workers and children's
homes - the main problem of any such institution, said Pamela Allen.
According to Lisa Brozerton, who previously worked in the social security system in the
U.S., even the first months of
are important to children: "Lying on the back without
motion and parental care in the first months of life, children can never make up for that
time in the future."

Another American family, which also awaits lifting the moratorium, compares the post-
Soviet orphanage with a "human warehouses". There's no love and care of loved ones, no
one will embrace and learn to laugh. On the education of children in the spirit of local
culture and traditions of speech there.

"In orphanages children are dying, if not physically, then mentally" - shares his
experience of studying children's homes in the post-Tom DiFilipo.

We will fight to the end
Some Kyrgyz question arises - how did the adoptive parents desire and patience to wait
for children? To this Allen says: "This is my daughter, she was given to me from above. I
need it. "

When Lisa first saw the little Brozerton Nargiza, she gave her a promise that will take
care of her whole life. "I do not find me rest until he fulfill his promise to the child" - her

As long as the moratorium remains in force, Brozerton intends to travel to Kyrgyzstan
and to assist not only his adopted daughter, but also to other children. "In our house there
is a place for her, she's part of our family" - she added.

"If the moratorium is not canceled, then I'll wait until Bermet turn 16 years old, and her
release from the orphanage. I will come to Bishkek and inviting her to his family "-
promises Pamela Allen.

Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek Lawmakers Reluctant to Lift International Adoption Freeze

Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek Lawmakers Reluctant to Lift International Adoption Freeze

March 30, 2011 - 11:25am
Four-year-old Kaleb speaks English and likes to draw. He shows talent as a pianist and is learning how to read. He has even visited the Kyrgyzstan Embassy in Washington to meet officials from his native country.

Until he was eight months old, Kaleb was Kalychbek Baymyrzaev, an orphan in Kyrgyzstan. Scott and Kami DeBoer of Dayton, Ohio, adopted him in October 2007, just before Kyrgyzstan placed a moratorium on international adoptions. “Kaleb knows that he is adopted and that he was born in Kyrgyzstan,” Scott told

The first six months in America were difficult. “When we first met Kaleb, he was only 11 pounds. That is very tiny for an eight-month-old. He was not getting enough to eat. He was not sitting up or rolling. He had a lot of trouble sleeping and had night terrors. We kept reassuring him that we were there and after six months he was sleeping through the night. Later he began to smile,” said Kami.

Scott and Kami are waiting to adopt another Kyrgyz boy, Bakyt. When they met in February 2008, he was two months old; now he is over three. “We did not think it would take very long to bring him home. We will keep waiting for Bakyt,” Scott said. “He is a part of our family.”
In 2008, responding to local rumors that foreigners were adopting babies to harvest their organs, the Kyrgyz government imposed a moratorium on international adoptions. Since then, American families, including the DeBoers, have been waiting to bring home 65 children whose adoptions were in progress [4] when the freeze was announced. According to the Ministry of Social Protection, 30 of the 65 orphans have special health conditions and need regular treatment that is difficult to find in Kyrgyzstan. Two have died. Families in Kyrgyzstan have adopted only four.

Since the collapse of Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s administration [5] last spring, new officials have promised to lift the moratorium and allow the adoptions to proceed. But Minister of Social Protection Aygul Ryskulova, who served as Minister of Labor, Employment and Migration under the old regime, says the government is just too busy to deal with the adoptions. What’s more, concerns linger [6] about the process and the Americans’ motivations. “The facts are still being investigated,” Ryskulova said of the motivations behind the original freeze. “During the last three years the Kyrgyz government found out the whereabouts of most of the children [who had been adopted prior to the ban]. Some of them were adopted by Israeli families, some by Germans, some of them by US parents. But we still don’t know where some children are. We don’t have an exact number of internationally adopted children, where they were sent, how they live now. We have to find out this information.”

The United States has urged the new government to speed the investigation and lift the ban. In February, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor to the Office of Children's Issues in the State Department, traveled to Bishkek to assure local officials that Washington will regularly inform them about the adopted children's lives in the United States until they turn 18, according to local media reports.

MP Shirin Aitmatova, who has pushed for the adoption process to be reformed, says her colleagues in parliament have difficulties understanding the urgency of the issue, given the wide array of social and economic challenges [7] facing Kyrgyzstan.

Moreover, she says, anyone wishing to help with reforms must combat the persistent rumors that foreigners are using the Kyrgyz children for profit. “There was fear that children could potentially be used as organ donors. Some people also assume that since American families that adopt receive certain financial benefits and tax breaks, they must be doing it less out of the goodness of their hearts and rather to supplement their income. Many unfounded ideas circulate in the local population regarding foreigners who express the wish to adopt local children,” Aitmatova explained.

In 2007, Mala Tyler adopted a Kyrgyz boy, Beck, and brought him home to Concord, New Hampshire. She urges Bishkek to lift the moratorium, arguing that the delay only hurts the children. “If the Kyrgyz government has concerns about the welfare of the adopted children, then they need not look any further than the children who are already home. They are loved, they are cherished, they are happy. Relinquishing a child, whether by a parent or by a country, is surely not an easy decision -- certainly not to be taken lightly -- but these children have homes and parents and siblings waiting for them. They have a life full of love waiting for them,” Tyler said.

Yet it seems a knee-jerk fear remains a persistent challenge to any hopes for reform. A parliamentary deputy and former human rights ombudsman, MP Tursunbai Bakir uulu, says that Kyrgyz society is right to be concerned about how these children, often living in underfunded institutions in Kyrgyzstan, will be treated abroad. Without providing evidence, he told “There are so many stories in the world when adopted children were abused, humiliated, even killed. I don’t support international adoption."

Editor's note:
Beishe Bulan is the pseudonym for a Kyrgyz journalist.
· Beishe Bulan
· Kyrgyzstan
· International Adoptions
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