Friday, May 20, 2011

Washington Times -Poe

EASTON, Md. -- May 16, 2011 -- On May 6th, President Roza Otunbaeva signed into law a bill that will allow prospective foreign parents to adopt from Kyrgyzstan, after a two-year moratorium. This is welcome news for the 11,000 abandoned children living in orphanages in the country.

Kyrgyz 65

It’s also news that a group of Americans, known as the "Kyrgyz 65” has been waiting a long time to hear.

This group of 65 American families began the adoption process in Kyrgyzstan two to three years ago. They got caught in limbo when the moratorium was placed on foreign adoptions. When their adoptions couldn’t be finalized, these parents could not take their children home, and the children were forced remain institutionalized. Two of the Kyrgyz 65 children passed away during the moratorium from lack of proper medical care.

Kyrgyzstan’s 120 orphanages are chronically underfunded and conditions in many rural orphanages are dire. Many orphans live without running water, sewer systems, or basic medical care.

Kyrgyzstan is a small country roughly the size of South Dakota. Bordered by neighbors China, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, this landlocked country is the second poorest country in Central Asia. This former Soviet republic directed the vast majority of its exports to the former Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, Kyrgyzstan, without a major trading partner, was left in economic ruin. The country tried to rebound by pumping up its agricultural production, but continues to struggle.

Reinvented Adoption Process

Before the Kyrgyz government halted adoptions, families from the United States, Israel, Italy, Germany, and Australia adopted 235 children between 2006 and 2009.

More than half of the children adopted by Americans had severe medical issues, include birth defects that required urgent medical attention.

Despite political upheaval that consumed the country last year, Kyrgyzstan managed to put into place new processes and guidelines to allow foreign adoptions. Kyrgyz officials say their intent was to reorganize the adoption process, and institute stricter controls in an effort to protect children from trafficking, abuse and exploitation.

Damira Niyazalieva, a Kyrgyz lawmaker explained, “We needed to put a specific, state body in charge of international adoption, to control the whole process from the very beginning."

The Social Welfare Ministry has been tasked with acting as a central “clearing house” for foreign adoption. That’s marks a major change from the past, when foreign-based adoption agencies would have direct contact with Kyrgyz orphanages. Now, all agencies will go through the Ministry to process inter-country adoptions and the country will permit no direct contact by agencies with orphanages or orphans.

The plan is for the Ministry to create a bank of children eligible for adoption. Agencies will apply to the Ministry on behalf of prospective parents, and the Ministry will do the matching between child and parents, after background checks are conducted on prospective parents.

American families interested in proceeding with applications for adoption in Kyrgyzstan should be aware that, although many lawmakers have advocated that the country sign The Hague Treaty, it has not been ratified yet. Additionally, finalization of the law lifting the moratorium is expected to take three months.

As for the “Kyrgyz 65,” the U.S. government indicated that it will make an exception and grant these families the necessary paperwork to bring their children home and finalize their adoptions, despite the fact that these adoptions were processed without adherence to the Hague guidelines.

This will mark an important break from the State Department’s prior stance, which remains in place in all other non-Hague countries, which holds that these standards are mandatory for inter-country adoptions for Americans.

Andrea is an adoptive mother and a journalist. She is at work on a book, "The Red Thread," a collection of stories told by families united through adoption. She is also owner of Media Branding International, a public relations/media consulting firm.


Friday, May 13, 2011

three myths about international adoptions

Three myths about international adoptions
And how is the situation really
Erica Marat | Washington Friday, May 13, 2011

In 1992, triplet baby girls enrolled in one of the orphanages in Astrakhan. One girl soon died, two others had injuries. "They are not tenants," - returned a verdict doctors. Nevertheless, the girls were to adopt an American family, grew, learned, and today one of the sisters - the artist.

Somewhat different fate of two sisters in Pskov in the year. Eight-eleven-Kate and Natasha (the children's names changed) decided not to move to the U.S. after they intimidate schoolteachers. "You arrive and you will cut it, kill, and so forth - that talked a girl", - says Dmitry Fasolyak, a consultant who works with international adoption agencies in the U.S.. The sisters eventually written waiver, despite the fact that they have already met with their adoptive parents and their aunt, acting as guardian, fully supports the idea that girls living in the U.S..

The incident took place in Pskov, after a year ago has been returned to Russia seven Artem Saveliev, adopted by a young American Torrie Hansen. Artem flew to Russia alone, without adult supervision. If there was a note from the foster mother with a request to take the child back.

After the incident with Artem Russia has suspended international adoptions. For the resumption of the United States and Russia should sign a bilateral agreement. A similar situation exists in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where international adoption is temporarily suspended. In Azerbaijan and Belarus, international adoption is prohibited. Georgia allows foreigners to adopt children with disabilities only.

Authorities and the public in these countries are concerned that child care is bad, they grow in the alien culture and may even become victims of transplant organs. Nevertheless, the number of orphaned and abandoned children in these countries in the thousands. The vast majority of them live in orphanages.

"All the above arguments one can give one explanation - nationalism," - says 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. According to him, the authorities of these countries consider the norm to raise children in orphanages instead establish a system of adoption. But few people realize that after two years in an orphanage children lag far behind in the mental and physical disabilities from their peers raised in the families, he added.

Especially the United States gained notoriety because the Americans are leading the world in adoption of children from abroad - every year American families adopt up to 120,000 children, of whom more than 30,000 from other countries. Usually such arguments are without any evidence or granting organizations of international adoption the opportunity to express their opinions. Voice of America "examines each argument separately.

"Over the adoptive parents of children bullied"

Arguments about what over foster children being bullied, often used by those who adamantly opposed to international adoption. The basis for such views is the statistics. Since 1991 more than 60,000 foster children in 1916 died as a result of domestic violence.

However, few know that the fate of graduates of Russian orphanages is composed as follows: 10 persons life be arranged only at one, four fall into the jail, four sopyutsya and one committed suicide.

American experts note that in 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.

Physical abuse is common in children's homes. Anna Kirei, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a few years ago was a volunteer at one of the orphanages in Bishkek. Anna tells how, during the day children walk, she saw that one of the girls took a snail in his mouth. Kirei asked her to spit out the snail. Instead, the girl sat down and covered her head with both hands. "She thought I was going to hit her for it" - says Kirei.

Foster families must be prepared to ensure that children are mentally or physically unwell. Often, children who spent the first five years of living in orphanages, diagnosed reactive attachment disorder. "A child or strikes all around, whether it be foster parents or strangers, or fail to develop an emotional attachment to anybody," - says an expert from the Social Security Agency United States, on condition of anonymity.

Several U.S. organizations, helping American couples to adopt foreign children, warn that even if a child falls from an orphanage in a loving family - still no guarantee that it will be easier, and it quickly gets used to it. The adoption process is accompanied by numerous stressful for both the child and for new parents.
But such cases are a minority. Basically adaptation goes smoothly, because foster families willing to all sorts of difficulties when adopting a child from another country. In the case of surprises they can always contact the adoption agency for help and advice.

"Cultivating bodies"

The Russian blogosphere is often flit article that the orphans had been adopted from the former Soviet countries, are used as organ donors. "On the black market in human organs the heart is 160 thousand dollars. The liver is 60 to 150 thousand. The pancreas is estimated at 45,000 dollars. Kidney - 10 thousand. Foreskin of a boy - of 20 000 green. For 5 years in the country disappeared 150,000 children "- writes the author of one of these blogs.

Although official sources, these data do not confirm the fear that children will use the bodies, deeply rooted in the view of officials and the public in some post-Soviet mills. "I heard that our children use for kidney transplantation", - shares with "Voice of America politician from Kyrgyzstan, who requested anonymity.

Voice of America asked for a comment to the anesthetist from Arizona Teresa Edwards. According to her, the purchase of human organs in the U.S. - is illegal. For organ transplantation requires the consent of the donor or his family in case of death of the donor. In addition, the tissue donor and recipient must be compatible, which is detected by sophisticated tests. Some patients wait decades before they find a suitable organs.

Teresa Edwards has more than two years waiting for the foster daughter of Kyrgyzstan. She has repeatedly had to deal with suspicions that the American parents of children trafficked abroad as donor organs.

"Cases of organ transplantation in children in the United States are extremely rare," - she said. Most children serve as bone marrow donors for leukemia treatment for someone in the family. However, more often, children are recipients of organs from adult donors. For example, in certain diseases of the biological parents can give a child a part of his liver.

Among doctors there is a code of ethics not to harm and not engage in illegal organ transplants continues to Teresa Edwards. "There are times when the doctors come to patients who were transplanted organs in developing countries", - she said. In such situations, if a doctor there is doubt the legality of the operation, the doctor refuses to provide their services. If a doctor found guilty of violating their professional code, it denied a license.

"To do organ transplants in the U.S. illegally is simply not profitable from a commercial point of view," - said Edwards. That the cost of medicines and medical personnel ready to work illegally, paid off, you need to make every year hundreds of operations that would have cost to patients at least 20 000 dollars, it counts. Patients also need post-operative observation that after the illegal organ transplants they can not get from conventional doctors ... "It's hard to imagine such a market in the U.S." - concludes the doctor.

"Orphans should be raised in a spirit of national culture"

In Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union often heard the opinion that, giving children for international adoption, the state deprives them of the opportunity to know their own culture and language.

Sure, some children are adopted by foreigners are losing part of their native culture, leaving abroad, recognizes Dmitry Fasolyak. Children generally learn about their traditions of festivals and clubs, which they organize the adoptive parents.

"Many families go to the Russian Orthodox Church, Russian cooked meals and help children to retain Russian" - the director of the American adoption agency Linda Perilsteyn. Some families celebrate Christmas and Easter, watching Russian performances.

Much depends on the family - some parents try to teach children their native language and culture. Other families pay less attention to such matters. Nevertheless, most families tell children about their native country, and even carry them home, said Fasolyak.

But there are other cases. "Some children associate the Russian language with the language of violence and are trying to forget it", - says Dmitry Fasolyak. For these children a change of atmosphere after moving to a new country can forget about the fact that they had been abused in orphanages.

A society without children's homes?

For some Americans who have adopted children from the former USSR, it was important to adopt a child from a country where children are just in children's homes rather than in foster care.

Not surprisingly, these parents are fundamentally opposed to education of children in orphanages. In the U.S. there is no children's homes. American parents wishing to adopt infants, must stand in line. They are thoroughly tested before they are permitted to adopt a child. "There were times that the adoptive families were denied adoption because twenty years ago, they smoked marijuana or something stolen in the store", - said Fasolyak.

According to Teresa Edwards, in the early 1990's, American families adopt children mainly from Eastern Europe. In particular, Poland, Romania and the Baltic countries. However, as these economies develop, reduce the number of abandoned children and the increased number of local families willing to adopt. Today in these countries, foster care is almost completely replaced the orphanage.

"The ultimate goal of any state should be a complete deliverance from the children's homes" - Teresa Edwards said. Many studies have shown that the best place for raising a child is family, agrees Tom DiFilipo.
Other materials about events in the CIS countries, see the heading "Commonwealth and regions"

Friday, May 6, 2011

"Kyrgyz-65" in the fight for their children

Alley Ayman with her parents and older brother Josh, Dzhoelton, Tennessee, USA.


Gүlayym Ashakeeva

In Kyrgyzstan, the ban on international adoption. The main innovation - the government takes responsibility for the fate of these children.

May 6, Kyrgyz President Otunbayeva signed into law on amendment of the Family Code.

The moratorium on adoptions of Kyrgyz orphans by foreign nationals was introduced in 2008. Since then, 65 American families lived in anticipation of permission for something to take to her adopted children from Kyrgyzstan.

Alley: «I'm from Kyrgyzstan»

3-year-old Ellie lives in a small American town with his parents Mary and Kevin, and his older brother Josh.

Maria - photographer, devoted to her creative work and family. Kevin - a geologist working in the field of innovation. Josh goes to school, he's a great game of American football.

Alley Ayman Kevin Lattem: «I'm from Kyrgyzstan», Dzhoelton, Tennessee, April 15, 2011

3 years ago the American family went overseas in distant Kyrgyzstan to adopt a Kyrgyz girl chubby Ayman Alley. Then they do not even suspect, through the difficulties they have to go ...

"I'm from Kyrgyzstan" (I am from Kyrgyzstan) - I hear on the other end perky voice.

After greeting me by phone in English, Ellie asked me my name. I had the: "Ellie, I am also of the Kyrgyz Republic" and begin to talk in Kyrgyz.

Few listened to me, the girl handed the receiver to the mother.

Maria tells which way they had to go for today's happiness:

- In January 2008 we began the process of adoption. Alley was born in late March of that year, so we started all preparations before her birth. In late May, went to Tokmok orphanage, we first met Ellie. For two weeks, three of them with her ​​husband and son every day we drove from Bishkek to Tokmok to see the little Ellie.

The second time we arrived in Kyrgyzstan in October to have to take Ellie home. A total of 10 months we have managed to arrange everything and bring the little girl. We are very fortunate that we were able to adopt her before the introduction in Kyrgyzstan moratorium on international adoption.
You know yourself, how many families now can not take away the foster children, because everything slowed down. The children remain in orphanages.

"Kyrgyz-65" in anticipation of children

Since 2008, 65 American families are making every effort to pick up foster children from Kyrgyzstan.

"We already know the name" Kyrgyz-65 "," say Frank and Gabrielle Shimkus, foster parents Azamat from Bishkek's home.

- 65 families, gathering all the required documents in Kyrgyzstan, were only waiting for a court decision. But with the introduction of the moratorium, we found ourselves in gridlock. Since then, over the past three years, 65 families are fighting for the right to take their foster children. We are in business days doing that. Sometimes communicate with each other, does not stop correspondence.

By working together, negotiating with the Kyrgyz government, and in ourselves - with our governmental authorities. Sometimes hold meetings by telephone.

Many of these children, serious health problems. All of them can be cured on its feet. Of the 65 children two died. If they had been with foster parents, this would have happened " - says the mother of Azamat Gabriel.

Azamat (Aidan Josiah-Azamat Shimkus) in June is 3 years old.

Azamat (Aidan Josiah-Azamat Shimkus) is still in Bishkek orphanage. January 2011

Currently, he is in Bishkek orphanage. In Azamat congenital malformations in the face.

Recently, Gabriel, putting all their efforts in America, managed to organize the operation Azamat by German doctors, who arrived in Bishkek.

As soon as Azamat will be in the United States, American doctors will continue the operation.

In 2008, when Frank and Gabriel stayed only a month to pick up Azamat, a ban on the export of children.

Since then, the family had already appeared two daughters, the eldest of whom "can not wait Azamat" says Gabriel.

And in the room Azamat now 2 years forlornly waiting for his master's crib.

According to the deputy Jogorku Keңesha Damir Niyazalievoy 95% of children awaiting adoption, there are various diseases:

- Our citizens do not take these sick children. For example, who wants to take the baby with syphilis? Furthermore, among these children, there are those who need very expensive operations overseas.

Adoption: a responsible, difficult, expensive

For Americans, the adoption of a child from another country - it is very responsible, complex and expensive solution. First of all, American family, reshivshayasya so, contact one of the agencies on adoption of children from abroad and fills special documents.

Must provide an official letter from the police, a letter from the bank's financial position, results of medical examination, the response from friends and the whole pile of papers ...

During the month, the agency verifies the application and documents provided by the family.

Only if all information is confirmed, the agency officials visited the family to see the living conditions and talk to the neighbors. At the same time, their personal dossiers being tested at the FBI, and every family member passes fingerprints.

Only after this adoption agency children from abroad began to work with Kyrgyzstan on the proposal. On average, this period may take up to six months. If approved, the family is sent to Kyrgyzstan.

In Kyrgyzstan, American parents are "new vitality to school: a different language, traditions and customs, norms of behavior, communication with local authorities and officials.

Nazgүl, in 2005-06, he worked as a translator for an American family and assisted in the removal of two disabled children, tells how to Kyrgyz officials are cashing in on this:

- The process lasted from September to July next year, which is very long. While in Kyrgyzstan, I helped them in adopting a child, and I know I had to spend a lot of money. First, the representative of the regional administration and an official from the Ministry of Education asked for money for their services. In addition to officially paid money, we had to "pay" another 3 thousand dollars. I remember it exactly.

Azattyk: Who were transferred to the 3 thousand dollars? How many people got the money?

- There was a man of the regional administration, which coordinates the activities of children. This man was our contactee. He said he gave the money to me, and we will share. I know exactly what was another man from the ministry, and 3 or 4 people shared the money.

Now give the floor to Mary, mother of Ellie. My question about how much cost the adoption, she responds:

- In general, the whole process cost us 53 thousand dollars. Yes, this amount includes expenditures made ​​in the USA. Adoption itself is worth 20 thousand dollars. Part of the money went on the trip. The first time went to Kyrgyzstan, three; second trip to join us my friend. Each time, as in Kyrgyzstan, stayed for two weeks in a hotel. We can say that 15,000 is gone, basically, on a trip. Agency paid 15 thousand. The remaining 23-24 thousand dollars spent in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Observation of foster children

In 2008, due to serious violations of the law on adoption of children by foreign citizens has been declared a moratorium. But it should be noted that to date has not been brought any criminal case on those grounds.

Kyrgyz society often hears and sees in the Russian media reports that foster children abroad are exposed to violence, and their organs sold.

In conversation with me, Gabriel, American mother Azamat from Bishkek, does not hide his surprise from the fact that the Kyrgyz people believe such rumors.

- For us, these children are more expensive than us. We want them to grow not at the orphanage, which will affect the rest of their lives, isolating them from society, and that they grew up in a family with parents. God is my witness, I am very ready to give your body Azamat. For this child I am ready to do everything in my power - in a trembling voice said Gabriel.

In America, families who adopted children from abroad, is constantly under the supervision of social work agencies, schools, where a child is in, as well as neighbors.

Aibek Ismailov, a member of the board of directors of the association "The Future of Kyrgyz children in Virginia, said that the Kyrgyz authorities could easily be monitored for foster children.

- I talked to the guys from the Consular Service of the Kyrgyz Embassy. Their duties are to oversee the foster children from Kyrgyzstan for their lives. They call for families to learn how and what, if the child is older - talking to himself. Sometimes visit families to see everything with my own eyes. It's all part of the functions of consular service.

Familiarity with the historical homeland

American families who have adopted children from abroad, often tell their foster children about their homeland.

Americans tell their children to "Kyrgyz roots" of Kyrgyzstan, using multimedia techniques. USA.Who left 3 years ago in America Ellie prepares next year to come to Kyrgyzstan with her parents.

- I want to make photos of Kyrgyzstan. This is my professional interest. And Ellie, I think, to learn more about their country, it will be better understood.

Even now, despite her age, we're talking Ellie, that she was born in Kyrgyzstan, and she understands what Kyrgyzstan.

Every two months, she meets with his Kyrgyz friends. I myself know that this wonderful country of Kyrgyzstan, - says mother Mary Alley.

Our history we would like to complete the string of letters written to the birthday Ellie and posted on the Homepage of Mary.

"... somewhere, back in Kyrgyzstan, on this day, March 29, your mother probably remembers how she gave you 3 years ago. I hope that her mother's heart must have felt, with some tenderness, I love this child, what an amazing life she lived, and I thank the heavens for what they gave us such a gift. I would like to see your mother and tell her most about this ... "