Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Congressional Delegation Urging Russian President To Not Halt U.S. Adoptions
With Russia's recent announcement of an immediate freeze on U.S. adoptions after a Tennessee mother sent her 7 year-old adoptive son back to Moscow, United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with over a dozen Senate and House colleagues, urged Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to lift the suspension on adoptions by American families. Led by Senator Gillibrand, the bipartisan Congressional delegation expressed deep concern over the Tennessee incident, but emphasized that there are thousands of American families who want their adoptive children to thrive in a caring, safe environment and asked President Medvedev to ensure that the adoptions of Russian children by American families will continue.
"Every child should have the opportunity to grow up in a loving family," said Senator Gillibrand. "As a mother of two young children, I know children thrive when they are surrounded by a loving, supportive family in a stable, permanent home. I hope that we can continue adoptions between the U.S. and Russia, and I will work to ensure that our system serves the best interests of the children and their new families."
In a letter to President Medvedev, Senator Gillibrand and Congressional members wrote, "We are deeply concerned by the recent incident involving Artyem Saviliev and his adoptive mother, and the concern it must have caused you and the Russian people. However, on behalf of thousands of Americans families who have lovingly adopted Russian children or hope to adopt children in the future, we respectfully request your leadership in ensuring that intercountry adoptions between our two countries -- particularly those already in process -- will continue."
Russia, the third largest source of adoptions to the U.S., announced this week that the suspension will continue until the U.S. and Russian delegations reach a formal adoption agreement. There are approximately 3,000 pending adoptions of Russian children by American parents-to-be, with hundreds of families nearing the end of the adoption process.
The letter was co-signed by: Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Richard Burr (R-NC), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Sam Brownback (R-KS); Representatives William Delahunt (D-MA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Castle (R-DE), Bart Gordon (D-TN), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Bob Etheridge (D-NC), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Donald Manzullo (R-IL), Bob Inglis (R-SC), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), and Virginia Foxx (R-NC).
The full text of the letter is below:
April 22, 2010
President Dmitry Medvedev
Dear President Medvedev,
We are a group of United States Senators and Representatives who focus on issues related to vulnerable children and intercountry adoption. We are deeply concerned by the recent incident involving Artyem Saviliev and his adoptive mother, and the concern it must have caused you and the Russian people. However, on behalf of thousands of Americans families who have lovingly adopted Russian children or hope to adopt children in the future, we respectfully request your leadership in ensuring that intercountry adoptions between our two countries -- particularly those already in process -- will continue.
The welfare and safety of children must be the goal and responsibility of all nations. We can assure you that many in the U.S. Congress are concerned by this case. It belies the reality that tens of thousands of children are adopted successfully by American families every year, allowing them to thrive in loving homes.
We will continue to work with our colleagues in Congress on legislation and policy initiatives that help improve the adoption process and support adoptive families so that all children are ensured of protection. We will work with Secretary Clinton on such international or bilateral steps as needed to protect children's rights and best interests. We believe children are best served when they may live in a permanent and safe family setting.
You have demonstrated your leadership in protecting children and ensuring that they live, grow, and flourish in permanent and safe families by maintaining intercountry adoption. We hope that adoptions between our two countries continue and stand ready to support such improvements as are needed to serve the best interests of the children and their new families.