U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., will offer a first-of-its-kind resolution aimed at protecting children and families caught in the middle of legal adoption changes. Wicker's resolution will be introduced at the 57-country OSCE Parliamentary Assembly this month in the wake of new adoption laws banning U.S. families from adopting Russian children.
"This is about putting children first," Wicker said. "Regardless of the countries involved, no one should change the rules in the middle of the game. Children who have already bonded with adoptive parents deserve to be protected under the laws in place when their adoption process began.
The measure up for debate at the Parliamentary Assembly's Annual Session in Istanbul on June 29 urges OSCE countries to resolve differences related to inter-country adoption and avoid any "indiscriminate disruption of inter-country adoptions already in progress."
This January, a new law in Russia barred Americans from adopting Russian orphans. The law affected approximately 700 children who were in the process of being adopted. In nearly half of the cases, the children had already met and bonded with their prospective adoptive families.
Senator Wicker's resolution also requests the OSCE Ministerial Council to clarify international commitments safeguarding the nascent family formed where an inter-country adoption is well-advanced. The OSCE is the only regional organization that includes lawmakers from Russia and the United States.
"The introduction of this seminal resolution marks a significant step forward for the millions of children currently living without a safe, loving family," said Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. "Brain research and common sense agree: children have a basic human need for a family. Because of Senator Wicker's leadership, our global policies will better reflect this important principle."
Parliamentarians from across the 57 OSCE countries will vote on the resolution and declaration in Istanbul. Resolutions and the final declaration adopted in Istanbul help shape OSCE and national policy. The Annual Session, including committee debates and votes, are open to the press and public. The session runs 29 June through 3 July. For more information, click here.
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is comprised of 323 parliamentarians from 57 countries spanning, Europe, Central Asia and North America. The Assembly provides a forum for parliamentary diplomacy, monitors elections, and strengthens international cooperation to uphold commitments on political, security, economic, environmental and human rights issues.