Letter from Mr. Astakhov

Hello, all–I had almost given up this blog–I mean, one writes day after day to no effect…And then, my technical blogging skills are not what they should be. I need to take a blogging course–and who has time, etc etc?

Due to recent events in Kazakhstan, I had been considering taking up the pen again…..

But today, I at last had a reply to a letter I sent, quite a few weeks ago, to Mr Pavel Astakhov, Children’s Rights Ombudsman (Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights) in Russia….

Like many of you, I have followed the situation of Russian social orphans and orphanages with a great deal of pain…While fixing its flawed system of child welfare (we have a flawed one as well!), Russia should of course also continue a meaningful international adoption program. I believed that Mr Astakhov and others knew full well that the vast vast majority of children adopted to the US were loved very much–and not abused at all. At the same time, I wanted to help set up an investigative committee to look at the terrible instances in which russian adoptees had been hurt and even killed–it is undeniable hat such events occurred. After all, the Russians do have a complete right to know how and why these awful examples of abuse leading to death have occurred. Would you expect the Russian not to care or be interested, and not to react? I do not agree with those who go so far as to say that the outrage is pure pretense on the Russian part. Yes, they play politics with social orphans–but we in the US need to share information with the Russians, and work together for child welfare.

Thank you, Mr Astakhov, for your reply to my letter, in which I said that I would love to help out with an objective investigative group, aiming to let Russians know more about the Russian children living over here–the great stories and the not so great stories. According to his letter, Mr Astakhov has sent “several appeals” for more information to Attorney General Holder and then Secretary of State Clinton–yet none of the letters were replied to! Diplomatic notes were said to be ignored.   Could this be true?

I am in the camp of those who want to hold all national governments accountable for the treatment of their social orphans,  and to encourage the greatest possible permanency and loving care for all children–including as part of that policy a major role for international adoption.

But wait, everyone!  What have we demanded of our own government regarding the crisis in Russian adoptions? Did the Obama administration take any real steps to work with the Russians, to help assuage their fears about these children?

I would  like to have an answer to that! Maybe our own government could have done much, much more to provide information to Russia about these awful and highly unusual cases….Does anyone out there know if it is true that Russian inquiries were ignored by our government? If this is possibly true, then our own government might have made a bad situation worse by not replying to valid inquiries…..

Mr. Astakhov–There are Americas who would love to help Russians understand more about the true situation over here–that the vast majority of Russian adoptees are beloved; but that we understand how distressed and concerned you feel about those who have been abused. One such case is too many, and we want to work together to allow adoptions to continue with a sense of trust….


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