Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow weighs in on US adoption ban

(Reuters) - The head of Russia's Orthodox Church urged citizens in a Christmas address on Monday to adopt Russian children after President Vladimir Putin signed a law last month barring Americans from doing so.

The ban retaliates for U.S. legislation designed to punish Russian human rights violators which Putin said is poisoning relations. Critics of Russia's legislation say Putin has made the welfare of children trapped in a troubled orphanage system hostage to political manoeuvring, dimming their chances of finding loving homes or adequate medical care.

Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, a strong supporter of Putin, paid special attention to the issue in a Christmas message, lending support to the president's promises that Russia will take care of its own.

"It is very important for our people to adopt orphans into their families, with joy and a special sense of gratitude to God, giving them not only shelter and an upbringing but also giving them their love," he said.

Opponents of the new law are planning a protest rally against it on January 13 and have already won backing from some artists and the liberal party Yabloko.
The number of adoptions by Russian families is modest, with some 7,400 in 2011 compared with 3,400 of Russian children by families abroad - nearly 1,000 of those by Americans.

More than 650,000 children are considered orphans in Russia, including those rejected by their living parents or taken from dysfunctional homes. Of that total, 110,000 lived in state institutions in 2011, according to government figures.

In signing the legislation, Putin echoed Russian lawmaker allegations that American parents who have been accused of abusing their adopted Russian-born children have been treated too leniently by U.S. courts and law enforcement.

He also signed a decree ordering improvements in the care for orphaned Russian children and appealed to patriotism, suggesting that Russians have an obligation to care for the country's disadvantaged children.

Kirill added a religious element to that message, saying: "The Lord tells his followers that if they want to reach the Kingdom of God they must ... share their opportunities with the needy - primarily invalids, the elderly, and children."


"'Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them,' says the Lord. These words from him should ... make us all realize how important children are in the eyes of God," Kirill said.

"And as we celebrate Christmas I would like to appeal to everyone with a request: If you can take this important step in life aimed at adopting children, supporting orphans, take this step. There should be no orphans in our country."

The Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar and celebrates Christmas on January 7.

Kirill repeatedly drew criticism last year over allegations of a lavish lifestyle and excessively close ties with Putin. The Patriarch once likened the 13-year rule over Russia by the former KGB spy to a "miracle of God".

More than three-quarters of Russians consider themselves Russian Orthodox, but far fewer attend church regularly despite a resurgence of religion since the demise of the communist Soviet Union two decades ago.

Putin, 60, has cultivated close ties with the Orthodox Church since he first rose to power and has leaned more on it for support since starting his third term as president in May following a wave of protests against his rule.

Kirill's midnight service at Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral was aired live on state television, which also showed Putin attending a service in the southern city of Sochi.


  1. I'm a US citizen and an Orthodox Christian of Serbian ethnicity (I attend a ROCOR parish).

    I am also familiar with situations in the US where American families who know nothing about the Orthodox Christian faith and the Russian heritage adopt children and attempt to raise them according to the western mindset.

    Mr. Putin and Patriarch Kirill are right. Russians can take care of their own, and with our Lord's help, they will.

    1. you are right. they can. but they don't. just like we skip over american kids and jump over seas.

    2. Jared, of course I cannot vouch for the motives of everyone. I have, however, heard over the years from married couples trying to adopt a child, that the U.S. placed nearly impossible obstacles, both financial and other, which led them to adopt a child from another country, rather than to remain childless. From another angle, Americans seem less opposed to adopting a special needs child than do their Russian counterparts.

      I do, however, admit to sorrow whenever I hear of a Russian child adopted by American Protestants and raised in that religion.

      Andrei's remark about older parents adopting bothers me with its unfairness. I can guess only that he never has yearned for children.

    3. Andrei's remark about older parents adopting bothers me with its unfairness. I can guess only that he never has yearned for children.

      I apologize if I was a little brusque - the trafficing of people bothers me and even with the best of intentions that is what this is. And while for some of these children the outcome may be good for others their fate has been unspeakable!

      In truth there is no nation in the world that children are being not being born and raised in the most dire circumstance including the United States but rather than try and address this an exotic baby from Africa or East Europe?

      Is my remark about really "older parents" unfair". I yearned and still yearn for children - we raised four. We married "young", very young by modern western standards perhaps 20 and 18.

      One of my sisters raised 5 she also married at 18. Another sister who delayed marriage until 29 conceived and bore with difficulty one child and after that was not able to bring her pregnancies to terrm - anectdotal yes but the reality is peak fertility for human beings is late teans early twenties - like it or not. Average age for first marriages in USA for women 27 years old and I bet that has been lowered by so called "minorities" and is higher among the demographic likely to consider a foreign orphan. A major cultural problem, a culture that does not place a high enough priority on child raising. Building a family has become an after thought not an entry into adult life and responsibility - sorry for the rant

      1 Unto every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
      2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted

    4. Thank you, Andrei, for softening your remarks a little. I still don't detect, though, any empathy for older people who are unable to have their own children and eventually turn to adoption. I married at 29, bore our fourth child when 43 and miscarried the fifth two years later. No artificial obstacles prevented children. We were blessed, despite my age. Many people are not. I will not negatively criticize them for attempting legal adoption through whatever legal opportunity is available to them.

      Adoption in the U.S. is not so easy as possibly you imagine. We no longer have orphanages, for example, because they were replaced by the child welfare system. An odd form of racism sometimes prevents prospective good parents from adopting across cultural/ethnic lines using the argument that "blacks and whites cannot understand each other". Once a parent reaches the age of fifty, he is considered an unfit potential parent because of age. (Maybe this is a state-by-state regulation. It was true for my brother-in-law where he lived.)

      There is too much to address from the lines about "A major cultural problem. . ." and "Building a family. . .": issues regarding child pampering, rather than child raising. the definition of "becoming an adult". and so forth.

      Regards to you and yours.

  2. Long overdue, what is it with Americans adopting children overseas? Bet you Americans wouldn't like it if there children were being taken to Russia.

    The whole thing is really perverse, American kids are being contracepted out of being conceived in the first place, aborted in their millions after being conceived, non fecund homosexual marriage is the cause de jour and people including the unmarried and those well past child baring age etc filling their empty nests with children from other lands - with the underlying arrogant asumption they will be better off in America

    1. Abortion and homosexual union are perverse, and pious American Christians (both Orthodox and those of other Christian confessions) decry the degradation in our own and other western cultures and are actively working to change that. However, abortion is a terrible problem in Russia, too, I understand. I agree with A Reader in his comment above about the rest of your rant. It seems to me you are putting the most uncharitable face possible on Americans (older or otherwise) adopting children. The adoptive parents I know are overwhelmingly the most faithful, self-sacrificial and loving of people, who don't deserve to be characterized as you have done. It would tear your heart out to see the terrible conditions of deprivation in the orphanages and situations out of which kids are being adopted from overseas. Why don't you ask some of those kids if their American parents made an "arrogant" assumption that they would be better off in loving families with the means to provide for their basic physical and emotional needs?! I bet you'd get quite a different take on this.

  3. Patriarch Kirill continues to legitimize the bankrupt Putin regime.

  4. How about Orthodox parishes in the USA each adopting a Russian Orphanage????? What I mean is: collect money to help the orphanages in Russia feed and clothe the orphans in Russia?

  5. Kyle,
    Bankrupt compared to whom?

    Steve Barrie - excellent idea!