How You Can Make A Difference

The Dima Yakovlev Law is nationalistic and violates the human rights of so many Russian orphans.  Thankfully, there are ways to make your voice heard.  Below you will find links to a petition that can be electronically signed and to some of what I see as the most powerful testimonies against this ban.  Another way to stand against the Dima Yakovlev Law is to start talking to people in positions of government power.  Weather those officials are from the government of Russia, the US, or anywhere else, they can help make your voice bigger.  Many of the children stuck in orphanages don’t have a voice, it is vital to be their voice.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/01/russias-ban-against-us-adoptions-the-human-cost/266817/

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/voice-of-the-child.html

http://www.latimes.com/local/great-reads/la-fg-russian-adoptions-20130521-dto-htmlstory.html

Reasoning Behind This Russian Legislation

One of the main reasons the Dima Yakovlev Law is so strongly opposed by so many people, is because of their beliefs as to why Russia passed the law.  The general consensus is not that Russian government passed the Dima Yakovlev Law for the well-being of their children, but as a way to maintain their pride, and retaliate against US legislation.  If the children are truly who Russian officials had in mind, it is likely that they would have taken a less dramatic route.  The reason behind Russia’s ban on American adoption is The Magnitsky Act.  The Magnitsky Act is a US bill that bans any Russian accused of being involved with the death of Sergei Magnitsky (a lawyer who died in Russian prison) from entering the United States.  Using children in a mess of adult political matters is wrong.  If the Dima Yakovlev Law was not truly made with full intentions of children’s rights and safety and nothing else, it should not have been passed.  Conditions in orphanages do not make them healthy places to grow up, and if children could come to America and be in a loving home they should be able to.

The Story Behind The Namesake

Dima Yakovlev was a child adopted from Russia into a US family living in Virginia.  In July 2008, when Dima (or Chase, the name he was given by his family in America) was just under two years old, he tragically died of heat stroke after being left in the car by his father for nine hours while he was at work.  His father, Miles Harrison, was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter later in 2008.  While describing Miles Harrison’s behavior when Chase was brought into the emergency room that day, a nurse who spoke in court wept.  The emergency room nurse said that Miles was “virtually catatonic,” that he rocked back and forth with his eyes shut, and did not speak for a long time.  When the nurse sat down and held his hand, he spoke and said that he wanted no sedation because he did not deserve to be relieved of any pain.  It is easy to see why Russian’s would be outraged to hear that Miles Harrison was found not guilty. Dima was one of Russia’s own and it is not pleasant to hear of a tragedy that has taken one of your people, especially when that person is a small child who was innocent and helpless.  It is also easy to see why people are unhappy that this case has sparked such a huge piece of legislation.  Cases of children being left in cars unfortunately happen periodically, and for many people, the fact that Dima was adopted from Russia does not relate to his death.

chase

Dima Yakovlev/Chase Harrison

Miles Harrison

Miles Harrison

Why You Should Take A Stand

The Dima Yakovlev Law is not widely supported.  Most Americans do not support it, especially those with plans or thoughts to adopt a child from Russia in the future.  Many Russian’s do not support the adoption ban, for the sake of the human rights of the children of their nation.  Because of this ban, less children will have the opportunity to grow up in a family; instead, they will grow up in an orphanage, without the blessing of people to call mom & dad.  It is speculated that the law was not made solely because Russian government was concerned about how their children were being treated in American families, but because they were retaliating against American legislation.  The fact of the matter, is that that retaliation is affecting thousands of children who deserve better.

Here are a few articles/videos that show the lack of support for this law,

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/28/russia-ban-us-adoption-children-rights

Russia’s orphans as political pawns

The Facts

In December 2012, The Dima Yakovlev Law was passed.  Also in December 2012, there were 52 US families in the “pipeline” waiting to adopt their children from Russia.  52 orphans were ready to meet their families, the people they would move halfway around the world with, be raised by, and be loved by.  With the passing of this law, those opportunities were ended. In the past 20 years, more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted into US families.  In recent years, a majority of children adopted from Russia into the US had special needs or were older, two circumstances that unfortunately make finding families willing to adopt harder.  However, the fact that so many of those children went to American homes shows how greatly the US contributed to Russian adoptions and makes you wonder what will happen to those in similar circumstances who were not yet adopted in the future.  What happened to Dima Yakovlev was awful, absolutely awful and unfortunately, similar situations have occurred before.  No child should be mistreated, but the chance that a child will be mistreated by their adoptive parents in the US is far less than the chance that a child will have major struggles to secure a somewhat normal and stable life when they age out of an orphanage if that is where they have spent their life.