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December 26, 2012

The Department of State continues to follow developments in Russia related to Federal Law No. 186614-6 and remains actively engaged in discussions with the Russian government regarding concerns that, if signed into law, this legislation will needlessly remove the opportunity for hundreds of Russian orphans to join loving families each year. The Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian Parliament) approved the legislation in a unanimous vote on December 26 and it will now go to President Vladimir Putin for signature or veto. The Department of State has not received any notice that adoptions to the United States are suspended, and both the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continue to work closely with Russian authorities on intercountry adoption issues as set forth in the U.S.-Russia adoption agreement.

U.S. families currently in the process of adopting a child from Russia are encouraged to reach out to the Department of State at AskCI@state.gov to provide information regarding where they are in the adoption process. We encourage families to use the subject line “Intercountry adoption in Russia – family update.” We will seek to provide information directly to families that contact our office through email as it becomes available. Information regarding the passage of any legislation that affects U.S. citizens who are in the process of adopting a child from Russia will also be posted on adoption.state.gov.
As noted in an email (below) from Natash Shginian, the Russian media is looking for stories of Russian adoptees which will highlight the positive results of living in a safe, permanent and loving family.  If you know of an appropriate family or adoptee please have them contact Laris Mason, Executive Director of International Assistance Group and member of the NCFA Board of Directors.  Larisa can be contacted at larisamason@yahoo.com

Larisa is hoping to collect pictures, short stories and pertinent facts regarding the child’s and family’s adoption.

Recognizing the urgency of the proposed ban on intercountry adoption, please respond to Larisa by close-of-business on Friday, December 21st.

Thank you for all that you do for the children we serve.


Best Wishes,

Tom DiFilipo

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Dear Colleagues:

We all are very concerned by the critical situation in Russia regarding the possible ban of adoptions by American families proposed by the Russian Government.

I believe that using the Voice of the Child is the most important action right now. Governmental officials as well as representatives from the adoption agencies and other Non-Governmental Organizations cannot have the same strength as the voices of the children.

Children have the right to speak out and they will be listened to. We are working with the media in Russia to bring the Voice of the Child loud and clear to the Russian public and to the Russian government.

If you have any families who have adopted children with special needs, or children who were saved and are thriving because of international adoption, please, ask them to provide pictures of their children and a short story (half page) with any important or pertinent facts regarding the child’s medical condition and their past history. They will be published in the Russian media. Please, send the information by Friday to Larisa Mason, the member of the board of directors of NCFA specializing on Russia - larisamason@yahoo.com. We are working together on this very urgent matter. We also plan to have a few spokesmen - the adopted children - who will represent the entire community of other adoptees. They will write letters and everyone can sign. They also will speak through the social media.

JCICS is involved.

This is a way of protesting the proposed legislation and is a hope to stop the Russian Governmental action.


Best Regards,

Natasha Shaginian-Needham, M.D.
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Happy Families International Center, Inc.
The Senate passed a bill Wednesday night updating U.S. standards on foreign adoption services.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced the Intercountry Adoption Universal Accreditation Act, S. 3331, which would apply universal intercountry adoption accreditation standards to any person providing adoption services in connection with a foreign orphan under age 16 adopted by a U.S. citizen. 

The bill brings U.S. law in line with the United Nation’s Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and gives the U.S Attorney General authority to ensure adoption services in the United States are provided in connection the convention, among other things.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) co-sponsored the bill. The bipartisan bill, which passed by voice-vote, now heads to the House for further consideration.

We expect the House version, H.R. 6027 to be passed before the holiday recess.