Russia recently passed a law banning the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families. Although it is widely believed that this was politically motivated, Russia cited as one of its reasons that the U.S. is one of three countries that have not ratified the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, along with Somalia and South Sudan.
Ironically, the U.S. government played an active role in the drafting of the Convention. Unfortunately, the Convention has not been ratified by the U.S. so far, due to opposition by various political and religious groups. Some of these groups believe that the Convention threatens homeschooling and the rights of parents in the U.S.
In many respects, the Rights of the Child outlined by the Convention are consistent with New York laws determining the best interests of the child. Factors commonly required in the State laws regarding best interests of the child outlined below exemplify the similarities:
- The emotional ties and relationships between the child and his or her parents, siblings, family and household members, or other caregivers
- The capacity of the parents to provide a safe home and adequate food, clothing, and medical care
- The mental and physical health needs of the child
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- The presence of domestic violence in the home
- The ascertainable wishes and feelings of each child concerned (considered in light of their age and understanding)
- Physical, emotional and/or educational needs now and in the future
Currently there are adoptions well underway of children living in orphanages in Russia who have already bonded with their prospective U.S. parents. Many of these children have special needs or disabilities. Unfortunately, these adoptions have been put on hold indefinitely.
While there is no guarantee that ratification of the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child would change this outcome, it is long overdue for the U.S. to join virtually every country in the world in ratifying the Convention.