OSCE supports U.S.-Russian adoptions

July 2, 2013

A 57-country conflict-resolution organization on Tuesday urged Russia to allow adoptions to proceed for the 300 U.S. families who had begun the process when a ban was imposed on Americans.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, founded during the Cold War to mediate disputes over arms and human rights, avoided singling out Russia by name. But the resolution, passed in an overwhelming vote, took clear aim at the ban on U.S. adoptions Russia imposed Jan. 1.

The resolution refers to intercountry adoptions and “urges participating States to resolve differences, disputes, and controversies related to intercountry adoptions in a positive and humanitarian spirit.” It also asks for special efforts to “avoid disruption of intercountry adoptions already in progress that could jeopardize the best interests of the child, harm the nascent family or deter prospective adoptive parents from pursuing an intercountry adoption.”

The measure was introduced at the OSCE annual meeting in Istanbul by U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who told the assembly it was unfair to change the rules after parents and children had met.

The resolution carries moral authority rather than force of law, but Wicker said in a telephone interview that it sent a strong message that would support the United States in negotiations with Russia over the children who had bonded with families.

“It adds legitimacy to the concerns,” he said and gives weight to U.S. arguments when Secretary of State John F. Kerry discusses the issue with his Russian counterparts.

Although a Russian delegate spoke against the resolution, a show of hands for the vote gave it widespread support.

Before the debate, delegates were shown a film, “The Dark Matter of Love,” about an American family adopting three Russian children, which documented how the attachments formed by a loving family deeply affect childhood development.

“All of these families deserve a happy ending,” Wicker told the assembly.

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