Cultural Contrast: Russian Adoption Bans

There appears to be a stark contrast between political Russian views and the viewpoint of the Western society towards adoption. This issue includes values upheld by both cultures, leading to conflict between the countries and in turn, impacting citizens of both populations. This prime example involves a decree of strict Russian bans preventing foreign same-sex couples, American citizens and individuals from countries that recognize same-sex marriage from adopting Russian orphans.

From a traditional Western viewpoint, there are a few glaring issues with these laws that Russia has implemented.

The well being of the Russian orphans, which should be of foremost interest, is being jeopardized.

  1.  Discrimination is openly present in Russia and their views are now affecting individuals in foreign countries.
  2.  These laws are a product of too much focus on politics and propaganda, in turn threatening relations between Russia and foreign countries.

Let’s begin by addressing the issue regarding the Russian children. Can you imagine being a leader of a country with about 650 000 identified orphans and 110 000 children in state institutions, and then having the opportunity to find them nurturing homes? What would you do to handle this? I personally wouldn’t pass an international law banning worthwhile families from adopting these children, many of whom are in need of stable and consistent care.

The real problem is that there are only 20 000 Russian couples willing to adopt these children, leaving the rest subjected to a life in an institution. To me, this is evidently not a better option for them when compared to life as a member of a loving family with all basic needs such as nutrition and health care in place.

The majority of the Western world agrees that countries should not be banned from adoption because of their views on same sex marriage. Not only is this discrimination affecting the Russian orphans, but is also now impacting couples all over the world, even single and heterosexual individuals. In Canada, for example, dozens of Canadian couples are in limbo since they started the adoption process in Russia after meeting the intended adoptees, and are now devastated that their adoptions will no longer proceed.

From a Russian viewpoint, Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of Russia, explains that the document banning foreign adoption is necessary to protect adopted children from possible unwanted influence such as artificial forcing of non-traditional sexual behavior. This implies that the Russian leaders feel as if they are not discriminating but are merely protecting their children from being raised in an environment that they deem improper. They feel that these laws are implemented in the best interest of the Russian children as they claim that 19 Russian children have died because America has not stopped the abuse of Russian children that have been adopted by American couples.

From a Western perspective, these laws may seem unreasonable as the needs of orphans should invariably be at the forefront. Children could grow up in happy, healthy, loving families regardless of whether or not the country supports an issue that may not necessarily abide with the Russian viewpoint.

Overall, Russian Orthodox values and their moral standards are very different from the Western views. This is a result of contrasting heritages and overall distinct living situations. In regards to this specific example, my opinion entails that the plight of the Russian children should be of primary concern and the politics of this democracy should actually reflect the needs of citizens. In the end, we are all an extended family who should share the philosophy of always putting all society’s children first. Regardless of culture and politics, it takes a global village to raise a child.

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