A recent feature story from Time Magazine drew some comparisons between the Russian adoption ban and the closure of the Romanian adoption program several years ago. The piece featured stories of parents caught up in the closure of the Romania program. Many had already met their children; their dreams were shattered when the program closed. Some of the families have chosen to continue contact with the child they hoped to adopt. Some still dream of ways to bring that child to the U.S. For others, the journey ended with the program’s closure…maintaining contact was simply too logistically difficult and, frankly, too painful. Many of the children were old enough to have understood they were (hopefully) being adopted. Exactly what message they were told is unclear, but it’s easy to see how the failed adoption only contributed to the hardships these children have already faced in their young lives.
Similarly, families caught up in the Russian adoption ban are heartbroken. Their dreams have gone unfulfilled. Their hearts are broken. And, for many, their savings are drained, leaving them with little hope of adopting a different child through a different program.
The road to adoption is rarely easy, nor is the road you take after an adoption is completed. While hopeful adoptive parents are never entitled to bring a child home and families are schooled on the level of risk that comes with the process, that’s not always salve on the wounds of a failed adoption. It doesn’t heal a broken heart, restore faith in a broken process or re-fill drained bank accounts. For most families, their intentions were pure and the children that they hoped to adopt were at the center of the process. They will forever wonder what happened to those children.
And what of the children on the other side of the world who’ve already met their potential new families? Who’ve already dreamed of a new life that will never come to be? As in Romania, exactly what those children were told remains unclear…similar to their futures. The international adoption story between U.S. and Russia isn’t over. There are no doubt many chapters yet to be written, the final outcome of which remains to be seen.