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Kazakhstan Reiterates American Adoption Ban

Americans are still forbidden from adopting Kazakh children, an official in Astana has said. The ban will continue until Kazakhstan receives a satisfactory explanation from US authorities about the circumstances in which two orphans from the Central Asian state were found in a home for troubled kids last year.

The two children were found on a ranch housing children with “deviant behavior” in July 2012, Raisa Sher, chairwoman of the government’s Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights, told Tengri News on June 12.

She did not name the children’s home, but last July there were children from Kazakhstan among those staying at the Ranch for Kids Project in Montana when a group of Russian officials turned up with a film crew in tow to demand access to Russian orphans and created an outcry when they were refused.

The ranch describes itself as “a respite care home for adopted children who are experiencing difficulties in their families.” Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, a member of the delegation that visited last summer, described it as “a trash can for unwanted children.”

Sher said that Astana had not received “information” from the American authorities despite requesting clarification over the incident, and therefore “we are not renewing the adoption procedure with the United States of America until we receive a response from that country under the Hague Convention on the fulfilment of international obligations.”

Kazakhstan, which is a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention, suspended adoptions by citizens of the United States last August but has stopped short of slapping an outright ban on US adoptions as Russia did at the beginning of this year. (Moscow was acting in response to American legislation that banned Russian officials implicated in human rights abuses from visiting the United States. Critics said the Kremlin was punishing Russian children with an overtly political move.)

Sher said that since 1999 over 47,000 children had been adopted in Kazakhstan, 8,800 of them by foreign citizens.

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