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Proposed Russian ban dismays US adoption groups

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U.S.-based adoption advocates indicated there were intensive efforts under way to derail the bill.

The Joint Council on International Children’s Services, which represents many U.S. groups interested in adoption and child welfare, said it was working with both American and Russian officials to resolve the matter, urging them to "put the needs and best interest of each child as the primary consideration."

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Others tracking progress of the bill include Denise Bierly of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, who called it "a significant step backward for the welfare of children," and Bill Blacquiere of Bethany Christian Services, one of the largest U.S. adoption agencies.

Blacquiere said that child welfare needs in Russia are extensive, and that its special-needs children would be better served if Russia availed itself of American expertise rather than strain bilateral relations. Russia has taken some steps to improve its foster care system and move more children out of orphanages, he said, but needs to invest more government funds.

Several adoption advocates suggested that the Russian bill was damaging even if it doesn’t become law.

"Even if it just bravado, it still does harm," said Adam Pertman, the Donaldson Institute’s executive director. "International adoption is already cast in a bad light, and some people will say, ‘This is just a minefield. I’m not going to go there.’ The losers are the children."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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