When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Russian-To-Russian Adoption Booms, But With Too Many Sad Endings

Russian dolls
Russian dolls
Sergei Burlachenko, Kiril Zhurenkov, Sergei Melnikov

MOSCOW - Russia is going through a home-grown adoption boom.

In the changing landscape of adoption, 6,700 children were adopted or placed with foster parents inside of Russia last year. It is a marked change since the mid-2000s, when most adoptive parents were foreigners.

Now the majority of Russian adoptees are adopted by Russian parents. Last year, only 31.4% of the children adopted in Russia were adopted by foreigners.

But there’s also another, less optimistic figure: last year 6,337 adoptees were returned to orphanages, the vast majority at the initiative of their new parents. It is clear that in nearly all cases, the children were rejected by their new parents due to conflicts in the family.

Russia has begun instituting "adoption schools," which provide training for prospective adoptive parents, to limit such unfortunate conclusions. These schools have opened all over the country, and since September are required for anyone who wants to adopt a child in Russia.

One adoption school has been in operation in the Moscow Orphanage No. 19 for the past 20 years. Here, prospective parents could meet with a child only after having gone through the training. The orphanage’s specialists would choose parents for the children after this. Some were ultimately refused. Then the child would live with the family as a foster child, until the child either reached legal age or was officially adopted. The orphanage helped the foster parents financially and also gave them psychological, medical, social and legal support.

“More than 900 people took part in the training,” says Irina Osina, head of the department that prepares families for adoption at the Orphanage No. 19. “A successful adoptive or foster family requires much more than the typical signs of success. They have to have a certain level of knowledge, skill and experience in order to structure their relationship with the child correctly."

How to provide support and help, and to avoid hurting the child or giving him or her false promises or hopes, is at the heart of the training. "In our experience, only 30% of those who want to become adoptive or foster parents realize what kinds of problems they will have to face," says Osina.

Now, the Ministry of Education has made these specialized three-month training courses mandatory for everyone who is planning to take in a child. The prospective parents are told about the fears and disappointments that they might go through during a foster child’s adaption to the family. They are also taught how to prepare their own relatives for the new child’s arrival.


For foreign parents hoping to adopt a Russian child, it is not necessary to take the course in Russia, but they will have to show proof that they have completed a similar course in their home country.

In general, specialists welcome the new law, but it was not completely free of controversy. Some have been exempted from the course, such as those who have been successful foster parents, as well as close relatives, including step-parents. The paradox, though, is that most of the time when children are brought back to the orphanage, it is by relatives who had adopted them, not by unrelated adoptive parents.

This can be explained by several factors, both psychological (unrelated adoptive parents are often more prepared to take responsibility for the child) and material. It turns out that relatives, especially elderly relatives, will give up guardianship voluntarily if they do not have money to feed the child or provide adequate housing.

Another problem related to the organization of the adoption schools is that there are not enough specialists to teach them. Without good teachers, experts say, the future of these well-meaning reforms is still unclear.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


The West Has An Answer To China's New Silk Road — With A Lift From The Gulf

The U.S. and Europe are seeking to rival China by launching a huge joint project. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States will also play a key role – because the battle for world domination is not being fought on China’s doorstep, but in the Middle East.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Indian Prime Minister Narendra and U.S. President Joe Biden shaking hands during PGII & India-Middle East-Europe Economics Corridor event at the G20 Summit on Sept. 9 in New Delhi

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Indian Prime Minister Narendra and U.S. President Joe Biden during PGII & India-Middle East-Europe Economics Corridor event at the G20 Summit on Sept. 9 in New Delhi

Daniel-Dylan Böhmer


BERLIN — When world leaders are so keen to emphasize the importance of a project, we may well be skeptical. “This is a big deal, a really big deal,” declared U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this month.

The "big deal" he's talking about is a new trade and infrastructure corridor planned to be built between India, the Middle East and Europe.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the project as a “beacon of cooperation, innovation and shared progress,” while President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen called it a “green and digital bridge across continents and civilizations."

The corridor will consist of improved railway networks, shipping ports and submarine cables. It is not only India, the U.S. and Europe that are investing in it – they are also working together on the project with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia is planning to provide $20 billion in funding for the corridor, but aside from that, the sums involved are as yet unclear. The details will be hashed out over the next two months. But if the West and its allies truly want to compete with China's so-called New Silk Road, they will need a lot of money.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest