Orphan's Tree Commitment
Orphan’s Tree Response to Russian Government Action
Many of you have asked about the implications to Orphan’s Tree of Russia enacting a law prohibiting U.S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans. In short, our ministry programs for the older Russian orphans are unaffected. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor the situation closely. Allow me to explain.
Last month, the Russian Duma passed the Dmitri Yakovlev Bill and just last week President Putin signed it into law. This action by the Russian government prohibiting adoptions is in direct response to our government enacting the Magnitsky Act earlier in the year. The Magnitsky Act denies Russians accused of human rights violations entrance into the U.S, the use of our banking system, and prohibits real estate purchases as well.
I’m truly sorry that Russia is using their orphaned children as the political pawn in this game of tit-for-tat with the U.S. However, this is evidence of what I’ve observed for the past two years – a declining relationship between our countries. On a personal level, the restrictions placed on foreigners appear to be increasing.
As I stated, I believe this new Russian law does not impact us directly. We’re not in the adoption business, but political suspicion of all “foreigners” is once again elevated. We purposely maintain a strong Russian presence in both the Nadezhda Fund and Together Fund (our two partners registered as Russian non-government organizations), but it’s no secret to the Russian government that the majority of the funding comes from the U.S.
For you and me, the bottom line is the same – I believe Orphan’s Tree is called to work with Russian orphans regardless if the circumstances are good or difficult. We’re called to be a faithful presence and continue to provide material, emotional and spiritual support to older, at-risk orphans. And I believe our work is more important now than ever before, because we minister to orphans who will never be adopted.