change the world badge

change the world badge


Child Psychology Blogs

Concerned About Unconventional Mental Health Interventions?

Concerned About Unconventional Mental Health Interventions?
Alternative Psychotherapies: Evaluating Unconventional Mental Health Treatments

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Russian Adoption Ban: Magnitsky Act, or Attachment Therapy Problems?

On July 9 and 10, 2017, the New York Times published articles by Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo, and Adam Goldman on the subject of meetings between Trump campaign representatives and a Russian lawyer during the 2016 election campaign. These articles reiterate a common belief about the Russian prohibition of adoption of Russian children to the United States—they claim that Putin put this restriction in place when infuriated by the Magnitsky Act of 2012 and the sanctions it put on Russia.

It may well be that Putin was annoyed by the restrictions, but concerns about the fates of Russian children in the United States had started rather earlier in both countries. Russian-adopted children had appeared repeatedly in news reports of ill-treatment and even child deaths. In 201l, I commented on this at In the same year, discussed the USA-Russia Adoption Treaty, with reference to child maltreatment; at that time, Pavel Astakhov, the then-ombudsman for children in Russia, had been asking for continued contact with children adopted from Russia to the U.S. and for continuing their status as Russian citizens. Also in 2011, this issue was discussed at The Beagley case in Alaska, involving mistreatment and “hot-saucing” of a Russian-adopted boy, caused much horrified discussion in both the U.S. and Russia.

All of these very genuine concerns about inappropriate treatment of Russian children in U.S. adoptive families were under discussion before the Magnitsky Act. There is no question in my mind that Russian adoptees, as well as children adopted from other places, were in many cases badly mistreated by adoptive parents who had bought into mistaken beliefs about attachment and about Reactive Attachment Disorder.  These parents had been told by “attachment experts” that emotional attachment of children to parents occurred because of power assertion by the parents, and that such attachment was essential to prevent later vicious criminal behavior. The parents believed this, and they did assert power by physical means including withholding food and exposing children to cold and other discomfort. In some cases, they countered disobedience by forcing children to eat or drink large amounts, sometimes causing death.

Pavel Astakhov investigated these problems carefully and recommended prohibiting adoption of Russian children to foreign countries. One part of his reasoning about the U.S. is that this country has never ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Children, a distinction that we share only with Somalia.

The point I am making here has nothing to do with the Trump campaign or any election events, of course. I simply want to remind people that the ban on Russian adoption is not a simple tit-for-tat reprisal created by Putin in response to the Magnitsky Act. It was based on very real events in this country, and I could only wish that Americans could ban adoption of American children to persons who are likely to use attachment-therapy related power assertion methods that have harmed children in the past—and are still harming them today.    



  1. When I was reading, I was wondering "where is/was Pavel?"

    And he used the UN Convention on the Rights of Children.

    [We don't see too many Somalian children adopted, do we?]

    "I simply want to remind people that the ban on Russian adoption is not a simple tit-for-tat reprisal created by Putin in response to the Magnitsky Act. It was based on very real events in this country, and I could only wish that Americans could ban adoption of American children to persons who are likely to use attachment-therapy related power assertion methods that have harmed children in the past—and are still harming them today."

    And other countries which are high or medium on the Human Development Index.

    Will send you the Paul McGeough article - he is Fairfax Media's Chief Correspondent.

    Also it might be good to look at "Sweden is the best country to be an immigrant". Russia is 24th; Poland 43rd [and it is getting harder to be a refugee or an asylum seeker in Poland].

    Sweden is the best country to be an immigrant: source - Washington Post

    Paul McGeough - Russia becomes a family affair

    This is what Australian politicians are doing in the probity field:

    Fitzgerald's ethical standards for Members of Parliament

    1. Adelaide DuPont
      There are a lot of migrants in Russia. Citizens from all over all over of the former Soviet Union go to work in Russia. Many of them are trying to obtain Russian citizenship. This is the limit of their dreams.

      In 2016, the situation developed to ignorance of the language and the rule of law in Russia, interacting with the society, cause a lot of problems. According to statistical data, over the past few years, the number of crimes committed by immigrants from other countries in Russia has increased. This includes fraud, inconsistency of migration documents, theft, vandalism. In fact, Russia can not be a paradise for these migrants because of all of them (the former Soviet republics ) after the collapse of the Soviet Union have been actively pushing out and driving the Russian population out of their territory. It was a real harassment. Russian children can not attend local schools and kindergartens. It was not safe.
      Now the inhabitants of these republics (eastern republics) go to us and bring their children to us. We do not fight with children ... so newcomers have the same rights as Russian children. Medical care and education are equally accessible for visiting children. But the Russians are in no hurry to create conditions for a comfortable life of labor migrants from neighboring countries. Residents of these republics are well aware that Russians traditionally do not offend other people's children . Therefore, many migrants leave their children in Russia because the Russians will give these children Russian citizenship, medical care and education. Thus, now the number of orphans in orphanages is being replenished. So the problem of orphanhood in Russia is not so simple to solve. It makes no sense to compare Russia with Sweden. We survived the hell of humiliation and disappointment after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will not post posters with the words "WELCOME" for migrants. We know that they will come to us in any case .
      Russia is the second in the world in terms of the number of migrants
      On attractiveness for foreign workers, our country is second only to United States

  2. Talks about the ban of international adoptions began almost immediately after the opening of these adoptions. Further, these conversations only intensified and outrage grew with every death of a Russian child in the United States. After promulgating the methods of investing therapy and death of Vanya Skorobogatov in the US ... discontent and indignation reached a peak of patience. In 2010, adoptions were frozen for US citizens. However, there was still a hope to correct the situation and establish new rules and laws. But Magnitsky's law finally destroyed these plans. In addition, the American side violated the new law and new rules on adoption right after the adoption of the new law. It was obvious that time was spent in vain. The new law on adoption does not work and will not work. The Magnitsky law was not the main factor for the closure of adoptions. 10 years P. Astakhov regularly spoke about the need to stop adoption for US citizens. But the opposition forced him to take steps to improve the rules of adoption and protection of the rights of our children in the United States. They still say that he failed and could not ensure the safety of our children. Nevertheless, he tried and did not hypocrite.

    1. In the 1990s, Mihail? [When were adoptions open...]

      Magnitsky is a solid law - other enforcements were needed. And cultural change.

      "After promulgating the methods of investing therapy and death of Vanya Skorobogatov in the US ... discontent and indignation reached a peak of patience."

      Investment and embedding as translations for attachment in Russian. Google Translate is amusing ... and disturbing.

    2. Adelaide DuPont
      In Europe, there is European Convention on the Adoption of Children

      The Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by virtually all states of the world - with the exception of the United States.
      How can Russia force the US to ratify this convention? The US does everything they want.
      International adoptions in Russia began in 1991. At first, these were isolated cases. Then it became a mass phenomenon.
      Initially, it was assumed that Russians can not provide a normal quality of life for orphans. At that time there was an economic crisis and extinction of the population . The opening of the international adoption was a chance for the salvation of orphans. Yes. At that time there were opponents of international adoption. Because Russia has experienced hard times for the not first time, but Russia has always had the opportunity and potential to save orphans. In 1991 for the first time in the history of Russia .... Russians used the help of foreign states in saving children. It was a risk and not all believed that this risk was justified.
      In 2010 Pavel Astakhov received an open letter from Gene Mercer, Ph.D., Honored Professor of Psychology at the College of Richard Stockton, New Jersey: Letter-to-russian-child-ombudsman /
      It explains one of the important reasons for the ill-treatment and death in the US of children adopted from Russia. This is due to the spread there of dangerous commercial pseudo-psychotherapy, called "attachment therapy" In his letter to prof. J. Mercer laments what is happening with Russian children in the US and calls Pavel Astakhov to at least temporarily prohibit Americans from adopting children from Russia (in the interests of both American and Russian orphans).
      In December 2011, Pavel Astakhov stated that he was "an absolute opponent of international adoption" and turned to Vladimir Putin with a proposal to completely prohibit international adoption in Russia. In December 2012, the State Duma introduced a bill, one of the amendments to which provides for the prohibition of adoption of Russian children by US citizens .


      Thought I would drop these two to show that I had done my homework. Also I was reading about the Fair Labor Act of 1938.

  3. Embedding therapy made a great impression on the Russians. Because it is very similar to the methods used by Hitler's Nazis to the Slavic (Russian) peoples during World War II. Russian children are, as it were Subhuman and attitude towards them as subhuman. Everything is very similar and the analogy arose instantly. Maybe Embedding therapists had sublime goals and wanted to save the children, but the methods and results are lamentable.

    1. When you think of that and of the history involved.

      And if a culture allows its children, especially those of minority or ethnic groups, to be treated as subhuman.

      Yes - we judge by results!

      And fighting against these embedded attitudes would be a good start.

  4. A concerned Pavel Astakhov even went to Montana's Ranch for Kids where Attachment Therapy/Parenting notions are prominent and many Russian children claimed to have "RAD" are abandoned by their American adoptive parents. But as I recall, Astakhov was denied entry.

    1. Dr. Jean Mercer: Open Letter to Russian Child Ombudsman

  5. Dear Jean Mercer,
    All Russian children's institutions will not use the Attachment therapy. State schools for the training of foster parents also have no right to advertise this technique. But there are private schools and private kindergartens. In addition, there is information on the Internet. This information is available and translated into Russian. Book Nancy Thomas "When love is not enough" You do not even need to buy. The translation of this book on the Internet is available. Http://
    Lawyer Olga Mitireva
    Provides free of charge for this information and even offers free legal assistance to adoptive parents and foster parents.
    Previous attempts to introduce Western mentality in Russia and Western methods of education failed miserably in Russia. Dissemination of information about the Attachment therapy is another attempt to break our mentality and to attach to Western civilization. From previous attempts, we can conclude that the forces will be in vain. It is also unpromising how to fight head against the wall
    But perhaps there will be new sacrifices and the children will die before this pseudo-scientific theory and practice is banned in Russia. Unfortunately, it takes time for rejection to occur. Just as it took time to reject gaming methods of schooling. For preschoolers, the game is a natural means of knowing the world. But for schoolchildren, along with the game methods of training, there must be a purposeful work that requires strong-willed efforts from the child. Otherwise, the result will be miserly.If children come to school to have fun but do not work .... they may not even learn to read. It took time for the teachers to understand this.

  6. Why stopped in Russia to advertise R. Federici? All his supporters fell silent . Probably the financing of these so-called supporters has ceased. Or people were impressed that he repeatedly participated in the justification of the killers. Nancy Thomas says that she was not directly involved in the death of children. Allegedly, the parents misuse her methods. Allegedly, when it applies methods of " therapy " is always a shocking result and even autistics and children with cerebral palsy recover. It is necessary to check whether they actually recover or it's lies. Probably it is necessary to examine children who underwent a course of treatment in
    therapeutic camp . It is necessary to find out what percentage of really recovered children. Teach parents to be dictators and keep discipline .. this is not a cure. This is a method of management and this is not the best method of management in relation to children.

    If the dictatorship and violence was a miracle cure for the treatment of mental Illnesses .... then in Russia, for several centuries in general, everyone would have been healthy and happy. However, the Illnesses does not disappear anywhere. And I do not understand what for it is necessary to create emotional slave? He will crush the dictator (the adoptive parent) at the first opportunity if the dictator (the adopter) wanes. And children have a habit of growing up, becoming smarter and stronger. This is the main difference between children and dogs. Dictatorship in the family always ends sooner or later.

  7. Book N. Thomas "When love is not enough" translation into Russian on the Internet. In addition, it is immediately suggested to download (copy) print this book. This method is used by religious sects when they advertise their faith. All this is very similar to the spread of religious sectarianism. file:///C:/Users/User1/Downloads/NThomas_block%20FINAL%20spread.pdf

  8. I want to tell you more. Russian social orphans who live in orphanages and boarding schools as a rule have relatives who visit them and take custody of them. Children thrown out of the post-Soviet space, as a rule, do not even know their nationality. They are all alone. Closing of these children is much more difficult than the recovery of Russian children from non-familial families. In these children there is indifference or embitterment. Many of them later try to find out their nationality. Now in Russia there is a show project "You're super!" Where orphans show their talents. Bogdan Kozlov 15 year old participant of this project asked the organizers of this show to find out what kind of nationality.
    I already see that he is Ukrainian .... but I had to do a genetic analysis. DNA analysis showed that it is a mixture of Slav, Gypsy and Moldovan (Romanian). Probably his biological mother is a Ukrainian (or Russian) and a biological father by a Moldovan gypsy. From Moldova and Ukraine, many ghostbaiters come to Russia. Bogdan was delighted when he learned his roots, Although I do not understand what a difference. For abandoned children it is important to know where they come from and where their roots are.
    Bogdan Kozlov 15 years old

  9. I'm sorry ... Google-translator distorted my words. Organizers of this musical show invited geneticists to make a genetic analysis of Bogdan Kozlov.

  10. From what I heard, Russian children adopted into the US still retained their Russian citizenship, unless it was formally removed. Thus, all the more justification for Russia's concern and pursuit of investigations on the maltreatment of their youngest citizens who were entrusted into the care of US families, and ultimate ban on allowing continued maltreatment with no accountability.

    Also, the US' State vs Federal jurisdiction over adoption matters certainly doesn't help in international adoptions. It's preposterous that each country should have bilateral agreements on adoption with each of the US states. This was a problem with suspected kidnappings -> Missouri/US adoption of Anyeli Rodriguez from Guatemala (US State Dept refused to cooperate with Guatemalan court orders, claiming Missouri had jurisdiction). This was also a problem with the just-signed bilateral agreement between Russia and the US (Florida refused to comply with US/Russia bilateral agreement over abuse of a Florida/Russian adoptee, claiming Florida had jurisdiction, not the bilateral agreement).

    1. The Federal vs. state authority is so confusing to everyone, on many issues but on adoption above all. I despair of explaining this arrangement to anyone who does not live in a federal system!

      It's regrettable that the Russian adoption question has been sucked into the larger question of Russia-U.S. relations as far as journalists are concerned (except for Kathryn Joyce, who understands this very well). I had hoped at one time that the Russian concerns about adoptees would help provide a framework for fighting systematic maltreatment of adopted children of all backgrounds, but that did not work out.

  11. It's like in the 90's, our girls left Russia hoping to become successful and wealthy in US. And then they said what a bad Russia. And what else they will say ? They have nowhere to go back. What will they say to friends and relatives? "I have come to US and become a prostitute?" It's a shame that in United States there are almost no real Russians . now, in US there is a set of Russian-speaking people from the post-Soviet space who call themselves Russians, because they are ashamed to call their real nationality. a pity ... they were OURS.
    But Americans are also sorry. They believe them and try to help. For 15 years they paid family Tsaranaev's allowance because of this family allegedly suffered from Russia. In fact, this family has never been in Russia and has nothing to do with the Russians at all. They did not even live in Chechnya. They left immediately after Chechnya drove out the Russian population from its territory and began to establish new (nationalist) orders. Lawlessness began there and it became dangerous to live there. They left long before the war and they could not suffer from Russia. They left immediately as Chechnya got out of Russia's control. At that time, thousands of Chechens fled from Chechnya to Russia and other states. The brothers Tsaranaev repaid the USA for kindness and sympathy. They are used to taking, but not giving.
    Of course we (the Russians) are bad, but for some reason Georgians are now more in Russia than in Georgia. Ukrainian guest workers flooded Moscow. Only old people and children remained in Moldova. All adult able-bodied population moved to Russia for work. But we are bad and aggressive. In Moscow, 70% of crimes are committed by migrant workers from the post-Soviet space, but this can not be said . this is not politically correct.
    People from the post-Soviet space are our people. We know them and understand them.
    But recently Arab refugees came to us from Europe .... Hmm .. RRR! Firstly, this is cruel to them, because in Russia there are severe winters. In the second ..... they will not live until winter. They are already crying and want to return to their homeland.
    We did not start this lawlessness in the Arab countries. We did not finance the so-called Arab Spring. We did not stir these hornets in the hope of establishing democracy. NOT WE !!! Why should we tolerate the rudeness and beastliness of these guys in our territory? We will not create a ghetto for them. We never did it and we do not know how to do it.
    We either live together on the same terms and under the same rules. Or they themselves will run away from us.

    1. Dear Mihail-- thank you for all the interesting information you send-- BUT I must say that this is not a blog all about Russia so I am not posting most of it!