DALLAS – Officials at Buckner International say the recent political furor over a news report about a mother who sent her adopted son back to Russia on a one-way flight has not affected the group’s “Angels from Abroad” orphan hosting program scheduled for this summer. The story has generated threats from Russian foreign ministry officials to suspend adoptions from the country.
Irina Shytova, Russia Program case manager for Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services, told prospective adoptive parents of children from Russia in an April 9 letter “we are excited to continue our planning for our 2010 Angels from Abroad program” July 30-Aug. 16.
“We hope to bring 16-17 children between the ages of 6 and 12 from (St. Petersburg) orphanages,” Shytova wrote.
The Tennessee adoption story, which had no Buckner connection, sparked international outrage in early April and caused Russian officials to threaten to halt all adoptions of Russian orphans into American families. Debbie Wynne, program director for BAMS, said early April 15 that, despite rumors to the contrary, there has been no decision by the Russian government to legislate that halt.
In her letter to parents, Shytova wrote, “It is pointless to make any conclusions or prognosis at this time until there is an official response, decision or announcement on the part of the Russian government. We continue to monitor the situation and trust that God has a plan for each of your families and your adoption process.”
According to Shytova, Angels from Abroad is Buckner International’s two-week hosting program that pairs older Russian orphans with American host families “to provide these older children a chance to learn about American culture, share their Russian culture and experience living in a family. It also helps raise awareness about the need for adopting older children.
“With more than 750,000 estimated orphans in Russia, there is a tremendous need for adoptive families, especially families for older children,” she said. “About 75 to 80 percent of the children available for adoption are 5 years old or older. Older children in Russian orphanages face a bleak future if they are not adopted.”
Currently Buckner and Dillon have 32 families in varying stages of the adoption process for Russian children.