Russia is the third most popular country for U.S. international adoptions after China and Ethiopia, but now the country’s lawmakers are motioning to revoke their right to adopt.
A bill to ban Americans from adopting Russian children overwhelmingly won preliminary parliamentary approval this week.
"Foreign adoptions is a sign of ... our indifference," Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in televised comments on Wednesday, suggesting it would be better for Russia to raise its own children.
But the vote was also universaly cast as a retaliatory gesture against an American trade bill that orders the United States to deny visas to Russian human rights violators.
The Russian bill that would ban Americans from adopting Russian children is expected to pass its final reading on Friday. However, it still needs President Vladimir Putin's signature to become an official law. If passed, it could have significant consequences: Americans adopted 962 orphans from Russia last year alone.
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That's a big if, though. The Kremlin has reportedly distanced itself from the measure. And protesters heckled deputies as they arrived for the vote on Wednesday. One activist held up before-and-after pictures of a Russian child looking bruised, then happy with his new American parents. Another protester told Reuters, "It deprives children of the possibility to grow up in families of loving parents."