The reason for this is not only the "law of Dima Yakovlev" and other restrictions for foreigners who willingly took children with health problems, but also the unwillingness of orphanages to lose their children, who bring additional funding.
As reported by Vostochnye Stories, the majority (52%) of orphanages in Russia are children with disabilities. In particular, in the Voronezh and Kurgan regions, every child from an orphanage has health problems. In Adygea, such pupils make up 75% of the total. However, they are in no hurry to adopt children with disabilities - only three out of 154 children who went to families in 2019 had health problems. In addition, over the past six years, not a single child from Adygea - even a completely healthy one - has left for foreign adoptive parents.
This feature is associated with the "law of Dima Yakovlev", adopted in 2012 and forbidding Americans to adopt children from Russia. In addition, in 2013, the ban also affected foreign same-sex families, and in 2014 - those who are not married but live in countries where same-sex unions are allowed. If in 2016 there were 6802 children with disabilities in orphanages, then in 2019 there were already 7355.
Seven times fewer children with disabilities go abroad now than eight years ago. Although it was foreigners who more willingly accepted such children into their families. By the way, in 2019, according to the Ministry of Education, 55 Russian regions did not give a single pupil to foreigners. In the Sakhalin region, where 1% of children with disabilities found families over the past year, the absence of foreign adoptive parents is associated with "the remoteness of the region and difficult transport accessibility".
However, according to experts, the reason lies elsewhere. Yana Leonova, director of the Change One Life charity foundation, told Important Stories that there is a certain unwritten rule - not to send children to foreign families in order to avoid scandals. “ Children are not sent to foreign families 'just in case' - even if this is not prohibited by law”, - she said.
According to the Ministry of Education, in 2019, 10% of the total number of children adopted by foreigners had a disability. Among Russian families, this figure was 3%. In addition, only 2% of potential foreign adoptive parents indicated that they would like to take only a healthy child. Russians chose this condition in 53% of cases.
“Russian adoptive parents are far from always ready to face our health care system, educational difficulties for such children, difficulties in their employment in the future... In Western countries, the chances of successful rehabilitation are often higher for various reasons, and children can indeed be“ cared for ”in difficult diagnoses”, - explains Leonova.
The stories of families with whom the "Important Stories" spoke show that the willingness of Russians to take disabled children into families often faces another problem - opposition from the state system.
“Lying on his back or half-sitting in a chair. Holds the toy in hand. He eats half-thick food from a spoon, drinks liquid from a bottle",- this is how 5-year-old Maxim was described on the website of the federal data bank, recalls his adoptive mother Victoria Silantieva. She believes that such descriptions are written on purpose so that the potential parent has no desire to take the child into the family.
However, Silantieva found the child's video questionnaire, filmed by the Gift of Life foundation, and was eager to take him away. When the woman arrived at the orphanage, the organization's leadership tried in every possible way to dissuade her from such a step. “They said: 'Why do you need a sick child?', They suspected that we were coveting a lot of money that would pay”, - Silantieva says. She was also met in the guardianship authorities of Balakhna in the Nizhny Novgorod region, to which the orphanage is subject. “They told me so: we will not give you [the conclusion], there will be a refusal”, - she added. After the court nevertheless allowed Silantieva to adopt Maxim, the guardianship specialist admitted: "You understand, I have been given a decree from above, I cannot go against".
“If there was a command not to give, they follow it. They do not want to give their children away so as not to lose money. Children with disabilities are increased funding that must remain in the system. Whether it is being spent as intended, no one will know. Max is disabled since birth, he is lying down, he will not tell anyone, he cannot complain or answer", - Silantieva explained.
Experts also confirm her assumption. Thus, neurologist and psychiatrist Grigory Kuzmich notes that disability is a "social diagnosis that gives money". In his opinion, in some regions, data on disability may be overestimated in order to attract increased funding from the state.
“Children who leave the institution are funding gone. In my practice, there was one case when a social educator said: "We would have given them away long ago, but the director is afraid that the money will not come", - added Nailya Novozhilova, chairman of the board of the Arithmetic of Good Foundation.