Letters: U.S. debt doesn’t concern orphans

I read with amazement the letter from Charles Allen, of Morgan City, titled “Children from Russia take on debt.” I continue to be surprised by people who talk about adoption, especially international adoption, with no real knowledge of it. So I would like to educate your readers briefly on Russian adoptions.

To clarify, Russian President Valdimir Putin signed the law banning adoptions as a political retaliation against the United States for criticizing human rights violations by Russia, and not anything related to our national debt. But regardless of the reason, the real issue is the 700,000-plus children who are in orphanages throughout Russia under deplorable conditions.

How do I know this? In 2000, my wife and I traveled to Russia to adopt our two sons. Yes, we tried to adopt in Louisiana, but we were told we were too old to adopt. Private adoption is risky, as many young mothers are just in it for the money and can change their minds at the last minute. Also, if the birth father doesn’t sign the proper paperwork, he could come back years later to try to claim his biological child.

Our youngest was 10 months old, and our oldest was 16 months old when we adopted them. Our youngest could not sit up on his own and weighed a meager 10 pounds, (the weight of a typical 21-month-old U.S. child). He was left in his crib day after day with little to no human contact, so much so, that the back of his head was completely bald and he required physical therapy for weeks to teach him how to sit up. Our 16-month-old weighed only 16 pounds and couldn’t walk.

At age 16, children are aged out of the Russian orphanage system and placed on the streets, where they must try to survive the best way that they can. Many have children at a young age, place them in an orphanage, and the whole process starts all over again. So I ask, “Do you really think these children are better off staying in Russia for whatever reason?” P.S. I voted for Mitt Romney.

Johnny Manela

director of recruitment, BRCC

Prairieville