07 January 2007

Watch This Space

Debbie asked what the reaction has been here to the new Family Capital Law. I haven't heard anything yet. (Remember that post about Russia being shut for the holidays?) But, I'll ask around once we're back at work next week and see what people are saying.

Basically, to boost a declining birth rate, Russia has introduced incentives for families to have more than one child--either biologically or through adoption. The government is providing a significant sum of money (250,000 rubles--about $10,000) in the form of a pension account. This is a one-per-family offer whether you have 2 children or 12. The money is a sort of voucher than can be used only for housing, education of any of the children or a pension. I don't really understand the pension part, but will ask.

**Edited to add this summary from an FRUA post:

If the 250,000 rubles was added to the pension fund (still need to clarify what this is), the pension will increase by 1096 rubles/month. The posters says this would buy two quarts of milk daily. (I pay 30 r for a liter for imported fresh milk, so that would be about right.)

The poster says the same amount of money would buy an apartment in Vladivostock (but I think he has his sizes wrong...I think he means sq m and not sq ft) or pay the entrance fee to university.

Safeguards have been included. The "vouchers" are not accessible until three years has passed from the date of the child's birth or adoption. Parents whose parental rights have been terminated, or who cancel an adoption, or who adopt a stepchild do not qualify for the new benefits. Parents who die, or who abuse, abandon, or relinquish their child(ren) pass the rights to the benefits involuntarily to their children. I read that as a person couldn't adopt a child, claim the benefits, relinquish the child and keep the benefits.

I know there has been a lot of panic in the IA community about this. I think most of it is unfounded. From what I've read, it's good idea that may lack funding. I think it's a very positive step that will allow families who otherwise couldn't to stay together. I don't think that it will significantly change the rate of international adoption. I don't think that there has been a great rush to the children's homes (but wouldn't that be great!).


Maggie said...

I can imagine it's scary to people who are adopting. I know that the patronat law freaked me out (and rightly so... that's how I lost Vladimir).

Another thing to keep in mind is that many of the hundreds of thousands of children in orphanages are not even available for adoption. They're voluntarily put there by families who can't provide for them. I know in Vladimir's dietsky dom there were around 32 kids -- only 13 were available for adoption. The rest had families that still had some legal rights. This family law may enable people to retrieve their children from the orphanage and be able to provide them. And that wouldn't effect international adoption in the slightest.

Maggie said...

By the way, my experience is mainly with that one orphanage. Someone please contradict me if I'm incorrect and Peanut's orphanage was just atypical.

kate said...

No, Margaret, I think your experience was typical. I've heard different figures quoted about the percentage of children available for adoption...but usually it's quoted to be around half.

Deb said...

Thanks so much for posting this. It's nice to hear your opinion since you're there.
I don't think it will hurt IA much. It may just make the wait for a referral a bit longer but it's already long so what's another couple of months. Thanks again. Anxious to hear what others have to say about it when you get back to work.

Jenni said...

Thanks for this post. I've heard many people in the IA community starting to "panic" about this, but I agree with you that it may not affect international adoptions in the least. Hopefully, it will allow all those children who are living in orphanages, but not available for adoption, to be reunited with thier families.

There were many children in my kids' orphanages who were there on a temporary basis because their parents could not afford to provide for them. I think this law may be geared more towards helping them.

Lauren & Cupcake said...


can you email me directly. My email address is under our pic on the blog.

Anonymous said...

OK, so where is El Paso in the daily check in?

votemom said...

your explanation makes me feel better.

Calico Sky said...

thanks for explaining this. Quebec in Canada has an incentive program, you get more money for each birth.