Not All American Adoptive Parents Are Abusive

In response to "The Politics of Adoption," a column by Georgy Bovt on March 27.

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Editor,

With so many articles written about the abuse of Russian children, it's very refreshing to read Georgy Bovt's column. Abuse is not unique to Americans. All countries have citizens who will abuse their children, and that is very sad. One child who has been abused or has died at the hands of his mother or father is one too many.

When you read stories about the abuse or neglect of a child, the abusers should be held accountable for their actions, rather than the entire country in which they live.

Lola Waldrum
Mesquite, Texas



Editor,

My son Matthew was adopted from Vladivostok. He was 4 years old and had a cleft lip and palate. He is the joy of our life, and we will forever be grateful to the people of Russia for allowing us to bring this child into our home.

Matthew is now a beautiful, healthy and happy 11-year-old. We have told him that he was given up for adoption due to medical reasons and a lack of resources to treat his cleft lip and palate.

If only the Russian people could see and understand that most Americans who adopt are not rich people buying children to abuse them. We are actually working-class Americans who love and cherish the greatest gift the Russian people have entrusted to us -- their children.

Our son knows he is Russian and still speaks some Russian. He has fond memories of his native country, loves to go to the Russian grocery store and he has Russian friends at school. He is growing into a wonderful Russian-American young man.

Unfortunately, the Russian media do not report these kinds of positive adoption stories.

Barbara Johnson Kerr
Vancouver, Washington



Editor,

As an adoptive mother of five Russian-born children, I was happy to read Georgy Bovt's column. He presented the American side of international adoption in a very realistic manner.

There is no denying the fact that there are adoptive parents who are incapable of handling the stress of raising an internationally adopted child. But they are statistically a very small minority in our country, as Bovt pointed out.

Ramona Edwards
Huntsville, Alabama



Editor,

My brother adopted his daughter from Russia. Their child, given up by her mother who was a prostitute, was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome. This would be classified as a problem case in Russia.

What would have happened to my brother's daughter if she just stayed in the Russian orphanage?

The Russian media should show the children who have been rescued by Americans and given a home and love that they would have never experienced if it were not for those "bad Americans."

Laurie Mirus
Hampshire, Illinois



Editor,

As the mother of two sons adopted from Russia, it's very disheartening to see the many negative articles about Russian children adopted by foreigners. There are some terrible people in this world who should never be allowed to become parents.

I think that everyone should go through very strict requirements to be allowed to adopt. Children deserve to be protected. But some of the measures being taken by all countries only serve to increase the costs. For example, it cost us more than $40,000 to adopt my son, including visa costs, travel and agency fees.

This is a shame because many people who would have been wonderful parents are denied the chance to become parents. More important, many children who need homes and families will be denied those as well.

I am forever grateful to Russia for allowing me to be a mother to these two wonderful boys. They are very proud to be Russian, and I am proud of them.

Katrina M. Knepp
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



Editor,

The horror stories of children being abused at the hands of those who are caring for them are terrible. But there are so many other good stories of adoption. Should one abuser's horrid act wipe out the tens of thousands of others who have done what they promised to do -- give their children a safe, loving home?

We support Russia and it's people. We forever owe them a debt of gratitude for our children and their precious lives. Our family couldn't have come together if it weren't for another family half way around the world.

Michelle Kretsinger
Highlands Ranch, Colorado



Fewer Passport Checks

In response to "Tourists Rank Moscow as Third-Rudest City," a front-page article by Alexander Osipovich and Matt Siegel on March 14.

Editor,

Since Russia stretches 11 time zones, I realize that I have seen very little of the country by spending a week in St. Petersburg. But I thought it was one of the most interesting cities I have visited in Europe. I will surely return in the future.

My only wish is to make Russia more tourist friendly. The authorities could create a better impression on tourists if there were fewer border check points. I don't know how many times we had to show our passports, but I think we had to go through six or seven check points at the Finnish-Russia border.

Second, we had to turn in our passports for some administrative purpose at the hotel, and we were not certain when we were going to have the passports returned.

Olle Larsson
Getinge, Sweden