Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

West Adopts Children

MOSCOW -- North American and Western European couples have turned to Russia since the Soviet breakup because it has a growing number of unwanted kids and has been relatively open to adoptions by foreigners.

Russia now has over 600,000 orphans, many of whom are underdeveloped and receive relatively little attention in state homes. Some have physical and mental disabilities.

Americans adopted more than 3,800 children from Russia in 1997, the State Department says, making it the most popular country for international adoptions by U.S. citizens.

Another 1,700 children were adopted by families in other countries, mostly European and Canadian, according to figures from Boris Altshuler, an adoption expert who directs the Child's Rights Program under the Moscow Human Rights Research Center.

Russian officials say 30,000 Russian children were put up for adoption in 1997, and 9,000 went to Russian families. Economics and a traditional reluctance to adopt prevent more children from finding homes in Russia.