The 65 American families whose adoptions of Kyrgyz orphans have been stalled for more than a year are picking up political support in both the United States and Kyrgyzstan, as they hope to bring their ordeal to a quick conclusion.
US legislators became active on September 18 in trying to broker a solution. Eleven members of the US Congress sent a letter that day to the Kyrgyz Embassy in Washington, DC, requesting a meeting with Prime Minister Igor Chudinov during his stay in the United States in connection with the UN General Assembly. An embassy spokesperson said on September 22 that the congressional request was under consideration.
The catalyst for congressional involvement was US Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Other signatories of the letter included; Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS); Mark Kirk (R-IL); Maurice Hinchey (D-NY); Gerald Connolly (D-VA); Roy Blunt (R-MO); Tom Price (R-GA), K. Michael Conaway (R-TX); John Salazar (D-CO); John Linder (R-GA); and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).
"As a former foster mother to 23 children, I experienced first-hand the importance of every child being placed in a stable and loving family," Bachmann said in an email interview with EurasiaNet. She is familiar with the issue both because she has a constituent who is affected by the moratorium, and is a member of a Congressional group on adoption. "In this case, 65 children have been blessed with families who want to provide this wonderful experience, and it is imperative that they are united as soon as possible."
Chudinov placed an official moratorium on international adoptions last February to restructure the nation's system and investigate alleged corruption, though the processing of adoptions had effectively been frozen six months before that date. Since then, the 65 American families have been caught in a state of limbo. They had already been matched with - and, in many instances, had already met - adoptees during in the summer of 2008. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
In early September the US State Department said that there is no known timeframe for when the new Kyrgyz adoption regulatory framework will be submitted for parliamentary consideration. US diplomats noted, however, that a special court ruling would be sufficient to enable pending adoptions to be completed. These days, adoptive parents' anxieties are compounded by the special needs of many of the children, who, according to the families, could benefit from early medical intervention.
On September 17, Kyrgyz MP Damira Niazalieva raised the issue during a session of parliament, citing the waiting orphans' special needs. She called for the rapid completion of pending adoptions by Americans, according to the Kyrgyz News outlet 24.kg.
"They suffer from very serious diseases: hydrocephalus, cleft palate, cerebral palsy. Operating on these children requires a lot of money, which is lacking in Kyrgyzstan. That is why these children should be joined as soon as possible with new parents who can pay for their operations," 24.kg quoted Niazalieva as saying.
Laurie Rich is a EurasiaNet staff writer.