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Hall: Assess adoption ban by impact on kids
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Marat and Ara Catherine are the children of Tim and Mary Hall of Collinsville. The couple has experience with both domestic and international adoptions.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

If Russia’s new law banning its children from being adopted by Americans passes a litmus test, it may have merit.

That test is whether the law is best for children, said Tim Hall said of the bill that was signed into law Friday by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“If you wrap it in that question, then you will get the results you need to get,” he added.

The measure will take effect in January, according to online reports. It is being enacted in response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be human rights violators, reports stated. They added that the ban has angered some Americans and Russians who say it victimizes children to make a political point.

Hall said he had not kept up with reports on the measure, and as a result, is not familiar with the implications.

However, he and his wife, Mary Hall, do have experience with international adoptions.

The Collinsville couple adopted both of their children. Their daughter, Ara Catherine, was adopted domestically. Their son, Marat, was adopted from an orphanage in Kazakhstan, which formerly was part of the Soviet Union, said Hall, who is Henry County administrator.

“We had done a domestic (adoption) and just thought we would try something different,” Hall said.

Another reason was Steven Curtis Chapman, a contemporary Christian singer who had been through the international adoption process. “We read about his experience and thought it was pretty interesting,” Hall said.

Marat now is 15; Ara Catherine is 17, according to Hall, who added that in his estimation, “I think the biggest difference” between the domestic and international adoption experiences “was there was an inherent distrust of each other, primarily because of cultural differences” he encountered when adopting his son in 2004.

Hall noted that “in Kazakhstan, the adoptions are a national process. It’s not a localized process at all, and there is a national agency that you have to deal with.”

The inherent distrust is prevalent in countries which have a Russian or third world background, he said.

“They distrust Americans, and unfortunately, we bring a lot of it on ourselves for getting into the system and trying” to push an adoption through rather than following another country’s prescribed process, he said.

Often, there is an attitude of “I’m an American and I’m smarter than you” or “this is how we do it,” Hall said. “You cannot go and be a guest in another country and try to tell them how to act.”

Because Hall realized that early in the adoption process, he said he tried to avoid that mindset, and both he and his wife followed the process as instructed.

He did not know how the new law would impact adoptions that are underway or the number of international adoptions each year.

According to wire reports, the law terminates the prospects for 50 youngsters preparing to be adopted.

The Halls spent 33 days in Kazakhstan in 2004 during the final stages of the process to adopt their son. At that time, there were about 15 to 20 other American couples there to adopt a youngster, Hall said.

“I know that because we all tended to congregate at the same restaurant” which had an English-speaking staff, he said.

At “this one particular moment in time, there were probably 10 to 15 American couples in this restaurant, and they were all there to adopt children,” Hall said. “Of course, that was Kazakhstan” and not Russia, “but I would imagine the story is the same anywhere. I would think there are a lot of international adoptions,” including many that may be impacted by Russia’s new law.


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