International Adoption in Russia

The principle of priority of national adoption over international adoption is laid down in art.124 of the Russian Family Code: a child can be adopted by a foreign citizen only if there is no possibility to place a child in a family of Russian citizens, living in Russia, or to his/her relatives independently of their citizenship and of their place of residence. An information about  children left without parental care is stored in the federal and regional Data Base of Children Left Without Parental Care. Consequently, foreign citizens wishing to adopt a Russian child, apply to the manager of a regional data base. However, while there are 72 managers of regional data bases of abandoned children,   only part of them  work with foreign  prospective adopters (more information can be found here). 

Adoption  is done through a court judgement. A competent court for international adoption cases is a court of the second instance of the place where a child resides. Turning to the international legal framework for international adoption, the first thing is that Russia is not a party to the Hague Convention 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Instead, Russia has concluded bilateral agreements on cooperation in respect of intercountry adoption with several countries: with Spain (in 2015), with France (in 2012), with Italy (in 2008). In 2020 the agreement on cooperation in the field of international adoption with Israel had been signed in January 2020 (not yet into force).  

Statistically, there were 203 judgements on international adoptions in 2019, thereas  there were 416 judgements in 2016. As it makes sense that international adoption cases are complex, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation  regularly provides an overview of the judicial practice on international adoption cases  – (the most recent overview of the  court practice )   is available in Russian.

Finally, coming to the culturally determined values relevant to an adoption, it is to be noted the existing blanket ban on all adoptions by same-sex partners laid down by art.127 para 1 alinea 14 and art. 146 of the Russian Family Code.   In fact, projects of cooperation in  respect of adoption with the Great Britain, the New Zealand failed due to this ban.  The agreement with Israel had been signed  under the condition that same-sex partners woud not be able to adopt.


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