The Guardian newspaper reports that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his wife have recently adopted an orphan from Russia…
Three-year-old Victoria, from St Petersburg, has been living at the Schröders’ family home in Hanover in northern Germany for several weeks…
…It appears that the whole Schröder family flew to Russia a few weeks ago to collect the toddler.
The addition to the family was such a closely guarded secret that the secret service agency which provides Mr Schröder’s bodyguards was told “the Schröders will be four” just before they arrived at the plane to fly them home, Bild reported.
While I wish them all the best, I must confess that it always puzzles me a little that so many people (around 4,000-5,000 per year from the US alone) will go so far abroad to adopt when there are almost always thousands of children in their own countries also seeking adoption.
The many thousands of orphans in Russia (more than 180,000 according to the Guardian article) is certainly a tragedy and the often very poor conditions in which they live do tug at the heart-strings. They do need help, and many adoptors will have very good reasons for adopting abroad, but I can’t help but wonder how much of the rush to adopt foreign babies is also partly due to the kudos which having a child from a far away land brings. Who wants a baby from Indianapolis when you can have one from Irkutsk instead? And is plucking the lucky few away to enjoy a life of prosperity in the West, while leaving the unlucky ones behind in an unchanged environment, really the best way to help these children?
Hmm… maybe I’m just getting too cynical in my old age.