Trump, Putin, and the fake ADOPTION news

If I had never seen a photo of Don Trump, Jr. posing with a South African buffalo he had just shot, I might feel a tiny bit sorry for him. There he was, just going about his life as the father of five and a billionaire, when he was thrown into his father’s bombastic presidential campaign. And in an effort to make his dad proud, he agreed last July to meet with a Russian government lawyer and several other pro-Russian operatives after they indicated they would share with him damaging information about Hillary Clinton. “Love it!” he wrote. The meeting has become part of an ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to throw the U.S. election, which is a very necessary step because it’s not the least bit obvious that anything like that happened.

Don Jr. – his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also attended the meeting – has claimed the Russian lawyer had no good info anyway; the group just discussed adoption instead. And millions of eyes started rolling, because really?

The reason adoption is even being brought up is because of a law called The Magnitsky Act, which was passed by Congress in 2012 to punish Russia for human rights abuses. The law’s namesake, Sergei Magnitsky, was a Russian tax lawyer who was imprisoned and tortured to death after uncovering a massive tax fraud scheme implicating Putin and top government officials.

Putin didn’t like the sanctions imposed under the new law, and in retaliation, he banned Americans from adopting Russian children.

The story of Don Jr.’s meeting has saturated the news for days and days now, and every discussion includes the word “adoption” at least once or twice. It took me a while to figure out why I was so bothered by this, but a couple of days ago I did 100 double-unders and 90 kettlebell swings and started hallucinating, and it came to me. Everybody’s talking about the claim that they discussed adoption at the Trump-Russia tea party, but nobody believes it because NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT ADOPTION. Even Don Jr., who first mentioned it, has never said a single word about the issue he claims was the sole topic of the meeting that’s being investigated. President Trump has taken up the rallying cry as well; after coming under scrutiny for a private meeting he held with Putin at the G-20 summit, he said they discussed adoption.

Really, President Trump? What did you say? Did you discuss the children whose adoptions were halted by Putin’s sudden ban? Did you ask to see the conditions in which they’re living? Did you reach out to the prospective adoptive parents whose waiting sons and daughters are instead growing up in institutions?

Understand this: the ban on Russian adoptions isn’t about Americans not being able to bring home adoptive children. It’s about thousands of children, many of them with disabilities, robbed of the ability to grow up in a family, and instead being sentenced to languish in the ghastly pits of despair that double as orphanages.

Approximately 30 percent of Russian children born with disabilities are sent to institutions by their parents, often after being pressured by health care workers. Those disabilities include, but aren’t limited to – blindness, deafness, Down Syndrome, mental illness, and physical limitations. As a result, 45 percent of children living in orphanages have some sort of disability. According to Human Rights Watch, those kids aren’t having fun. A 2015 study reported that: “Children described how orphanage staff beat them, used physical restraints to tie them to furniture, or gave them powerful sedatives in efforts to control behavior that staff deemed undesirable. Staff also forcibly isolated children, denied them contact with their relatives, and sometimes forced them to undergo psychiatric hospitalization as punishment.”

Yeah, that’s indicative of intrinsic, systemic discrimination that will take decades to change. But in the meantime, you know who wants to help those kids? Americans. We have better health care, and a more developed social structure allowing for children with special needs to grow up happily and reach their potential. Hundreds of prospective mothers and fathers want to offer forever homes to some of these children. But we can’t adopt them now. Because Putin is a psychopath.

If the Trump people are so interested in adoption, and they must be if it’s the topic of every damn conversation they have with Russia, then why aren’t they talking to anyone else about adoption? Why aren’t they discussing the rights of Russian children? Why aren’t they demanding that Putin ensure the health and safety of these kids?

AND ANOTHER THING: the way Vladimir Putin chose to punish the United States for the Magnitsky Act was to punish the neediest children in his own country. To clarify – we inflicted sanctions on Russia for a human rights abuse, and Putin said, “Oh, I’ll show you human rights abuse. Americans are no longer allowed to rescue our poorest and sickest children.” What kind of evil resides in that train of thought? And why does any U.S. official want to treat him like he’s a decent man?

Listen, I’m furious about Russia interfering in our presidential election. I’m appalled at how the Trump administration has rolled back environmental regulations. In some ways, this adoption red herring is just a little salt in a blistering national wound which may never heal. But damn, as an adoptive mom – and as a human – it’s really bothering me.

12 responses to Trump, Putin, and the fake ADOPTION news

  1. Dan Hamilton says:

    I didn’t think I’d see any new perspectives on this. Once again, you blew me away. While we are all pawns in Trumputin’s chess games, your words are a stark reminder that some of the chess pieces are the innocents of this world.

    • tricia says:

      Having you as first a mentor, then a friend, and still a mentor, is literally one of the best things ever. xoxo

  2. MNM says:

    All can say that doesn’t include the string of expletives that I vowed not to use (and to which I have been extremely unsuccessful, as my entire family and anyone with whom I have come into contact can attest) is f&$& them all, and I wish that they could enjoy the next circle of hell which I have yet to determine they deserve. If I had the funds necessary to travel and … oh let us just put aside what actions I would take to stop this appalling display of a complete and total lack of compassion and stupidity (and whatever synonyms I could fastidiously search in a thesaurus to sound as intellectually gifted as you are as an author of many talents).

    • MNM says:

      I meant to say STOP… this tragic situation…once again demonstrating my inability to control my reaction to the idiocy and lunacy of this tragic course of events.

    • tricia says:

      It’s infuriating. It’s a wonder we’re not all insane.

  3. Becky Donohue says:

    I recently laughed (scornfully) when I read about the G-20 summit reference to “adoption” in my local newspaper. I have also used more curse words since November 2016 than I have ever used! I have two cousins (sisters) who each adopted a little Russian girl. One will soon be a college freshman & the other a high school senior. Another cousin adopted two little Russian boys. Thank goodness this happened before the current ban. So sad for the little children who could be adopted but are instead languishing in institutions.

    • tricia says:

      It must be so strange for those parents who just barely got their kids out. Thanks for reading, Becky ❤️ xoxo

  4. Christine O'Brien says:

    This perspective really opened my eyes. I like many, are so weary of the news loop on the Russia controversy but bringing the innocent victims of an apparent off-handed excuse for a meeting illuminates it entirely in a new light. It had never occurred to me that these suffering discarded citizens had been pretty much ignored all over again by actually remembering them! I appreciate your insight so very much.

    • tricia says:

      I’m glad it struck a chord with you. It took me a while to figure out why it was pissing me off so much….but I did! xo

  5. John says:

    Cynicism does not even begin to describe their lack of awareness of and insensitivity to the issue of adoptions from Russia.

    As you note, the adoption ban was imposed by Russians on Russian children. The Russians don’t want to talk about their own adoption ban. They do not enter a room and say, “Let’s talk about a ban we ourselves have imposed upon our own infants and children.” They met for one reason and one reason only: To about the sanctions.

    “Adoption” to these people, Russians, Junior and Jared alike, is a euphemism for sanctions. But they know that a large majority of Americans do not want them talking about sanctions, unless it is about how to make the sanctions more severe. (Kind of like the bill passed by the US Senate, 97 to freaking 2, that would prevent trump from lifting sanctions; the same bill vehemently opposed by trump and everyone in his administration.)

    So, of course they are not talking about sanctions. They are talking about adoption. (Insert eyeroll here.)

    • tricia says:

      Yes. With all the eye-rolling going on in this country right now, I would think “optometrist” would be a career with job security. Thanks for reading, John. : )

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