Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2012, 11:18 am

Views from QCA: Q-C dad feels Russian orphan's pain

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By David Parker, Jr.

I have recently been following the news that Russian President Vladmir Putin has signed legislation banning Russian adoptions to American citizens.
The ban is called the DimaYakovlev Law. This law is a result of a recently adopted U.S. law which sanctions Russian officials who the United States believes is guilty of human rights violations in Russia.

Our desire to enforce our beliefs in other countries will have a real and lasting impact on those who have no voice and have no platform to try to save themselves.

Fifteen years ago, Dec. 16, 1997, we welcomed a new member to our family.

His given name is Maxim Vaxhtin. He was a 10-month-old Russian whom we adopted.

Over the past 15 years our son, now named Andrew Paul Maxim Parker, has had a very happy childhood, being raised as an American, while always being aware of his Russian heritage.

Andy has not always had it easy. When he was very young he was afflicted with a brain tumor and cyst which left him partially paralyzed and permanently robbed him of his vision on his right side.

Through several surgeries, one and a half years of chemotherapy, teams of world-class doctors and, most of all, the grace of God, Andy has overcome these problems and is a very healthy 15-year-old.

Although I have empathy for those American families who are in the process of enriching their lives by adopting a Russian child, my deep sadness is for the children who may never have a real chance at life.

Although I am certain the recently passed U.S. anti-corruption/human rights violation law against Russian officials has its merits, unless you have been in Russia, to the orphanages and through the Russian adoption process, you may not fully understand that corruption, bribery and substandard living conditions is a daily way of life; a way of life, not for those who can fight for themselves, but for those innocent children who have no voice and no choice.

Without the opportunity to witness firsthand the conditions these infants and young children live in, and the health care they are afforded, it is difficult to grasp the challenges they face.

Without the access that our son had to American health care, I have no doubt that he would not be alive today.

I urge everyone to contact their elected officials in Washington and ask them to work with the Russian government in an effort to help these innocent children have a chance to live a full and healthy life.
David Parker, Jr. lives in Moline.