Adopting Olya. In English. 30 minutes. NTSC format, all regions. ISBN 1-58269-030-8 (one video DVD). US Copyright Registration Number PA0001312089 Director of photography: Slavomir Grunberg. Edited and produced by S. Grunberg and S. Paperno. $29.00.
For twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, almost every flight from Moscow to New York City carried a few American families with Russian children—all with pasty complexions and brand new, ill fitting American clothing. Russian law allowed foreign nationals to adopt Russian orphans. But there was a catch: only children with birth defects and incurable medical conditions could be adopted. In some cases, the problems were minor and readily treatable, but some children were diagnosed with vague ailments and developmental delays that were hard to quantify. They did make the children available for adoption—that was the important thing.
When you are in Russia to adopt an orphan, do you know if the child truly has a medical a problem, or are these developmental delays normal for a child raised in an orphanage? Perhaps the diagnosis is actually a well-intentioned lie, in hopes that the child will have a far better life in the US? Or maybe it is a callous device used by local officials to keep the lucrative adoption business going?