By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- The uproar over little Max Shatto's death has raised questions about how other countries will now view their adoption agreements with the United States. Will his story affect pending international adoptions or future international adoptions?
NewsWest 9 asked one of Midland's leading foreign adoption attorneys to weigh in. Shane Stokes has handled almost 80 Basin adoptions over the past year, a dozen of which were international.
Stokes says that over that past few years, more basin families have been adopting foreign kids. He believes the adoption rate out of this area will continue to remain steady, or even rise.
"I don't expect there to be any sort of a chilling effect on international adoptions because of what Russia has said [about Max Shatto]. When you consider the conditions that many orphans live with in orphanages and homes around the world where they're basically barely cared for, most of the world sees the United States as a good place for a child to live," Stokes said.
Debbie Wynne is the director of adoptions for Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services, which has a satellite office in Midland. Wynne is slightly more skeptical about how other countries will now treat their adoptions policies with the U.S.
"I think any country would start to ask if everybody is doing all they can- the agencies, the governments involved- to ensure the children's best interests are being cared for," Wynne said.
Right now, her agency is more concerned though with the pending adoptions between Russian children and the hopeful Americans who started the adoption process prior to the Russian president's decision to ban the adoption of Russian children to the citizens of the United States, which took effect on January 1st.
"It calls into question, will that impact any more of these families that have been anxiously waiting to bring children home that they see as their child that they are committed to?"