There is nothing dreary about Orphanage No. 11. It has rooms filled with enough dolls and trains and stuffed animals to make any child giggly. It has speech therapists and round-the-clock nurses and cooks who delight in covertly slipping a treat into a tiny hand. It has the feel of a place where love abounds.
What it does not have are many visits from potential parents.
Few of its children will ever be adopted — by Russians or foreigners. When they reach age 7 and are too old for this institution they will be shuttled to the next one, reflecting an entrenched system that is much better at warehousing children — and profiting from them — than finding them families.
The chairwoman of the parliamentary committee on family and children, Yelena B. Mizulina, spotlighted what she said was a shocking statistic: Russia has more orphans now, 700,000, than at the end of World War II, when an estimated 25 million Soviet citizens were killed.MORE