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Ban on girl's adoption by heterosexual German couple, in case they die and gays adopt her instead

By Olga Gertcyck
19 November 2015

'Outrageous' court ruling in Russian Far East thwarts loving couple who want to help enchanting disabled four year old Elya, abandoned by her own parents.

The Beysenovs have vowed to fight their battle for little Elya, full name Elvira, up to the highest court in Moscow. Picture: Yulia Beysenova

This case turns attention on controversial Russian laws - seen as bizarre and shocking by many in the West - forbidding adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples. Yet in this case it is a heterosexual married couple, Soviet-raised Ali Beysenov and Yulia Beysenova, who have been turned down, despite sexologists in two countries affirming they are NOT homosexual. 

For the woman judge in the Primosky region of the the Russian Far East, their request was refused in case these caring parents - ready to give a loving home and untold new opportunities to Elya, a girl who has deformed arms - should both die, opening the tiniest of possibilities under German law that the girl could be adopted by a non-heterosexual couple, with the Russian authorities having no guarantees that this could not happen. 

The Beysenovs have vowed to fight their battle for little Elya, full name Elvira, up to the highest court in Moscow in a case where - to many - the interests of the child are secondary to Russian political correctness over the gay issue.

While it is the case that this is a deeply felt issue in Russia, especially among Orthodox adherents, criticis see the ruling as 'outrageous' not least because Russian children have been adopted recently in significant numbers to other EU countries where the same 'microscopic' chance of a second - gay - adoption is technically possible, including 46 court-approved adoptions to Germany last year.

It was a second rejection for Elya. Earlier, she was ditched by her own parents, who are described as a 'decent' family, because they could not cope with the 'difficulties' of raising a disabled daughter. On her fifth birthday, an orphan, she is likely to be put into a nursing home, when instead, by now, she could have been embraced in family love in Germany, and already in the care of one of the world's leading doctors for her condition.

Elya and Yulia

Elya and Yulia

It was a second rejection for Elya. Earlier, she was ditched by her own parents, who are described as a 'decent' family, because they could not cope with the 'difficulties' of raising a disabled daughter.  Pictures: Yulia Beysenova

Some 120,000 people have already signed a petition asking for Elya to be allowed to go to her Russian-speaking family in Germany, who already have three children of their own. Yulia explained how she and her husband came to seek out Elya, and give her a new life. 

'We are from the USSR, and in 2002 we settled in Germany,' she said. 'I received German citizenship and my husband Ali obtained a residency permit here. We have three children.' In their new country, they were not blind to the suffering  of some children back in Russia. 

'Once we settled in Germany, we couldn't turn our backs on Russian children who were abandoned by their parents and families,' she said. 'The destiny of children with inborn disabilities keeps us alert. How can one live if there are people in institutions and who need love as much as they need air and life? In 2003, we started volunteering and helping Russian orphanages with care and treatment. That's how we met our Elya.'

Yulia highlighted the bitter irony for her family of the date 9 November: in Russia, it is Orphans' Day. She noted that there was a campaign in Elya's native region running that day called #PrimoryeWithoutOrphans - dedicated to the admirable goal of finding homes for all children whose parents, for whatever reason, have left them.

Scheduled the same day, Beysenov had long before made an appointment for Elya to visit a leading German medic, a man who could help her overcome her condition.

Primorsky regional court

Primorsky regional court, where the judge Oksana Soloviyeva did not allow Beysenov family to adopt Elya.  Picture:

'We were supposed to have had an appointment at the clinic of German professor Dr Rolf Habenicht in Hamburg,' she explained. He is a world-renowned professional in children hand anomalies. He is making wonders.

'Children with the hardest anomalies come to him from all over Germany, Europe and the globe. That's why you need to book an appointment a good few months beforehand. In February this year, we made the appointment for 9 November  thinking that by then Elya would have been home for a while - and we could start her treatment.

We simply wouldn't have believed if someone told us that Elya would still be in an institution, and we'd be running like crazy to collect the papers again. It's so bitter to realise that Elya could have been checked by excellent professionals - and have her treatment started.' And all because of a risk of a second gay adoption that, whatever the rights and wrongs, is simply not going to happen. 

'She could have been playing with her two brothers and sister,' said Yulia ruefully. 'A lot of things could have happened to Elya this Orphans' Day.'

Yulia's ancestors on her grandmothers' side had German ancestry, which enabled the family to start their new life her 'historic motherland'. 'Here, in Germany I gave birth to two of my children,' she told Moskovsky Komsomolets. Gradually, I came to realise it was necessary to help people somehow, and got into voluntary work, with orphanages and people with disabilities: this was something that touched my heart. I joined various volunteer projects, first of all, those from former USSR.'

She told how 'we took children for treatment, sightseeing. 'There was also a project 'Invisible children' when a kid got an individual adult who sends the child letters, speaks to him on the phone, discusses his problems.'




Elya is now in an orphanage 'and everyone knows and loves her there.' Pictures: Telemix TV

Her first was Svetlana from Arkhangelsk region, who is now married and is about to give birth. 'We didn't rush, were waiting for 'our' child to appear, for someone who would touch our heart,' she said.

'A lovely girl looked  at me from a photo. He hair was blonde and eyes were blue... And then I saw her arms... all crippled. Poor baby, how did that happen to her? I talked to my husband about Elya. We weighed up all the pros and cons for a while and finally realised we could help this girl. We received a complete list of  the papers we needed to get before the court hearings on adoption.'

The couple also had not only to be heterosexual, they had to prove it. They visited sexologists in two countries to satisfy the Russian authorities that they were not homosexual. It was ultimately not enough for the judge. 

Elya is now in an orphanage 'and everyone knows and loves her there,' she said. 'She's almost the oldest there. She's confident around her friends. They don't bully her. She's very smart, and speaks well. Of course, she's not like the other children.'

As they sought her adoption, Yulia and her family visited Elya seven times during March and April. 'We were trying to convince that we will ensure the best possible treatment, education and future for her, and that we and our children will love and care for her. We are a traditional family of mum, dad, two brothers and a sister. 

Elya and Ali Beysenov

Beysenov family and Elya

'We were trying to convince that we will ensure the best possible treatment, education and future for her.'  Pictures: Yulia Beysenova

'We are a Russian-speaking family, so it would be a lot easier for the girl to adapt in her new country. We pay a lot of attention to reading Russian literature, familiarise our children not only with German but also Russian and Kazakh culture. Our children have Russian friends, and my husband is still a Kazkhstan national.'

More than that, her husband's relatives - also heterosexual - provided a notarised document making clear they would adopt the girl if anything should happen to the Beysenovs. In the jargon, this family ticked all the boxes: but this was still not good enough for judge Oksana Soloviyeva. 

Their lawyer Alexander Golovanov said of the ruling: 'This is outrageous. It is clearly in breach of Russian laws.' He raised a question over the judge's suitability to determine such cases. 'I personally believe that the judge's decision should be discussed at the Qualification Board of Judges.'

And he said: 'We're hoping now for the rule of law and the goodwill of people in power.' The family are appealing the decision, which will be heard in December. 

They have also written to President Vladimir Putin,  judge Vyacheslav Lebedev, head of the Russian Supreme Court, and children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov as they seek to overturn the decision and allow Elya to go to the loving family waiting for her in Germany. 

Comments (4)

It is awesome how the Russian protect their children from the evils the west is encouraging. More power to them.
Josua Bar Simon, El Salvador
08/10/2018 06:21
It is not seen as "schoking and bizarre" in the West. That is a ridiculous lie.
Enrique, Spain
24/02/2016 08:30
Russian Supreme Court has allowed the adoption, and Elya will be with her adoptive family on Dec 18th.
Irina Ponomareva, Saratov/Russia
16/12/2015 16:05
Is there anyway to get in touch with this family?
Debi Allenbaugh, United Stated
23/11/2015 07:33

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