Foster care and cultural compatibility

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
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Toronto
*Disclaimer*

I have had a very difficult time finding "mainstream", shall we say, English language sources about the story below, so, unfortunately, must relay mainly on TASS (official Kremlin propaganda outlet), as well as bloody Sputnik, of all things, and what looks to me like a right-wing European site...

So, you been warned lol


Denis Lisov, 41, Russian citizen who had been living in Sweden, with two of his three daughters


A week ago:

The drama of 41-year-old Denis Lisov and his three daughters started in Sweden when his wife fell ill and had to be taken into hospital. The Swedish social services took the Russian man’s daughters away and gave them to an Arabic foster family.

Lisov could only visit his daughters once a week and only for a few hours, despite having full parental rights. All three of his children have Russian citizenship.

Swedish authorities refused to give Lisov his children back and he decided to return to Russia with his family despite the ban. The girls were inserted into the Schengen Information System (SIS) as missing persons, which is why the Polish border guard had to detain the family when they arrived at Warsaw Chopin airport.

The Polish Ministry of Justice and the Polish proponent of children’s rights were informed of the issue. The representatives of the Swedish social services, the Arabic foster family and the Russian consul arrived at the airport.

Thanks to the help of the proponent, the Russian father agreed to apply for asylum for himself and his children in Poland. Owing to this decision, the family could not be given back to the Swedes.

“The court cannot send the minors to Sweden which they entered under their father’s care,” decided judge of the regional court in Warsaw on Wednesday afternoon. "Following the father’s hearing and due to the lack of proof confirming restriction of parental rights, as well as having in mind the minor’s well-being, the court has decided that they should remain in their father’s care.”

The notion of rules about foster families not respected

The Ministry of Justice also reminded that due to the efforts of Polish authorities, in December 2018, the Council of the European Union for Justice and Home Affairs passed the notion which foresees a uniform rule of respecting the cultural, religious and lingual identity of a child when it is given to a foster family.

The Ministry informed that so far, the law has not been respected and there have been situations in which children were given away to families of vastly different beliefs or from different cultures, as had happened in the case of Denis Lisov.
Father who escaped Sweden with daughters allowed to stay in Poland

Now, according to TASS and Sputnik, Sweden has issued an arrest warrant for Lisov:
Sweden orders ‘arrest in absentia’ for Russian dad fleeing Swedish child removal with kids
Russian Dad Who Took His Kids Back From Muslim Foster Family Wanted in Sweden

Few things I want to point out right away, in regards specifically to this case:

a. We don't actually KNOW that the foster family are Muslim; we know they are Arab, specifically - from Lebanon. There are lots of Christians in Lebanon too, FWIW. Sputnik simply ASSUMES these ones are Muslim (or, just throws in that little detail for maximum shock value; that's their usual style lmao)

b. We, of course, only see and hear ONE side of the story here: Lisov's. We have not really been shown the position of the Swedish authorities; we have not heard the side of the foster family; or even, for that matter, we have yet to hear from Lisov's own wife, also a Russian citizen, who is reportedly in a psychiatric hospital in Sweden, possibly as a result of emotional trauma from prolonged domestic abuse at her husband's hands, a little tidbit of the story the Russian media NEVER mentions...

So... A complex situation here, for sure.

Oh, and,

c. Also, kinda interesting to see some apparent Slavic solidarity or whatever, here, on the part of the Polish, despite the hard, to put it mildly, history between the two peoples, going back to Middle Ages: https://politicalhotwire.com/threads/russo-polish-wars.202484/

FWIW, I have seen lots of stories in Russian media about Russian immigrant families who have their kids seized in especially Scandinavian countries for all kinds of odd reasons
Children Removed from Custody of Russian Family in Norway
Finnish Authorities Take Away Three Children From Russian Mother

Norway is especially bad, and it's not only Russians who been complaining about them
Baltic States Say Norway, UK and Finland Have Stolen Their Children
They took our four children… then they came back for the baby
Europe issues 'serious warning' to Norway over child welfare service
'A big state versus a poor family': Canadian's son forcibly removed in Norway

And here is something about Sweden too, apparently: In Sweden the Government Can 'Legally' Kidnap Your Child | ADF International

Not sure what I think of it all... Maybe their system is a tad too intrusive. Probably why so many Russian immigrant families keep running into it, they are not used to such stuff, in Russia it's the other way around, to the other extreme, Russians hate it when the government snoops into their private family affairs; they've even decriminalized domestic battery not long ago, never mind that a woman is killed by abuse every 40 minutes over there: Putin approves legal change that decriminalises some domestic violence

:(

But, anyway, what I wonder about... Is it unreasonable, to expect foster care agencies to place kids with a family that is at least somewhat similar and compatible to the culture they were originally born into and raised in and are accustomed to?

In this case, an Arab family, whatever their religion may be, is NOT, in my opinion, appropriate for placing of a Russian child. Just because the culture, values, even probably the food/cuisine, are too damn different. It is too big of a culture shock, for a little kid. It's wrong, IMHO

I recall myself, when I arrived to Moscow, age 11. Having previously been raised mainly by my father's Slavic, Cossack culture, back in Abkhazia (not that our mother ever let us forget our Armenian heritage from her either lol But, father dominated our upbringing, certainly, as expected, over there...); and then, in Moscow, being thrust completely into the Armenian culture of my mom's brother, my uncle, and his family, who would take care of me over there. Hell of a thing, for an 11 year old. Especially in a huge city I'd never before been to, that was much bigger than the republic I had arrived from haha

So, yeah, cultural compatibility should be considered IMHO
 

HCProf

Council Hall
Sep 2014
29,656
19,205
USA
*Disclaimer*

I have had a very difficult time finding "mainstream", shall we say, English language sources about the story below, so, unfortunately, must relay mainly on TASS (official Kremlin propaganda outlet), as well as bloody Sputnik, of all things, and what looks to me like a right-wing European site...

So, you been warned lol

Denis Lisov, 41, Russian citizen who had been living in Sweden, with two of his three daughters


A week ago:



Father who escaped Sweden with daughters allowed to stay in Poland

Now, according to TASS and Sputnik, Sweden has issued an arrest warrant for Lisov:
Sweden orders ‘arrest in absentia’ for Russian dad fleeing Swedish child removal with kids
Russian Dad Who Took His Kids Back From Muslim Foster Family Wanted in Sweden

Few things I want to point out right away, in regards specifically to this case:

a. We don't actually KNOW that the foster family are Muslim; we know they are Arab, specifically - from Lebanon. There are lots of Christians in Lebanon too, FWIW. Sputnik simply ASSUMES these ones are Muslim (or, just throws in that little detail for maximum shock value; that's their usual style lmao)

b. We, of course, only see and hear ONE side of the story here: Lisov's. We have not really been shown the position of the Swedish authorities; we have not heard the side of the foster family; or even, for that matter, we have yet to hear from Lisov's own wife, also a Russian citizen, who is reportedly in a psychiatric hospital in Sweden, possibly as a result of emotional trauma from prolonged domestic abuse at her husband's hands, a little tidbit of the story the Russian media NEVER mentions...

So... A complex situation here, for sure.

Oh, and,

c. Also, kinda interesting to see some apparent Slavic solidarity or whatever, here, on the part of the Polish, despite the hard, to put it mildly, history between the two peoples, going back to Middle Ages: https://politicalhotwire.com/threads/russo-polish-wars.202484/

FWIW, I have seen lots of stories in Russian media about Russian immigrant families who have their kids seized in especially Scandinavian countries for all kinds of odd reasons
Children Removed from Custody of Russian Family in Norway
Finnish Authorities Take Away Three Children From Russian Mother

Norway is especially bad, and it's not only Russians who been complaining about them
Baltic States Say Norway, UK and Finland Have Stolen Their Children
They took our four children… then they came back for the baby
Europe issues 'serious warning' to Norway over child welfare service
'A big state versus a poor family': Canadian's son forcibly removed in Norway

And here is something about Sweden too, apparently: In Sweden the Government Can 'Legally' Kidnap Your Child | ADF International

Not sure what I think of it all... Maybe their system is a tad too intrusive. Probably why so many Russian immigrant families keep running into it, they are not used to such stuff, in Russia it's the other way around, to the other extreme, Russians hate it when the government snoops into their private family affairs; they've even decriminalized domestic battery not long ago, never mind that a woman is killed by abuse every 40 minutes over there: Putin approves legal change that decriminalises some domestic violence

:(

But, anyway, what I wonder about... Is it unreasonable, to expect foster care agencies to place kids with a family that is at least somewhat similar and compatible to the culture they were originally born into and raised in and are accustomed to?

In this case, an Arab family, whatever their religion may be, is NOT, in my opinion, appropriate for placing of a Russian child. Just because the culture, values, even probably the food/cuisine, are too damn different. It is too big of a culture shock, for a little kid. It's wrong, IMHO

I recall myself, when I arrived to Moscow, age 11. Having previously been raised mainly by my father's Slavic, Cossack culture, back in Abkhazia (not that our mother ever let us forget our Armenian heritage from her either lol But, father dominated our upbringing, certainly, as expected, over there...); and then, in Moscow, being thrust completely into the Armenian culture of my mom's brother, my uncle, and his family, who would take care of me over there. Hell of a thing, for an 11 year old. Especially in a huge city I'd never before been to, that was much bigger than the republic I had arrived from haha

So, yeah, cultural compatibility should be considered IMHO
I think it depends on how old the children are. I work with a woman who adopted a Russian child about 2 years old. The toddler was living in a orphanage prior to the adoption. There were a few problems...like "self soothing". Apparently the child did not like to be touched and would hug himself and rock back and forth. She had to seek help for her and the family and the therapist said to leave him alone and let him do this.

Another example, a doctor I worked with years ago adopted one of her patients. The child was horribly neglected and it was her that had the child removed from the home. The little girl was black and one of the biggest challenges that she never thought about...how to take care of her hair. She had no clue. With help from friends at the hospital, she figured it out.

The point...I don't think fostering or parenting for that matter is provided with a detailed instruction booklet. It is trial and error with lots of infinite patience. One thing that all children respond to....kindness and love. With those two...anything can be accomplished. It also takes a village.
 
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The Man

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I think it depends on how old the children are. I work with a woman who adopted a Russian child about 2 years old. The toddler was living in a orphanage prior to the adoption. There were a few problems...like "self soothing". Apparently the child did not like to be touched and would hug himself and rock back and forth. She had to seek help for her and the family and the therapist said to leave him alone and let him do this.

Another example, a doctor I worked with years ago adopted one of her patients. The child was horribly neglected and it was her that had the child removed from the home. The little girl was black and one of the biggest challenges that she never thought about...how to take care of her hair. She had no clue. With help from friends at the hospital, she figured it out.

The point...I don't think fostering or parenting for that matter is provided with a detailed instruction booklet. It is trial and error with lots of infinite patience. One thing that all children respond to....kindness and love. With those two...anything can be accomplished. It also takes a village.
Americans had adopted many mentally damaged and unstable orphans from Russia, before Putin banned foreign adoptions...

Some of those kids could actually be dangerous.

In 2016, in Texas, teen adopted from Russia killed his foster parents: Teen adopted from Russia killed his parents at Crowley home before overnight standoff, police say | Crime | Dallas News

And another case from New Hampshire, just now: Boy, 11, charged with murdering his chiropractor parents was adopted from Russia | Daily Mail Online

:(
 

HCProf

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Sep 2014
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Americans had adopted many mentally damaged and unstable orphans from Russia, before Putin banned foreign adoptions...

Some of those kids could actually be dangerous.

In 2016, in Texas, teen adopted from Russia killed his foster parents: Teen adopted from Russia killed his parents at Crowley home before overnight standoff, police say | Crime | Dallas News

And another case from New Hampshire, just now: Boy, 11, charged with murdering his chiropractor parents was adopted from Russia | Daily Mail Online

:(
Do you remember this case?

https://www.cnn.com/2012/07/13/us/adopted-child-returned/index.html

A woman actually put a 7 year old child on a plane and sent him back to Moscow. I was actually disgusted by this. If a person can't handle a 7 year old, they have no business being a parent, adopted or not. If you want to take this on as adoptive parents, they need to seek and set up help prior to something like this happening.
 
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The Man

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Do you remember this case?

https://www.cnn.com/2012/07/13/us/adopted-child-returned/index.html

A woman actually put a 7 year old child on a plane and sent him back to Moscow. I was actually disgusted by this. If a person can't handle a 7 year old, they have no business being a parent, adopted or not. If you want to take this on as adoptive parents, they need to seek and set up help prior to something like this happening.
Agreed. It's a huge responsibility to take on, and one must be very well prepared for something like that.
 
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Ian Jeffrey

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Keep in mind, too, that there is generally a distinction between foster care, which is often short-term, and adoption, which is not intended to be. Sure, there is long-term foster care, but a lot of times it is just temporary. I would certainly be interested in knowing more about the case posed in the OP, but given the problems pointed out therein with the sources, I suspect it is unlikely to be available (and Google was not that helpful, either).
 

The Man

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Keep in mind, too, that there is generally a distinction between foster care, which is often short-term, and adoption, which is not intended to be. Sure, there is long-term foster care, but a lot of times it is just temporary. I would certainly be interested in knowing more about the case posed in the OP, but given the problems pointed out therein with the sources, I suspect it is unlikely to be available (and Google was not that helpful, either).
I'm gonna try to find more sources and info. Hopefully, there will be more English reporting on this, as the case develops further...

If I were the Polish government, btw, I would get this whole problem off my hands quickly, by dropping these folks off near the border with Russian Kaliningrad, and just quietly let them slip through to the other side...

If the Swedes then complain about it, can say he escaped with the kids on his own. Perhaps blame Russian diplomats and spies for helping him lol I am sure there will be at least one happy to take the credit. Might make him persona non grata in Poland and EU; but probably a hero back home, who saved a good Russian family from evil Swedes and Polyaks haha Probably get him a promotion and a medal for that... ;)

I definitely see this happening...
 

The Man

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Update on this, hours ago, Denis Lisov and his daughters, escorted by their lawyers, landed in Moscow


The Polish authorities defied Sweden and refused to detain Lisov or take the kids from him, and allowed the family to head to Russia. Lisov will now spend a few days in Moscow, where he apparently intends to reconnect with old friends (and also has TV appearances and meetings with political figures scheduled, of course lol), and then they will head to Siberia, to Khabarovsk, where Denis is from and now wants to return to.

His wife, I gather, remains in the psychiatric clinic back in Sweden. And Lisov faces an arrest warrant still, issued by Sweden, if ever sets foot in the EU...
 
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In the late 1960's through 1971, I lived in 11 foster homes during 4 years of high school. Every single one had the "right" qualification: they were Catholic.

It was apparently the ONLY qualification. The parade of horrors was indescribable -- not that I suffered personally, as I would fight or run away. No, these horrors were visited on other children, often their own biological ones.

I think foster care is almost always a shitty, shitty experience for the kids. Most would be better off with a stable placement in community-based group homes with caring staff.

Children should not be removed from their biological parents unless the neglect or abuse is bad, and when they are, they should be placed for adoption anytime that is in the child's best interests. Lingering for a decade or more while the foster child's biological parent tries to kick her addiction AGAIN is cruel.

It's a tough question without a good answer.
 
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I personally know a couple that adopted first a girl from Russia who was 2 years old and then later another Russian child also 2 years old. At first the girl seemed the more well behaved although she was withdrawn and spent much of her time sitting alone and playing very little with other children. The little boy was constantly in trouble, jumping off roofs and getting into fights. The couple that adopted them couldn't have children of their own and adopted them when already they were well into their 40's. They tried everything to bring them up and make them as happy as they could loving them as if they were their own and never gave up on either one of them. Now the children are in their late 20's. The girl, the one we all thought was the more well behaved was actually the one that for lack of a better word is a disaster. She has been arrested so many times I think the parents have lost count. She hangs around with thugs, she uses drugs and has never been able to even get her high school diploma. The unskilled jobs she manages to get are always short lived and she eventually gets fired. She still lives with the parents breaking her mothers heart over and over. She disappears for days and sometimes weeks at a time without a word. Then comes back with no explanation, nothing. As this goes on and on. Her parents have paid for rehabilitation I don't know how many times exactly but at least 3 that I know about. None of them worked for longer than a couple of weeks and then she's back at it. Now the parents in are close to 70 or so and they should be enjoying themselves but they can't. The fear one day the police are going to show up to tell them their daughter is dead.

Next the son, the one they thought was going to be the bad one found himself a nice girl and settled down and finished high school and got himself a trade. From the day he finished high school he has been in no fights and makes good steady money doing an honest days' work.

Go figure.