Russian church head asks people to adopt orphans

Moscow, Jan 7 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Monday congratulated all Russians on the occasion of Christmas and asked them to take an active part in adopting orphans.

His call comes in the wake of a controversial law that came into force in Russia Jan 1. The law bans adoption of Russian children by American families.

"I would like to call on all of you, who can take an important step aimed at adopting children and supporting orphans - do take this step," the patriarch said in his Christmas address.

"There must be no orphans in our country. Those, who have no parents, should find them among kind, honest and warm hearted people," he said.

Critics of the adoption ban said it would keep thousands of children, especially those with disabilities, in Russia's orphanages. Figures from the US State Department show that more than 60,000 Russian children were adopted by American families in the last 20 years, including 962 last year.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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