Before the fiscal cliff nightmare came to a head, families across the globe were celebrating the holidays; thoughts of politics being far from the minds of many. Spending extra time with family is often one of the beloved highlights of the holiday break. Yet for so many families in the United States, this past season was heartbreaking. 46 families in particular were forced to focus on politics when it changed the face of their families, perhaps permanently.
On December 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning adoption of Russian children by U.S. families starting January 1. Included in the ban were the 46 U.S. families that were in the process of adoption, many of which had already met and formed relationships with their children. Said one couple whose adoption was approved on Christmas Eve:
I have a daughter who I've told I love, who I've told we would bring home. I've showed her pictures of her bedroom. I'm afraid we're not going to be able to see her again, and she won't know why we didn't come for her.
Russia has been the third most popular country for Americans to seek adoption, behind China and Ethiopia. Over 60,000 children have been adopted from Russia by American families over the past two decades. Currently, Russia has 120,000 registered orphans, many of which are disabled, but less than 20,000 Russians have shown interest in adoption. Putin's reason for the ban are seen widely as a political move in response to a bill President Obama recently signed concerning human rights abusers in Russia. According to a Washington Post article, however, the adoption ban is only the latest example of Putin's anti-American power grab.
The past seven months have seen the worst deterioration in Russia’s human rights situation since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Putin regime demonizes the United States, heaps abuse on its officials, derides its democratic values and treats the humanitarian motives of its people as suspect, while backing the murderous Assad regime.
A Russian radio host, whose station is not popular with Putin, compared him to King Herod and noted that the Orthodox Church's remembrance of Herod's order to kill children in Bethlehem fell on the same day as the adoption ban.
At least one adoption agency is moving forward with the Russian adoptions they are currently handling. Many American families are also holding hope that the Russian president will reverse his decision to include their children that are already a part of their hearts. While the U.S. State Department and Republican leaders have made statements concerning the Russian adoption ban, President Obama has remained silent on the issue. Perhaps instead of flooding the White House petition website with calls for secession, Americans should be petitioning the president to call out President Putin for his cruel ban that punishes not only American families looking to give aid to Russian children, but the youngest and most needy in his country.
To show your support for the orphaned in Russia and the American families that love them, please click here.