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Dear President Putin,
Happy Father’s Day.
Today you wake up with your two children and I’m sure you will express your love to them and they to you. Elsewhere in your country, a lonely boy wakes up in his orphanage and thinks of his two fathers, neither of them there—one by choice and the other not by choice at all.
This child wonders why his paternal father abandoned him at birth, why didn’t he love me? Then he wonders where his new father is.
The new father he saw for the second time just eight months ago along with his new mother—his paternal mother abandoned him too, only a few years after birth. This innocent wonderful child told his new adoptive parents “I love you” with a huge smile larger than life, the smile of a child who has never been able to say those words to a parent before.
His new father desperately wants to be with him this Father’s Day, but isn’t able to visit him again at the institution where he is stuck—and may die alone. What his father really wants is to bring him to the United States, to give him a family, a home, and a joyful and fulfilling life.
This family that I know is one of approximately 50 families across our country that were in the process of adopting a child from Russia, had met their child in Russia, were a matter of weeks from bringing them home, and then came the adoption ban that you signed into law forbidding any adoptions to foreign countries.
All the built up anticipation, all the time and money—the tens of thousands of dollars that it takes to adopt a Russian child—and swoop, it’s all gone. But the love of this new father remains.
This father is one of the most heroic fathers that I know—because he is still fighting, because he is still hoping that somehow, someday he will be able to bring his child home. And yes he is a father to this child, whether Russian law recognizes it or not. It doesn’t matter whether it’s formally written in a legal document; it’s written within his heart.
President Putin, you have the influence to change how this story ends, to advance legislation that will enable those adoptive parents who have already met their children to complete their adoptions, and to enable each of these children to have their own father, and their own mother, who will love them in a special way that only parents can for the rest of their lives.
You will be in our prayers along with these children and their adoptive parents. We pray that they will have peace in their hearts, the peace that comes from knowing that God loves them and that they are doing all that he asks from them—continuing to love, to hope and to work to be with one another.