September 06, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG – Over the last 20 years more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by American parents.
But that isn’t happening anymore, after Russian president Vladimir Putin put an end to the adoptions in January. The move was in retaliation for a U.S. measure that cleared the way for human rights sanctions.
Families still fighting for the children they want to adopt are watching G20 negotiations closely, in hopes world leaders will bring the ban up.
Dan Pinkelman is one of the parents looking for answers about the 7-year-old Russian orphan he was hoping to adopt
“We don’t have any updates or any status on him,” said Pinkelman.
The National Council for Adoption says about 2,000 American families were in the middle of Russian adoptions when the ban went into effect.
“It’s a human tragedy that children live and die in orphanages around the world anyway how much worse is this tragedy that it’s because of politics,” said Chuck Johnson, President of the National Council for Adoption
Politics might be the cause, but our political leaders are the ones with the power to help lift the ban. Parents are asking them to push President Obama to talk about the issue.
“It’s heartbreaking. So I have written Secretary Kerry, written the President about it. We gotta be sure Kerry and the President deal with the issue and tell the Russians, ‘Look, just allow this kids to have a better life. Many of whom are desperate to have a family who loves them,” Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) told Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro.
The families are putting pressure on any member of Congress who will listen. They have spent the year lobbying on Capitol Hill and collecting thousands of letters of support.
“To take it out on babies and on young children is an outrage. The Russians should never do that. Some of their own people are very upset with them by the way,” said Michigan Senator Carl Levin (D).
The parents say they keep working because they want to keep the issue alive, realizing they might never be reunited with the Russian children they hoped to adopt.
“I will be at peace as a parent knowing the child I had in my home for two weeks has a family,” said Jennifer Diehl, an American mother whose Russian adoption is still in limbo.
Peace hasn’t come yet for the families because all communication between the families and Russian children has been shut down. Now the only thing left to hear is the strong voice of our lawmakers.
“A lot of American parents have gone to Russia to adopt children. And the Russians are playing political games with it. I hope the kind of bilateral talks that the us and Russia have on a whole host of issues that this can be one of them,” said Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Vice president Biden and Sec. of State John Kerry have brought the issue up in very high level discussions without success. President Obama is in St. Petersburg right now but he isn’t planning on meeting one-on- one with Russian president Vladimir Putin.