Local families seeking to adopt from Russia in limbo

December 27, 2012 9:45:41 PM PST
Chicago area families hoping to adopt Russian children worried their plans are on hold Thursday night.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will sign a new law barring Americans from adopting children from that country.

Many Russian lawmakers are upset at a human rights law recently passed in this country, and according to many observers, the decision to ban adoptions of Russian children by Americans is political. But it leaves many potential parents and children in Russia helpless.

Brian and Kelly Bielski brought their son Mason from Russia home to Roselle. The four-year-old has adjusted well to life in the U.S. He's even a White Sox fan.

"At this point, he's an all-American four-year-old," said Kelly Bielski.

The couple chose an international adoption because they had always had an interest in Russia, and at the time, it was quicker than adopting a baby in the U.S., but that was before Putin promised to sign a new law banning American adoptions, including those already in the works with prospective parents who have traveled to Russia and met the child they hope to bring home.

"Kids in these orphanages are aging, and every day that goes by that they don't have a permanent family is day of development that is lost," said Julie Tye, who runs The Cradle adoption agency in Evanston. Tye says international adoptions have declined dramatically in recent years because many countries are pushing to keep adoptive children within their borders. In Russia, however, a large percentage of orphans are never adopted and grow up in orphanages.

Kendra Skaggs and her husband planned to bring five-and-a-half-year-old Polina home to the U.S. They visited her at her orphanage just last week, and already consider her their daughter.

"I can't help her. I can't tell her i love her. So, it's really hard," said Kendra Skaggs.

The Bielskis can hardly imagine life without Mason. They feel for those waiting and for the children who are caught in the middle.

"It just tore us apart knowing that odds were not very good that they would ever have a family," said Brian Bielski.

Adoption experts in this country say they are still holding out hope that the Russian president will decide to let adoptions that are already under way continue. Tye is urging people to lobby representatives in Washington to try to put pressure on Russia.


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