Russian President Putin is expected to sign a law banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans. The move is creating stress for prospective parents in New York and around the country.
David Nish with the Spence-Chapin adoption agency in New York City said the expensive, time consuming adoption process can also be emotionally costly.
“We try to prepare families for anything that could happen--that said it's still heartbreaking when it does," said Nish. “So we’re really feeling terribly for the families that are waiting"
Russian officials said they expected the law to immediately affect 46 children whose adoptions were nearly completed.
Karen Medve, director of an adoption agency in Massachusetts, said the ten families they've been working with, already deep in the adoption process have been grappling with the news.
"Some are thinking it's going to pass. Others are ready to jump out the nearest window and some are being smart and are being proactive," observed Medve. She said the most determined families have been writing to the State Department or turning to social media hoping their pending adoptions might still go through.
Nearly one thousand Russian children were adopted by Americans in 2011. The U.S. is the biggest destination for adopted Russian children; more than 60,000 have been taken in by Americans over the past two decades.
The adoption ban is in retaliation for an American law that calls for sanctions against Russian officials deemed to be human rights violators.
David Nish said despite being well-versed in the ups and downs of international adoptions, the prospect of a ban shocks him.
“Things change all over the world but when something political is getting in the way of something important for children, we were surprised.”