The U.S. adoption ban is sailing through the Russian parliament with overwhelming support and will likely make its way to President Putin’s desk by the end of this month. Opponents of the bill are calling it a tragedy of epic proportions that will hurt Russian orphans the most.
“I thought I would have her here by this Christmas, I was sure,” says Katie Horton.
But for now, baby Paulina will stay in her Russian orphanage.
Horton adopted one daughter from Russia in 2008. She’s been fighting to adopt Paulina for the past year, but she says Russian officials have made it nearly impossible.
“It’s just hurdle after hurdle,” she says. “The process is incredibly burdensome.”
Yesterday she made the difficult decision to withdraw her adoption application for Paulina.
“If anyone would get me a ray of hope I would wait for her for years, but I don’t see any hope,” she says.
Horton’s struggle as an adoptive parent comes in the wake of the Russian parliament’s effort to push through a ban on all U.S. adoptions of Russian children.
“It’s a tragedy that this is happening,” she says.
The proposed adoption ban is widely seen as retaliation against the U.S. after President Obama recently signed legislation cracking down on human rights abusers in Russia, but backers of the bill cite numerous deaths of adopted Russian children in the U.S.
“The name of the proposed law is the original Russian name of the child who tragically died in this country,” says adoption specialist Mark Eckman. He says the ban could put the countless adoption applications already in the pipeline in jeopardy.
“This law is draconian and if it passed it might mean a suspension of all cases, including cases in process now.”
“Those kids over there, they need a forever home,” says Horton. Her hope is for Paulina to find that forever home with another family outside the U.S.
“I think it’s her only chance of getting out of that orphanage. If the Russians will let a European family adopt her, or someone other than American, it’s her one chance,” she says.
Russia’s foreign minister is against the proposed adoption ban, but the decision is ultimately up to President Putin, who has historically resisted calls to ban U.S. adoptions. A final decision is expected to be made in January.