Moscow, Russia – Tens of thousands took to the streets of Moscow today to protest a new law signed by President Vladmir Putin that bans Americans from adopting children from the nation of Russia.
According to reports, over 10,000 protesters stood in the bitter cold chanting “Russia without Putin” and “Putin is a child-killer,” along with other slogans. Some held photographs of the various legislators that were responsible for passing the bill, which had the word “shame” sprawled across their faces.
The ban, which went into affect on January 1st, is believed to serve as retaliation for America’s Magnitsky Act, which prohibits Russians accused of human rights violations from obtaining Visas. However, legislators in Russia state that the ban was necessary because 19 of the 60,000 children that have been adopted by Americans have died over the past two decades.
The protesters that marched upon the streets of Moscow today said that to deny Russian children the right to be adopted by American families is to deny those same children the right to a hopeful future.
“Without adoption, such children have no chance,” Dmitry Belkov, protest organiser, told reporters. “This law is a worse thing to do to these children than the treatment animals get in other countries.”
“For the Americans it’s not such a big deal; they can go on adopting other children around the world. But for our children there is no hope,” added protester Maria Volodko. “Our country always takes revenge against the weakest ones, makes their lives even more miserable.”
However, as previously reported, a number of American families have also expressed their disappointment over the ban, especially those that were in the process of adopting children. Approximately 46 adoptions that were in the late stages of completion may now be stalled — possibly permanently. Nearly 200 other families that were in the early stages of selecting children will now be forbidden from continuing their pursuit of parenthood.
“I’m appalled,” Kim Summers of Freehold, New Jersey told the New York Times. She and her husband Robert were scheduled to fly to Russia to bring a 21-month-old boy home tomorrow.
“I’m a little numb,” commented Maria Drewinskyof Sea Cliff, New York, who has been completing the adoption process with her husband. “We have clothes and a bedroom all set up for him, and we talk about him all the time as our son.”
For those that have already adopted from Russia, they state that they are grateful they were able to get the children home before Putin closed the door to the Western world. They also add that they grieve with those parents that are uncertain whether or not they will ever be able to bring their chosen child back to the states.
“I am so heartbroken for all of the kids and for their families,” writes mother Vanessa Delgado on Fort Worth, Texas on her family blog. “I feel like there is nothing we can do because [Putin] has already signed this into a law, but we have to do something!”
She adopted a little boy named Anton last year from the country, who is now doing very well despite struggling with epidermolysis bullosa, a rare skin condition.
“A few days ago, I was holding Anton when he leaned over [and] put his cheek up to mine and gave me a huge hug,” Delgado outlined. “We stayed like that for about a minute, and then Anton said, ‘Mommy, I so happy.’ It was the sweetest moment ever and it made me cry!”
She told the Washington Post that she sees adoption as a mirror of what God did for us in Christ.
“Adoption is a beautiful gift,” Delgado explained. “God adopted us through Jesus when we did nothing to deserve it. It’s a beautiful picture of the Gospel.”
All in all, the families state that they are praying for a miracle, so that they might be able to continue to care for orphans as commanded by Scripture. According to reports, one Russian lawmaker plans on presenting an amendment to the restriction that would allow disabled children to be adopted by American parents.
“We’re not giving up hope because there still is that chance the amendment will pass and we’ll be able to proceed,” the Huhn family said.
“[These children] have opportunities they never would have had in the orphanage,” Delgado added. “So the ban is absolutely devastating. I pray it will be lifted.”