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    Posted December 27, 2012 by
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    Russian children needing families denied


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     iReporter Susan Bardolf is devastated by the news that Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a controversial new law banning U.S. families from adopting Russian children. She adopted her now six-year-old son, Jesse, from Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia (he is on the left in the image, along with sisters Deirdre and Mia). "My son was two years old when the court decision was finalized and we celebrated his third birthday at the [Russian] orphanage with his friends while we waited out the mandatory 10 days, before we could come home to New York," she said. "Adoption is a leap of faith. You need to trust the process, trust a foreign government and very importantly, trust your adoption agency." She believes that the Russian president's move is more about Putin's need to "retain control of his citizens" and unwillingness to compromise than any informed decision about protecting children. "I am crushed thinking about the fate of the Russian children who were in the process of being adopted and other children that will never know the chance," she said.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    In 2009, I was an expectant mother. August 14, 2009 my husband Mark and I adopted, our then two year old son, Jesse, from Rostov on Don, Russia. Beside my wedding day, that was the happiest day of my life. The process to adopt my son was filled with anticipation, excitement, anxiety and a lot of scrutiny. Back in 2008, there was a sleeping toddler boy from Virginia who was accidentally left in a car by his father. The child tragically died due to the heat. This story was so tragic on many levels. Tragic for the child first and foremost. Tragic for the mother of this child and tragic for the father. The child had recently been adopted from Russia. This situation plain and simple is like a knife in the chest to parents everywhere. You would probably say something like this would never happen to you, but do you really know that for sure? What made this story even more emotional for Russia was that the father of the boy was acquitted of his death. There was considerable outrage regarding the lack of conviction. In the years since this acquittal, the U.S. and Russia worked together to negotiate a bi-lateral treaty to add safeguards for adopted children. This treaty was in effect as of Nov 1, 2012.
    Four years has passed since the father was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter in this case. The family of this boy undoubtedly will suffer because of this tragedy for the rest of their lives.

    Since the treaty was in effect 6 weeks ago, the Russian government is once again resurrecting this tragedy and tying it to part of legislation now pending before President Putin to ban all U.S. Adoptions.

    I totally support the scrutiny of any potential parent of a child who is under state or government care. Why should a government take your word that you just want to be a Mom or Dad, without giving you a thorough background check before and yes, after you finalize the adoption of your child. My son Jesse is the light of our lives. He has 9 cousins, two sets of grandparents and friends that adore him. He was three when we adopted him and is now exceling as a six year old first grader. I want Jesse to be proud of his culture, both Russia and U.S. There were many children of the same approximate age as Jesse, when we adopted him that just needed a family to love them. I don't think that President Putin disagrees on that point.

    Both Russia and the U.S. worked tirelessly for the past few years (not weeks) on reaching agreement on a bi-lateral treaty designed to put in further scrutiny, safeguards on children. What was missing from the treaty that required this excessive knee jerk reaction?

    If this new bill is in fact, intended to protect the interest of protecting the children, why did he let the November bi-lateral agreement go forward in the first place?

    To now override the bi-lateral treaty is compounding the tragedy, by denying children the opportunity to become part of a family and is incomprehensible to me.

    3,627 children have been adopted to the U.S. from Russa since 2009, according to the U.S. Department of State.

    Please share your stories on how your Russian-U.S. children have enriched your lives. As a parent to two children he acknowledges (and potentially one from an affair he denies), President Putin should be more compassionate.
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