EUGENE, Ore (KMTR) -- Some adoptive parents have began to worry in light of a new law Vladimir Putin signed Friday. The measure bans U.S. families from adopting Russian children.
Many people are calling the measure a political maneuver, one that may jeopardize the future of many Russian children, already set to be adopted by American parents.
While supporters of the measure point fingers to what they consider the "insufficient care" provided by American parents, others are calling it a retaliation against Obama's Magnitsky Law. The Magnitky Law was designed to punish Russians accused of human right violations, and President Obama signed it on December 14.
Local adoption agency, Holt International, was very upset to hear Putin had signed the ban, and say they're not the only ones concerned.
"It was a huge disappointment. I think that had been the expectation, but there was also the hope that there would be some compassion shown,” says Susan Soonkeum Cox, Holt International’s Vice President of Policy and External Affairs. “Even though we don't have a program now in Russia, our phones have just been ringing off the hook with families who are anxious, and people who want to know, is this in any way going to affect them."
Dan Olmstead and Courtney Leonard have been working towards adopting their first child for about two years now. They can't imagine what it would be like to have to start over now.
“It would be very emotionally difficult,” says Olmstead. “They have to go visit the country three times to bond with the child, to have that cut short, it'd be like just any other set of parents losing a child.” He added.
Dan's wife Courtney is upset politics are playing a role in the adoption of innocent children. “I think in the end, the really hard thing is that it is a political maneuver by Putin.”
Dan and Courtney are on the wait list for a child from Ethopia. They're hoping to have a match, and have their first child within the next year and a half.
The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2013. It's unclear what will happen for American parents who have already been matched with children in Russia.