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Local Family, Agency Reacts to Russian Adoption Ban

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AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB/AP) — A local family who has adopted a loving child from Russia reacts to a Russian law that could ban Americans from adopting Russian children.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he will sign the a controversial bill.

“The situation that’s going on now with families stuck in the middle of this diplomatic crisis is really tragic, you know for both the child and adoptive family,” said Phil Weilerstein.

Phil his wife Kathy and daughter Kira adopted Maya from Russia when she was four and a half months old. Maya is now nine years old.

“It’s been wonderful, she’s been really our pride and joy,” said Phil Weilerstein.

The family saw the need to provide good homes for the children first hand when they visited Maya in the Russian orphanage.

“Knowing that there are some families right now who met their children and are waiting for the final process that they could potentially be cut off is heart breaking,” said Kathy Weilerstein.

Putin told a televised meeting on Thursday that he “doesn’t see any reasons” against the bill and said that he “intends to sign it” into law. The president said U.S. authorities deny access to adopted Russian children and lets Americans suspected of violence towards Russian adoptees go unpunished.

Critics say that the bill will deprive many Russian orphans of an opportunity to get a family.

“I think in the year 2012 we should have risen above putting children in the way of politics and that however the two countries can best provide for the children is the decision that should be made,” said Marla Allisan, Full Circle Adoption of Northampton.

The Russian parliament has voted for the bill, which is part of a larger measure by lawmakers retaliating against a recently signed U.S. law calling for sanctions against Russians deemed guilty of human rights violations.

UNICEF estimates that there are about 740,000 children without parental custody in Russia.


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