(Toledo News Now) – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into a law a ban on Americans adopting Russian children Friday morning.
The new ban received a unanimous vote by the Russian Federation Council, and was in retaliation to a new American law calling for sanctions against Russians who have violated human rights.
Unfortunately for the orphans, the United States is the largest foreign destination for adopted Russian children. The law will terminate pending adoptions for over 50 children.
"They're putting the well being of children at risk for the sake of political retribution, and that has to stop," said Rachel Denber, deputy director of Human Rights Watch.
The law will also be a hard blow to the dozens of American families that were already in the process of adopting a Russian child. The process can take years, and cost up to $60,000.
"Naturally they are devastated," said Lisa Wurster, president of the Friends of Russian Orphans. "And I'm sure the children, once they learn of this outcome, will also be devastated."
Wurster founded the Friends of Russian Orphans after she and her husband adopted their son Peter when he was two. The goal of the organization is to help improve the facilities of Russian orphanages and help facilitate the adoption process.
UNICEF estimates there are over 740,000 Russian children living without parental care.
"They don't know political boundaries," Wurster said. "They don't know geographic boundaries. All they know is that they want somebody to love them, somebody to take care of them…Unfortunately, in this case, politics has entered into the picture and it has created…a substantial obstacle for these children finding families."
To help raise local awareness of the adoption ban, Friends of Russian Orphans is planning a prayer vigil for Saturday, Jan. 5.
For more information on the event or the group, visit their website here.