Akron: Family faces loss after Russian adoption ban

12:25 AM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
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AKRON, Ohio -- When Kate and Steve Garcia decided to adopt a child, they knew they wanted to give a better life to a boy or girl facing a bleak future.

Their sights turned to foreign adoption, and then Russia, where some 750,000 children are living in orphanages and many will never live in a family home.

"When you consider the sheer magnitude of children in need, it's really gut wrenching. That's a lot of what compelled us to adopt," said Steve.

The Akron couple embarked on the lengthy, expensive and often exhausting process of adopting from Russia. After two years of paperwork and overseas visits, they brought home 2 1/2 year old Dima in March 2010.

Raising him is such a joy, the couple decided to go back to Russia in search of a daughter. 

They were one step away from bringing another child home, when news broke of a law banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children.

"It's been hard. I tell people it probably feels like a miscarriage.  This dream and plan and all the work and time and money spent, and over night it is just gone," Kate said.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin passed the law last Friday.  Many believe it to be retaliation for a new U.S. law that seeks to punish Russians accused of violating human rights.

Caught in the middle of the politics are families like the Garcias, who now do not know if they will be able to adopt a child at all from the country.

Kate and Steve know at least two families who have already traveled to Russia and bonded with a child, and may now not be able to bring them home.

"These aren't just right-from-birth [orphans]. They're children who have gone through a lot of pain already in their little lives," said Kate.

As heartbroken as it is for their family, the Garcias' thoughts and prayers are with the other thousands of children so close to a better life and a real home.

"That's what's so sad, is knowing these are kids who've already been passed over, and their opportunity to have a family is almost none now," said Kate.

The Garcias have a web conference call on Sunday with their adoption agency to talk about the next steps.

The Associated Press

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