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Adoption ban puts American families' plans on hold

Readers in Newton, New Jersey, who are looking to adopt internationally should be aware of a recent ban put into effect by the Russian government, which has issued a law placing an immediate ban on the adoption of Russian children by Americans. When the ban went into effect it was not supposed to affect those parents who had already obtained court approval for their adoptions. But unfortunately, parents who have obtained such approval have been unable to pick up their children after traveling to Russia. The cause is partly due to the uncertainty Russian officials have about the scope of the law. It has become a very controversial issue in the area of family law.

The ban was enacted by Russian president Vladimir Putin in retaliation for a U.S. law sanctioning Russians accused of human-rights violations. After it was rushed through the Russian parliament, a spokesman for the Russian government said that parents who had previously obtained a court order would be allowed to take custody of their children. However, some couples in the final stages of adoption are now being forced to wait longer as Russian officials wait for guidance on how to implement the new law.

Before the law was enacted, there were 52 American couples who had obtained court orders approving their adoptions. Two of those couples traveled to Russia to pick up the children they adopted. Even though they both had already obtained court orders approving the adoptions, Russian officials refused to turn over the children.

This unfortunate story illustrates how adopting internationally is the most complicated type of adoption. Hopeful parents must not only satisfy the laws of the state in which they live, but also the laws of the host country. They must also go through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to obtain an immigrant visa for the child or children they wish to adopt. If the agency approves the adoptions, the child will automatically be granted U.S. citizenship upon his or her entrance into the U.S. Families considering adoption may want to consult an experienced family law attorney to find out everything that is involved.

Source: KIII-TV, "Russian adoption ban wrenching for families in US," Jim Heintz and David Crary, Jan. 16, 2013

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