Russia-U.S. tiff threatens adoption plans for many

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Charlie Butts (

Russia is retaliating against a law passed by the United States, leaving prospective American parents in a grim situation.

AP video buttonA Russian attorney working for an American law firm in Moscow exposed fraud by Russian police and tax officials against an investment company, was arrested and then allegedly beaten and tortured to death in jail. Last Friday, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act to rebuke Russia, essentially slapping the Kremlin for human-rights violations.

Now Russia's parliament has given preliminary approval to a measure banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans, a harsh retaliatory move against that legislation. Top Russian officials have expressed unease about the proposal, an apparent indication that the Kremlin opposes the move. To become law, the measure would have to pass a third reading in the lower house of parliament, the State Duma -- expected on Friday -- then clear the upper house before going to President Vladimir Putin for his signature.

It's a lengthy process to adopt Russian children. Whit Lewis -- senior pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in New Albany, Mississippi -- and his wife are in the final stages.


"We're adopting two boys, 4 and 2 years old," he tells OneNewsNow. "They're full brothers and we are scheduled to be in court on Friday, January 11." The pastor and his wife spent considerable time with the boys in Russia last August.

The Mississippi couple and others in line for adopting Russian children have launched a campaign asking people to contact their elected representatives in Washington, the State Department, and President Obama to encourage them to work with Russia to resolve the issue:

"These two boys have our hearts already, and we're just desiring that nothing will be set in stone to keep us from going and getting these boys and to bring them home and to have them under our roof and be a part of our forever family," says the pastor.

Lewis points out there are many U.S. families in the same situation -- and notes more than  700,000 orphans in Russia need a family.

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