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Orphans in Limbo
Courtesy of the Fromans
Orphans in Limbo

As quickly as Russia declared a ban on adoptions by Americans, it announced that the ban wouldn't go into effect until 2014. Even still, Teri and Ryan Froman have abandoned hope of bringing a second Russian child home to Spring Hill, Tennessee.

"It's very disappointing and discouraging," says Teri, who recently halted the process she and her husband initiated last summer. "We're not one of the families who will be considered. Everything they're saying right now is very confusing."

The Fromans are among nearly 1,000 prospective parents dismayed by the ban passed by the Russian parliament in December.

The latest vote came just five months after Russia ratified an agreement with the United States. The terms of that agreement were prompted in 2010, when a Tennessee woman sent her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia with a note on his bag, citing behavioral problems. Now the Kremlin has reversed course, saying it will hold off until next January, because of a one-year notification required under the agreement.

Adoption advocates have reacted with both cautious optimism and disbelief that any adoptions from Russia will proceed this year.

Some observers blame politics, specifically new U.S. sanctions related to the 2009 prison death of Russian attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who alleged widespread government corruption.

"It's an inhuman decision," says Sergey Rakhuba, president of Russian Ministries in Wheaton, Illinois. "It tells you about the Russian administration, using innocent kids as pawns in a big game."

The ban prompted uproar in Russia, with thousands turning out for protest marches in Moscow and St. Petersburg. An anti-ban online petition quickly ...

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Orphans in Limbo
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March 2013

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