Minnesotans voice concerns over Russian adoption policy

  • Star Tribune
  • January 13, 2013 - 9:26 PM

Minnesotans also gathered Sunday to protest the Russian ban on U.S. adoptions.

"The demonstration shows that some people in Russia are concerned about the fate of these children, too," said Maureen Warren, president of the Children's Home Society, who hosted a session at which Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., spoke to families in the process of adopting kids from Russia.

Warren's agency has been handling Russian adoptions for 20 years, placing 20 to 30 Russian orphans with Minnesota families each year.

The two women agree that political differences between Washington and Moscow are behind the ban that was approved by the Russian parliament two weeks ago but has yet to be implemented.

"These little orphans are being used as political pawns," Klobuchar said Sunday.

Among the questions local families had were: Will the ban take effect? And what is the United States doing about it?

Klobuchar said a number of families -- including some from Minnesota -- have already departed for Russia for court hearings scheduled for Tuesday. It is unclear what the disposition of those cases will be, she said.

"The families already have the pictures of these kids," Klobuchar said. "These cases have to get done."

The U.S. State Department estimates that 500 to 1,000 families in the United States may be affected by the ban, Klobuchar said. There are 57 families with adoption decrees from Russia and another 234 who have been already matched with Russian children, she said.

President Vladimir Putin this past week delayed the adoption ban for a year, which might allow some of the adoptions already in the pipeline to go through.

Heron Marquez • 952-746-3281

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