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Russian adoptions were difficult even before new ban, adoption agency official says

BY SILAS ALLEN Published: December 29, 2012
/articleid/3741422/1/pictures/1917132">Photo - Wendi and Terry Schuur, of Norman, adopted their daughter, Marina, from Russia in 2010. Marina is now 4  1/2  years old. PHOTO PROVIDED
Wendi and Terry Schuur, of Norman, adopted their daughter, Marina, from Russia in 2010. Marina is now 4 1/2 years old. PHOTO PROVIDED

The law also calls for the closure of nongovernmental organizations receiving American funding if their activities are classified as political — a broad definition many fear could be used to close any nongovernmental organization that offends the Kremlin.

The ban, which takes effect Tuesday, is in response to a measure signed into law by President Barack Obama this month that calls for sanctions against Russians assessed to be human rights violators.

That stems from the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was arrested after accusing Russian officials of a $230 million tax fraud.

He was repeatedly denied medical treatment and died in a Russian jail in 2009. Russian rights groups claimed he was severely beaten.

Stephani Haslam, of Edmond, has three daughters she adopted from Russia. She and her husband had always intended to adopt rather than having biological children, she said.

“We felt like there were plenty of children that needed families,” she said.

Haslam said she’s angry at the Russian government’s actions. The ban holds the country’s children hostage for political purposes, she said.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that the children are the victims in this political posturing,” she said.

Wendi Schuur, whose daughter is now 4 1/2 years old, said she worries about the children in Russian orphanages who are now cut off from American families. When Wendi Schuur and her husband toured the orphanage where they found their daughter, she said it was clean and safe, but appeared to be understaffed.

The staff did their best with their resources, but appeared to be overwhelmed by the number of children in their care.

“It’s so unfortunate that those children are being used as political pawns,” she said. “It absolutely breaks my heart.”


The Associated Press

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