Starting this week, the Russian government is saying no to any new adoptions by American families. The Russian ban may be retaliation to new policy by U.S. legislators. But, some say it's the children who'll suffer.
Fifteen year old Hunter Dake is an adopted Russian who's happy to be in America. See, Russian rules put unadopted kids out on the street at 16.
"It's really nice here. I get to do whatever I want, and walk where ever I want. You know, there's not a bunch police around, going to get you because your homeless," said Hunter.
Kim Dake, adopted Hunter in '97. She says without the adoption system, Hunter could have become a statistic, like so many homeless Russian kids.
"They turn to drugs, and crime, and they end up in prison, or dying, or committing suicide. It's horrendous," said Kim.
U.S. stats show, American families are the biggest overseas adopters. They've taken in more than 60,000 Russians in the last two decades.
Last week, that helping hand was swatted away. Russian parliament banned Americans from adopting, starting January 1st. Russian officials say some of their adopted children have been abused or died. Foreign policy analysts call it retaliation for a visa ban on Russian officials accused of human rights violations.
"They're retaliating by holding hostage orphans, that otherwise would have homes in the United States," said Georgetown University Professor Charles Kupchan.
Whatever the reason, it frustrates Kim who says kids will fall between the cracks.
"Out of the 700,000 Russian orphans they have in the system right now, there's like 18,000 Russian people lining up to adopt them. They're not going to be able to come close to meeting their needs," said Kim.
The Dakes have two adopted sons from Russia. Hunter, and 12 year old Carson. Before the ban, the Dakes say adoption from Russia typically took a year.
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