Families devastated by Russian ban on US adoption - KPTV - FOX 12

Families devastated by Russian ban on US adoption

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Russian lawmakers have banned Americans from adopting children from their country.

The ruling by Russian politicians is widely seen as retaliation for a law that President Obama signed two weeks ago that imposes US travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia.

The ban is a devastating blow to hundreds of American families seeking to adopt Russian children, but now can't.

"To not let the children come here makes no sense," said mother of two, Sarah Westenberg.

Westenberg adopted her special needs children out of Russia years ago.

"It was a very complicated and thorough process," said Westenberg. "There was an extensive background test, and because I am a single mother they made me go through psychiatric testing and financial evaluations."

Alex, age 10, and Daria, age 8, were both born with a cleft palate. Westenberg has spent thousands of dollars on reconstructive surgery to give them a better quality of life.

"I've seen such a change in my kids' lives, it's incredible."

Westenberg was in the middle of adopting again, this time twins. But now that could all change.

"They were already our family, we have their names, we've started decorating their rooms, it's a really awful thing," said Westenberg.

The Russian bill to block US adoption appears to be blocking Westenberg from bringing her babies home. A bill that Westenberg says that's more punishment to innocent children, than to the politicians it aims to hurt.

"All of the children there won't have a home, and they won't have a mother to tuck them in at night."

Unsure of what's next and where families like hers go from here, Westenberg says she's focused on staying positive.

She's also hopeful that one day, the ban will be lifted and the twins can home.

"It would mean everything, our family would be complete," said Westenberg.

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