Family Has Hope for Russian Adoption; Local Couple Began Process before Ban; Now Kremlin Says Adoption Deal with U.S. Is Good till 2014

Article excerpt

A Webster Groves couple said they can only be extremely, extremely cautiously optimistic about news out of Russia Thursday indicating U.S. adoptions currently in process could be completed despite a ban enacted by that country last month.

Kathleen Duncan said Thursday she and her husband, Brent, are anxiously awaiting word on whether they could adopt a 19-month-old baby named Nika from an orphanage 1,000 miles north of Moscow.

The couple had visited the child in November and had completed their paperwork when they learned late last month that all adoptions to the U.S. were to cease. The family was awaiting a Russian court date to complete the adoption and had hoped to bring the baby girl home as early as next month. The couple have three other children, all adopted from Russia.

Until we see a U.S.A. family that is able to go there and bring a child home, we wont be very hopeful, said Duncan.

The familys U.S. adoption agency has gotten no official confirmation by anyone in Russia that the adoption can continue, she said.

The Kremlin said Thursday that an existing adoption deal with the U.S. will remain valid until 2014 despite a new Russian law banning the practice. But, as Duncan said, it is unclear whether it would keep the door open for more adoptions or allow the completion of adoptions that were under way before the ban was passed.

She said information coming from the United States indicates adoptions may be allowed, but only apply for prospective parents with existing court dates in Russia. Her adoption agency said there has been no information reported in the Russian media clarifying the Kremlins most recent statement.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin signed the law banning Americans from adopting Russian children, part of a response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be violating human rights.

Although some top Russian officials, including the foreign minister, openly opposed the bill, Putin signed it into law in less than 24 hours after receiving it from the Parliament, which overwhelmingly passed it.

Putins spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the state RIA Novosti news agency that the previous adoptions agreement will remain in force until Jan. 1, 2014. Under the agreement, it is valid for a year after one of the parties terminates it, which Russia did on Jan. 1.

Peskovs statement ends the controversy over the length of the agreements validity. …