Local Family Reacts To Russia's Proposed Ban On U.S. Adoptions
by Heather Graf
Mount Juliet, Tenn. - It was just two years ago when a Bedford County woman sent her adopted son back to Russia and set off a firestorm of controversy. Now, adoptions from that country are once again making headlines.
This time, it's because Russia wants to put a ban on all U.S. adoptions.
Adoption attorney Bob Tuke tells NewsChannel5 the ban is widely considered a retaliation move, designed to punish the United States for an anti-corruption law recently approved by Congress.
"It's not a little one, it's a big political power play," he said. "The Russians would really be hurting their own children very, very badly if they did this, and that's who I care about."
Russia's parliament has already given preliminary approval to the measure.
That has thousands of hopeful adoptive parents in this country worried and nervous that they might not get the son or daughter they've been waiting for.
Elaine and Jeff Jolly, who live in Mount Juliet, have adopted five Russian children since 2001. They say their family is perfect, and they wouldn't have it any other way.
That's why news of the adoption bad, in their household, was hard to hear.
'The first thing that goes through my mind is those poor children," said Jeff. "There are people who want to adopt those children. The second thing that goes through my mind is oh my goodness, those poor couples who've been waiting for months or year, and then something like this happens and they're just stuck.
The Jolly's know that heartache all too well.
Each time they adopted a child, they prayed and waited for months before finally being able to bring he or she home.
When Bedford County resident Torry Hansen put her seven-year-old adoptive son on a plane and sent him back to Russia by himself back in 2010, the Jolly's were in the process of adopting two little boys.
Because of the situation involving Hansen, they say, Russia made its adoption rules even more strict. As a result, the Jolly's were only able to bring home one of the boys they'd hoped to adopt.
They say this adoption ban brings back those hurtful memories.
"To think that someone is depriving them of a family because Russia isn't happy with some law we made, so they're retaliating by holding children from a family - that makes me angry," said Elaine.
Their advice to families still waiting for a child from Russia is to be patient, and hopeful, that this threat will fall through.
"Just hang in there, because it's all worth it," said Jeff.
Top Russian officials have expressed unease about the proposal, and the hope is that it will be vetoed by the Russian president.
Parents in this country have adopted more than 60,000 Russian children over the last two decades.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 2:24 PM EDT2013-06-19 18:24:42 GMT
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