January 2, 2013
The United State Department of State issued the following statement on December 31:

Alert: Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families Signed into Law

On December 28, President Vladimir Putin signed into law Russian Federal Law No. 186614-6, which prohibits the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens. This law will go into effect on January 1, 2013.

In keeping with the spirit of the current U.S.-Russia adoption agreement, which went into effect on November 1, 2012, the U.S. government continues to urge the Russian government to allow U.S. families in the process of adopting a child from Russia to complete their adoptions so that these children may join permanent, loving families.

At this time the Russian government has provided no details on how the law will be implemented. The Department of State has no information on whether the Russian government intends to permit the completion of any pending adoptions.

In observance of national holidays, most Russian government offices will be closed through January 8, 2013.

Prior to traveling to Russia, we strongly encourage families, in cooperation with their adoption service providers, to confirm that Russian authorities will process their adoptions to conclusion and provide all required documents. It remains unclear whether Russian immigration authorities will allow adoptees to depart the country and whether families in this situation will encounter legal complications with local authorities starting on January 1, 2013.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will continue to process Forms I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, and immigrant visa applications for children whose families have obtained all required documents as part of the adoption process. U.S. citizen adoptive parents who have completed an adoption, received a Russian passport for their child, and have filed or are ready to file Form I-600 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and then apply for the immigrant visa at the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow should call +7-495-728-5000 or email the USCIS office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow at Moscow.dhs@dhs.gov to request assistance.

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December 28, 2012
Below is a statement issued this afternoon by the Department of State.  We encourage all EAC families to email their adoption status to russiaadoption@state.gov (if you have already submitted your information to askci@state.gov, you do not need to resend).  The Department of State will keep you posted on the status of Russia adoptions as new information becomes available.

Russian President Vladimir Putin Signs Legislation to
Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families into Law

December 28, 2012

On December 28, President Vladimir Putin signed Federal Law No. 186614-6 which prohibits the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families.  This law will go into effect on January 1, 2013.

The Department of State remains actively engaged with the Russian government to determine how this will impact the resolution of adoptions by U.S. families in various stages of the adoption process.  In keeping with the spirit of the current U.S.-Russia adoption agreement, we have urged the Russian government to ensure that U.S. families in the process of adopting a child from Russia will be able to complete their adoptions so that these children may join permanent loving families.

The Department continues to encourage U.S. families in the process of adopting a child from Russia to provide information regarding where they are in the adoption process to the Office of Children’s Issues using the subject line “Intercountry adoption in Russia – family update.”  An email address has been set up for this correspondence: Russiaadoption@state.gov.  Those families that have already provided information to AskCI@state.gov do not need to resend their information.

As more information is obtained we will reach out directly to families that have provided their contact information.  Further information regarding intercountry adoption from Russia will also be posted on adoption.state.gov.

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December 28, 2012
Putin Signs Adoption Ban
EAC has been made aware of the tragic news President Putin has signed the Adoption Ban law.  The details of the implementation have not been made as of yet.  When the details are made available, EAC will be able to provide direction for each of our families.  To reiterate – we do not, at this point, know how this ruling will affect in-process cases.  We are continuing to contact each of our families to provide as updates as we learn them.

Here are statements released by DOS, NCFA and JCICS:

Department of State
Statement on Russia’s Yakovlev Act
Press Statement

Patrick Ventrell
Acting Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 28, 2012

We deeply regret Russia’s passage of a law ending inter-country adoptions between the United States and Russia and restricting Russian civil society organizations that work with American partners. American families have adopted over 60,000 Russian children over the past 20 years, and the vast majority of these children are now thriving thanks to their parents’ loving support. The Russian government’s politically motivated decision will reduce adoption possibilities for children who are now under institutional care. We regret that the Russian government has taken this step rather than seek to implement the bilateral adoption agreement that entered into force in November. We are further concerned about statements that adoptions already underway may be stopped and hope that the Russian government would allow those children who have already met and bonded with their future parents to finish the necessary legal procedures so that they can join their families.

The limitations imposed by the Act on Russian civil society’s ability to work with American partners will also make it more difficult for Russian and American non-governmental organizations to cooperate in areas as diverse as human rights advocacy, open government, and electoral transparency. The United States remains committed to supporting the development of civil society and the democratic process around the world, including in Russia.

NCFA

Russia Bans Intercountry Adoption with the United States

December 28, 2012 – Alexandria, VA – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law the controversial ban on intercountry adoption with the United States on Friday, December 28, 2012.

“Russia’s decision to ban intercountry adoption with the United States and deny children an opportunity of a loving family is most certainly a great tragedy, but it is just one example of a greater tragedy lived out daily by millions upon millions of orphans worldwide who are victims of war, famine, disease, and political systems that deny them a voice” says Chuck Johnson, President and CEO of National Council For Adoption.

Orphans want and need families. National Council For Adoption and orphan advocates from around the world will renew our efforts and continue to be their voice until their right to be loved, protected, and secure in a family is realized.JCICS

In what we can only describe as a tragedy, earlier today President Putin signed the ban on intercountry adoption.  The law goes into effect on January 1, 2013 and while some details remain unclear, it is being reported that the law supersedes the bi-lateral adoption agreement between the US and Russia.  The status of the adoptions currently in-process is not assured at this time.

The closure of Russia to intercountry adoption follows what is now an all too familiar strain of tragedies.  Children in Vietnam, Nepal, Romania and too many other countries suffer the life-long effects of institutionalization due to the elimination of intercountry adoption as a viable option.  However unlike other closures which were generally based on child protection issues, the Russian ban is particularly stinging in that it is an act of politics, pure and simple.

As a professional advocate for children and the father of two Russian born children, this ban by the Russian government is a loss for my head and my heart….but most of all a loss for the children of Russia.

Best Wishes,

Tom DiFilipo
President & CEO

Joint Council reminds those families who are in the process of adopting from Russia of the U.S. Dept. of State’s requests that families currently in the process of adopting a child from Russia email the Department of State at AskCI@state.gov.  Families should state the stage and status of their adoption and use “Intercountry Adoption in Russia – Family Update” in the subject line of the email Joint Council will continue to engage in collaborative efforts with and through US and Russian government officials, the Department of State, Congressional offices, Joint Council Partners, NGOs and advocates in both countries.  We will provide updates on this situation as they become available.  To receive Joint Council updates regarding Russia, individuals are urged to sign up for our Russia email alerts, which can be done by clicking here (Select “Country and Issue Specific Information” and then select “Russia”).

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December 26, 2012
Update from the US Department of State Website
Adoption Alert: Federation Council approves Legislation to Ban Intercountry Adoption by U.S. Families
The Department of State continues to follow developments in Russia related to Federal Law No. 186614-6 and remains actively engaged in discussions with the Russian government regarding concerns that, if signed into law, this legislation will needlessly remove the opportunity for hundreds of Russian orphans to join loving families each year.  The Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian Parliament) approved the legislation in a unanimous vote on December 26 and it will now go to President Vladimir Putin for signature or veto.  The Department of State has not received any notice that adoptions to the United States are suspended, and both the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continue to work closely with Russian authorities on intercountry adoption issues as set forth in the U.S.-Russia adoption agreement.

U.S. families currently in the process of adopting a child from Russia are encouraged to reach out to the Department of State at AskCI@state.gov to provide information regarding where they are in the adoption process.  We encourage families to use the subject line “Intercountry adoption in Russia – family update.”  We will seek to provide information directly to families that contact our office through email as it becomes available.  Information regarding the passage of any legislation that affects U.S. citizens who are in the process of adopting a child from Russia will also be posted onadoption.state.gov.

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December 21, 2012
Russian Duma passes the third reading of the Dima Yakovlev Law
The Russian Duma passed the third reading of the Dima Yakovlev Law, sending it to a Senate vote next week.  Upon the Senate vote, Putin will then decide whether or not to sign the law into effect.

The Russian Supreme Court has recommended all adoption court cases be postponed until a resolution has been reached. (this does not mean the law has gone into effect and adoptions are closed).

We owe it to the orphaned children in Russia that we remain hopeful.  We also recognize this can be an extremely difficult task for adopting parents, but we need them to be prepared in the case adoptions are able to move forward.

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Since we got back from our 2nd trip to Russia in March 2012, we have patiently been waiting to hear from the Ministry for an invitation to come back and meet the children. We got a letter from them that asked us to update some of our papers to match the home study update and sent them off at the beginning of August or so.  We wait to hear from them again to give us the green light to go back and visit.  It is interesting to me that we have almost come full circle and how short and long it has been at the same time. Our little girl will be 7 very soon and was 5 when we first met. Where did that time go?!! There have been so many things over the past year that we have gone through and are going through now, and yet it all pales in comparison to the day that we will be together as a family.  There is Joy in the waiting and each step of the way we have seen God do some AMAZING things that only He could do.  We rejoice in the fact that we have been allowed to understand and see those things unfold before our eyes one by one.

We must complete 50 hours of online training to satisfy the new education requirement that the bilateral agreement states we must do to adopt. There are a lot of uncertainties about this training and who’s qualified to do it. Please pray for wisdom and discernment to know which companies are certified and which are just claiming to be.

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We tried to call K last Thursday but we missed her because they had gone outside to enjoy the nicer weather. It had been raining all week long, so the kids needed to get out and blow off some energy outside.  We said that we would not get them to bring K in because we knew that it would make her mad at us (she LOVES outside) and told them that we would send her a letter and call again on Thursday then next week. That was last night, and at first we did not think that we were going to get anyone on the phone to talk to us. We called 4 or 5 times and no one answered the phone. This worried us because we did not know where anyone was and why they were not answering the phone.  Finally after one last try at 1:30 am we got the director on the line and she told us that they were all outside.  She was out of breath from running up 2 flights of stairs to get the phone. They took the phone outside and told K that we were on the phone and got her to talk to us. She did not want to at first, but as our translator told they were telling K that if she talked they would give her a piece of candy :)  They knew how much we wanted to talk to her and I am so glad that they were trying to help us be able to do that.

K was quite funny on the phone and told us that someone had thrown rocks at her on the playground! She quickly forgot about that and rattled off a list of items that she wanted us to bring to her the next time we came (oh, and When ARE YOU COMING — Tomorrow???!?!) She wants pink lip stick, purple nail polish, sun glasses, telephone, a dress and shoes. We asked her what size her feet were and she said, “I do not know, but when you come TOMORROW you will see my feet and then you can get me some shoes.” All of her comments back to us were really funny, very matter of fact and so typical for a 6 yr old. Another example of this is that she asked us “Mama y Papa, Can you see my ear?” She said that she got our letter (email) and that she read them. She ended up being very chatty and when it came time to hang up the phone, she would not hang up until we hung up, but then would come out with something else to talk about and ask us again if we were coming TOMORROW

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A week ago Sunday we made our usual call to talk to K and see how she was, but when we got through to the Director, she said that they could not talk much because they were needing to bring K to the Dentist and it closed at 12. We were told that she had an abscessed tooth.  We understood and told them that we would call back on Thursday to check in and see how things were.  So we called back on Thursday of that week and they told us that she was in the hospital until Monday. She needed antibiotics and would have to get them there. The thing is that, there is noone from the orphanage that can stay with her the whole time she there. So, Imagine being in a hospital with no family member to be by your side and comfort you.  I was horrified and hurt so much for her that we could not be there with her and that she had to go through that by herself.  We called back on Monday night and she was finally back in the orphanage. They said she did not do good and was upset (who wouldn’t be) and that they had to pull 2 teeth. We asked if we could talk to her and they said we could. So they brought the portable telephone out to the playground for her to talk.  She was in a very good mood (of course because she was playing outside) and she would get to go to horse therapy that day, so she was looking forward to it.  We have learned that there is a new Minister of Education person and we have sent a new letter explaining our journey so far. We wait to hear back.

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For the last 4 weeks each time we have called to talk to K she would refuse to talk to us. It was killing me that she was that upset and I sensed that she might be loosing hope that we would ever be back to get her. We asked if we could send a letter and some photos and they said we could. So we asked our dear friend A to translate for us and we sent the letter and photos off right after our phone call.  I don’t know if this is what helped to renew K’s hope or not, but tonight she was SO TALKATIVE.  THE BEST Conversation she’s had with us so far.  Sarah wanted to talk to her too, so she got to stay up until 12:30am and got to say hi. (I’ll have to blog about all the things we did to ‘keep us awake’ later). Thank you God for this renewed encouragement you have given her and us.  We will write more letters and send more photos.  Had to share this good news because it has been a while since we have had anything to share.  It will be a long day tomorrow with tired bodies, but it was completely worth it to hear K talk and sing.

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On the days I praise, sing and just talk to God in my car on my way to work – something either unexpected or out of the ordinary usually happens. At least that has been the case for the last few weeks.  Singing, puts me in a state of Thankfulness and appreciation of everything that we have been given.  I’m humbled because I don’t deserve any of it.  The other day is a good example of  this because I was having my little chat and solo performance in the car that morning and then went to my afternoon job only to find a really awesome black and white bag waiting for me with my name on it sitting next to the sign-in book that I use to clock in.

Totally unexpected – with my name on it and no others?!? I inquired if anyone knew who it was from and no one would gave up any info.  I try to lift it and it was VERY heavy, so I opened it up to see that someone had given me a HUGE bag of pennies to go toward our Adoption. WOW!!! The tears just welled up in my eyes and down my cheeks as this was an awesome, unexpected and overwhelming act of kindness.

We have been in wait mode for a little while now and our friends get to have their children home and I am feeling a little sad, like it will never be our turn and then I am reminded of how God’s working it all out even in the wait. There is JOY in the waiting!

Thank you so much Penny Elf for your encouragement and LOVE!!!!!!!

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We have 2 winners from our drawing for the Hershey Bars. Kayla Noland and Lisa Radcliff. Thanks so much for participating! You guys ROCK!

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We have had the sheer JOY of seeing two of our friends “children” come home forever and we DELIGHT more than any words can say in our hearts for them.  Our faces smile from ear to ear because there is one less ORPHAN in this world and because we know that those children are LOVED [...]

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We had the awesome pleasure to see two former orphans arrive HOME with their new parents this weekend. One from India and one from Russia. It gives us hope and peace about our own adoption journey every time we get to go witness how faithful God is in the lives of these families. Psalms 68:2 [...]

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Click the Giant Hershey Bar to find out about our new Fundraiser!

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