Russia (MNN) — "We at Orphan Outreach are just heartbroken over this new bill that has been signed by Putin, banning Americans from adopting from Russia," says Tiffany Taylor of Orphan Outreach in response to the December 28 signing of a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans.
Russian President Vladimir Putin dealt a serious blow to American families waiting to adopt Russian children. The ban goes into effect tomorrow, and upends a lot of future plans. "It will stop any adoptions, even those in process," explains Taylor. The saddest part of all is that "so many children are not going to have a chance for a loving family. But worst of all, now they're going to be doomed for life in a Russian orphanage."
The U.S. State Department issued a statement expressing the hope that adoptive parents and children "who have already met and bonded" would be allowed to complete adoption procedures that were initiated before the law took effect.
Government officials say the ban immediately blocks the departure of 46 children whose adoptions by American parents were nearly completed.
The issue has created a deep schism. Critics say the ban hurts the most vulnerable: children with no families. They claim these kids are already suffering in the child welfare system. On the other hand, supporters, pointing to the documented abuses involving adopted Russian children, argue that Russia should care for her own.
The latter is an ideological point. The reality, says Taylor, is that "it's going to put a big strain on the orphanage care system in Russia, and it's going to put a strain on those organizations like ourselves, that are working in Russia, that now have to find additional resources for these additional children that will be in these homes."
"Orphan Outreach works with every kind of orphanage. And truly this ban will affect every kind of orphanage," says Taylor, adding, "It's going to affect those homes with younger children, but obviously the repercussions are going to be huge, as these children are not going to be adopted. It's just going to put a strain on the system at every age level."
To put this into perspective, over the past two decades more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by Americans. To members of the Orphan Outreach staff, their job is clear. "We're going to be ministering to literally hundreds of children that are heartbroken, that thought they were going to have a loving home in America. So…all their hopes now are going to be dashed."
The ban also raises another point, says Taylor. "This bill did not specifically address organizations coming in and working in the orphanages, but it does raise a huge concern about how the government is going to also be cracking down on organizations that do ministry in Russia."
Orphan Outreach provides Russian orphanages with daily needs including food, clothing, and other urgent needs. Taylor says it's too early to know yet how the ban will affect the part of their work that deals with hope. "The most important thing is: we provide spiritually for these orphans, by going in and doing ministry to the orphans, by having Bible studies, by letting them know about the relationship they can have with their heavenly father."
Taylor sums it up this way: "We need urgent prayers for all the children in Russia and that ministries can continue to work in Russia, continue to make a difference in the lives of these children." Pray for the families that were ready to finish their adoptions. Pray that the children and the families would look to God for strength. Pray for a change in the situation.