Wednesday, January 2, 2013

family welcomes girl with Down syndrome before Russian ban

from Daily Herald by Danny Crivello:
An American Fork family reportedly adopted a 4-year-old Russian girl with Down syndrome just days before Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children -- presumably making the girl, Hazel, one of the last of those now-banned adoptions.
Heather and Jeremy Fillmore welcomed Hazel into their American Fork home only an hour before Christmas began, the Deseret News reports. It took about 11 months for the Fillmores to bring the girl home from Russia prior to her arrival at Salt Lake City International Airport.
“It’s been tough, but worth it, and to have her here and be part of our family, it’s now great,” Jeremy Fillmore told the newspaper. “We feel like we’re complete and we’re excited to have her.”
The Fillmores will be among the last of more than 60,000 American families to bring up a Russian child as their own as Russia signed a bill this week outlawing the process. President Vladimir Putin's approval of the adoption ban will leave nearly 50 Russian children on the verge of adoption by U.S. families now stranded.
The Fillmores found Hazel through a website that advocates for children with special needs called Reece’s Rainbow Down Syndrome Adoption Ministry. She was the family’s second girl they adopted from Russia via the website. Anya, now 7, was adopted in March 2011, the newspaper reports.
Putin on Friday signed a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children, part of a harsh response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be human rights violators, the Associated Press reported.
Although some top Russian officials including the foreign minister openly opposed the bill and Putin himself had been noncommittal about it last week, he signed it less than 24 hours after receiving it from Parliament, where both houses passed it overwhelmingly.
Children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said 52 children who were in the pipeline for U.S. adoption would remain in Russia.
The bill has angered Americans and Russians who argue it victimizes children to make a political point, cutting off a route out of frequently dismal orphanages for thousands.

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