OGDEN -- An Ogden-area adoption agency claims a Friday adoption ban signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin only puts international adoptions for Americans under further threat as countries continue to close off adoption routes for U.S. citizens.
"The number of international children placed with families is less than half of what it was 10 years ago," said Kathleen Kaiser, director of Wasatch International Adoption of Ogden.
Kaiser said she sees international adoptions being under threat every year, with countries like Guatemala, Romania and Nepal already closed to U.S. adoptions.
"Other places are getting difficult. It's the government bureaucracy that is making it so tough," Kaiser said.
And now Russia.
"This is a horrendous thing. This is a huge deal. I feel very sorry for the families caught in this," Kaiser said.
Although WIA does not have a license to work with couples who want to adopt a child from Russia, it does provide home study work to help families gather the necessary information and documentation to work with their respective adoption agency on an adoption of a Russian child.
Not only will the families in the process of such an adoption possibly suffer emotionally, Kaiser said, but they will also likely lose the thousands of dollars they have invested in moving their adoption plan forward.
Putin's action supersedes the bilateral agreement Russia has had with the United States, Kaiser said.
"Russia is not our friend. This has kind of been coming for awhile, but I don't think anyone thought that it would be this abrupt," Kaiser said.
And the feeling is, some people are going to be prevented from being able to adopt their children, she said.
"There may be enough pressure put on Russia to let these families finish," Kaiser said.
Putin's action on Friday abruptly terminated the prospects for more than 50 youngsters preparing to join new families.
The move is part of a harsh response to a U.S. law targeting Russians deemed to be human rights violators. Although some top Russian officials, including the foreign minister, openly opposed the bill, Putin signed it less than 24 hours after receiving it from Parliament, where it passed both houses overwhelmingly.
The ban is in response to a measure signed into law by President Barack Obama this month that calls for sanctions against Russians assessed to be human rights violators.
Information from the Associated Press is included in this article.