Last Russia Adoption Finalized As Ban Sets In, Heartbreak Ensues

The last Russian adoption is set to be finalized in the coming weeks as American adoptive parents and Russian orphans cope with a ban set into place by Vladimir Putin in retaliation for US sanctions — and dozens of children and parents’ futures are heartbreakingly unclear as the new law takes effect.

The last Russia adoption casts more than 50 pending adoptions in limbo — with parents and children still in Russia coping with the potential their reunion may never happen, a casualty of a diplomatic scuffle leaving many soon-to-be families out in the cold.

Even as the last Russia adoption looms, some parents are breathing a sigh of relief following clarification just days ago from the Russian government about adoptions in later stages.

As the New York Times reports, Russian child rights commissioner Pavel A. Astakho confirmed last week that late and pending adoptions would essentially be grandfathered in despite the ban, allowing orphaned kids in Russia to join waiting families in America.

Astakho said during a press conference lasting an hour and a half that the last Russia adoptions will indeed go through, stating:

“All children on whom there is a court decision will leave the Russian Federation for the States.”

However, the commissioner also defended the controversial decision to halt American adoption of Russian kids during the heated conference. And for Robert and Kim Summers, awaiting the arrival home of their son Preston, the wait was agonizing.

The pair are part of one of the last Russia adoptions to be finalized after the ban, but that wasn’t immediately clear. ABC reports:

“[The Summers] were supposed to bring Preston home on Jan. 11, but the date came and went. A judge gave final approval, but officials in the passport office were reluctant to issue travel documents because they did not know if the adoption ban applied in this case.”

Ultimately, the Summers were among the lucky last parents to complete their adoption, and Preston was allowed to travel home with them. For many American couples and Russian kids, the future is unclear, and all remain pawns in the diplomatic bickering.