Push for adoption ban sparks concerns

Updated:

A couple who adopted a child from Russia fears they may lose their child as Russia's president decides whether to ban American adoptions from the country.

ATLANTA - Russia's president will be deciding soon whether to ban American adoptions from Russia, an action opponents said is being done out of retaliation to U.S. lawmakers calling for sancations against some Russians.

Channel 2's Liz Artz talked with a local family who adopted from Russia. They hope Russia will put kids' welfare before politics.

Their son, 7-year-old Ben Suhs, knows he's adopted, but he doesn't know any other parents.

Kurt and Ann Suhs adopted him from Russia when he was 13 months old.

"My grandmother was born in Russia. Culturally there's a connection. We look a lot alike. It's just the way God puts families together," Kurt Suhs said.

After a long and expensive process, the Suhses are closely monitoring Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions to see if he would approve the measure.

Lawmakers there are accused of retaliating against a recently signed U.S. law that calls for sanctions against Russians deemed to be human-rights violators. The director of the alien adoption agency thinks the ban has been brewing for years.

"They found the abuse cases and published them and publicized them and emphasized the negative of what can happen to a child instead of the postive," said Illien Adoption Agency Director Anna Belle Illien.

Russia has documented 19 reported deaths of Russian children after being adopted by American parents - nineteen deaths out of 60,000 adoptions in more than 20 years.

“The same thing happens in Russia with their own children," Illien said.

The Suhses who had plans to adopt another Russian child, hope Putin will take politics out of it and react as a father to the parliament's unanimous vote.

“We would encourage both countries to try and work things out," Kurt Suhs said.

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