By E.B. Solomont
Sen. Roy Blunt got personal when speaking out recently against Russia's new ban on Americans adopting Russian children.
"My wife Abby and I adopted our son, Charlie, from Russia a number of years ago now," he told Congress on Dec. 31, 2012. "The Russian government has decided to use Russian kids in orphanages as political pawns."
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law Dec. 28 banning Americans from adopting Russian children. The law took effect Jan. 1. Forty six children whose adoption was underway must stay in Russia. Russia has more than 650,000 orphans, including 110,000 in orphanages. Since 1999, Americans have adopted more than 45,000 Russian children.
Blunt portrayed the new law as a reaction to provisions in a new trade agreement with Russia, in which the United States inserted penalties for individuals who were involved in the death of Russian attorney Sergei Magnitsky.
"We were specific about the narrow group this applied to," said Blunt. "They're very specific about the 110,000 kids in orphanages in Russia today that couldn't be adopted by American families because they've decided to use these kids as a political tool. It is the wrong thing to do."
He said at least one family in St. Louis that was on the verge of bringing home their adopted child now won't be able to. "Now, the (Russian) government says you can never take this child home," he said. It's "totally unacceptable."