Couple says Russia’s new adoption law is a ‘death sentence for orphans’

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SAN DIEGO — A family in Vista recently adopted two children and said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to prohibit U.S. citizens from adopting children is a “death sentence.”

Amy and Andrew Brockhaus recently adopted their daughter Maria, 10, and 18-month-old son Elijah from Russia.Brockhous Family

“It’s been probably the most joyful five weeks of our lives,” said Amy Brockhaus and expressed the process of adopting from Russia was not an easy task.

“It is one of the most difficult countries to adopt from, probably one of the most expensive,” said the Vista couple.

The Brockhous’ explained they were compelled to adopt in the former communist nation after visiting an orphanage there nearly a year ago.

“[The kids] are turned out into the streets when they are 16 years old. The girls are usually kidnapped and sold for prostitution, the boys [live] a life of crime and a huge percentage commit suicide,” the couple said.

Amy BrockhausMaria’s chances of getting adopted were low due to her age and Elijah was marked as a sick baby, they said.

“When our son came home he was so malnourished, all of his ribs were showing,” Amy said. “I don’t know if he would’ve survived.”

Now, 10 months after beginning the adoption process, both children are on the road to getting healthy and are part of their family.

Maria and Elijah may be some of the last Russian children ever to be adopted by an American family. On Friday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law, prohibiting US citizens from adopting Russian children.

Putin’s move is seen as political retaliation over a new United States human rights law causing friction between the two nations.

The Brockhaus family and many other families caught in the middle of their adoption process expressed their concern for the wellbeing of the thousands of children in Russia. They said many of them were ready to arrive at their new home in the US.

“They’re the pawns in a political move and it will result in so many children’s lives lost,” said the Brockhaus’.

UNICEF statistics show there are more than 740,000 Russian orphans up for adoption. The US has the highest rate of adoptions in that country.

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