Katherine Horton is an Alexandria mother who is working with other parents to complete adoptions of Russian children that were initiated before a ban was put in place earlier this year by the Russian government.
Are you trying to adopt in Russia?
I have a 6-year-old girl I adopted from Russia in 2008. I started to adopt again in 2010 and met a girl in the Murmansk region who I hoped to have home in May of 2012. But the adoption process started to slow down in Russia, and the ban went in place on Jan. 31, 2013.
How many parents are in the group?
There are about 200 families in the United States that are impacted, who have met and bonded with their children in Russia but can't bring them home because of the ban. They are from all over the United States.
Why is there a ban on American adoptions in Russia?
There were a couple of reasons. First, there have definitely been some cases in America where Russian adopted kids have been injured and neglected — and in some cases even killed. But there are 60,000 Russian kids that have been adopted who are living in the United States. And second, in 2012, Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, which makes public a list of human rights abusers in Russia and freezes their assets here. So the ban on adoptions came in part because of that law.
What are you hoping to accomplish?
These families have just come together organically and informally, and we are really trying to make just a pure grassroots effort to ask the American and Russian governments to think creatively about how to solve this problem. We are circulating a letter in Congress and have half the Senate and many House members. We are sending it to President Obama asking him to prioritize this issue when he meets with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin at the G8 summit in June.