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Russian girl can't be adopted by US woman

December 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Kendra Skaggs considers 5 1/2-year-old Polina her daughter. The adoption process in Russia was nearly complete and Skaggs thought she'd bring Polina to the U.S. next month.

"I was crying and telling her goodbye and she said, 'Don't cry, mommy, be strong,'" Skaggs said.

Now Polina and 45 other orphans won't be coming to America. Russian President Vladimir Putin says he'll sign legislation banning Americans from adopting Russian children. The ban is believed to be retaliation for human rights sanctions President Barack Obama has signed into law.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Americans have adopted more than 60,000 Russian children, some with special needs like Polina. She has spina bifida and cannot walk. Skaggs and her husband had hoped to show Polina a whole new world.

"I want to take her to the beach and let her feel that sand, and I want to take her to Disneyland, and she tells us she wants to be a princess," Skaggs said.

Skaggs, who lives in Arkansas but grew up in Santa Clarita and Palmdale, worries she'll never have the chance to tell Polina it was a new law, not the absence of love, that kept them apart.

"I can't take care of her, I can't. I can't help her, I can't tell her I love her," she said.

Russian officials say they want to encourage more Russian families to adopt. Currently, 18,000 are waiting to do so, but the United Nations Children's Fund estimates there are 740,000 orphans in Russia.


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