A toddler living in an orphanage in Russia has a chance at a forever family in the Tampa Bay area, but lawmakers in Russia have passed legislation that could make that difficult.
Adalyn is 2 years old. She has spent her whole life in the orphanage, with a birth defect for which she has never received treatment: She has a bilateral cleft in her lip, gum, and palate.
Cindy and Dennis Boyer in Brooksville want to change that. The couple traveled all the way to Russia this month to finally meet the little girl they are in the process of adopting.
"It's like holding your baby for the first time, and that's pretty incredible," Dennis Boyer said.
"She took us to so well that they let us leave and go into a room with her by ourselves," said Cindy Boyer.
But there could be a problem. Russia is considering a law that would ban Americans from adopting Russian children. President Vladimir Putin says he will sign the bill into law.
The bill is widely seen as the Kremlin's retaliation against an American law that calls for sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators. It comes as Putin takes an increasingly confrontational attitude toward the West, brushing aside concerns about a crackdown on dissent and democratic freedoms.
Dozens of Russian children close to being adopted by American families now will almost certainly be blocked from leaving the country.
The law also cuts off the main international adoption route for Russian children stuck in often dismal orphanages: Tens of thousands of Russian youngsters have been adopted in the U.S. in the past 20 years. There are about 740,000 children without parental care in Russia, according to UNICEF.
The Boyers are concerned, but staying positive. They lean heavily on their faith and say their case is being expedited.
"A judge has been contacted, and he said let's try to get this going and set a date. We have to wait for the courts to re-open and set a court date, but they seem very positive," Dennis said.
Cindy and Dennis are already blessed with eight children. They believe Adalyn is also meant to be a part of their family. Three of their kids were born with similar defects, and now they're doing well.
The Boyers have raised about half of the money they need to adopt Adalyn. They still need to come up with another $24,000 over the next four weeks.
The U.S. State Department said Wednesday it regretted the Russian parliament's decision.
"Since 1992, American families have welcomed more than 60,000 Russian children into their homes, providing them with an opportunity to grow up in a family environment," spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement from Washington. "The bill passed by Russia's parliament would prevent many children from enjoying this opportunity ...
"It is misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations," he said.
If you would like to help the Boyers, you can donate at www.reecesrainbow.org, or contribute to the fund at Sun Trust bank in the couple's names: Cindy and Dennis Boyer.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.)
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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