State Senator Who Adopted Russian Child Comments on Ban

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Russian lawmakers moved Friday to ban Americans from adopting Russian children.  This legislation could affect hundreds of American families who are in the process of adoption.  The process is lengthy, creating emotional ties before the child is ever brought to their new home in America.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a ban on adoptions to the United States Friday.  Families across the U.S and here in Northwest Arkansas are affected by today's action.

“The people that are going through this process that have visited their children, it's their child and to be told that as far as they know it's over, you won't see the child or hear from the child anymore it's got be just devastating," said Bart Hester.

Newly elected Republican State Senator Bart Hester and his wife Ashley know all too well the process of adopting a Russian child.

Four years ago they adopted their son, Nik, who was two at the time.They visited him several times and after a year were able to bring him home.

It an expensive and emotional process as they bonded with Nik the first time they met him

“You have a child that you're thinking about all the time and you're preparing a room for him, you're praying for him every day and just worrying about him like you would any child that you're growing in the womb, or that you're going to adopt. So you're just so emotionally invested and you're whole family is invested," explained Hester.

 Hester say he's holding on to hope for the many families that want to adopt.

“The caretakers for these orphans in Russia and the people that facilitate adoptions really love these children in our experience and I really think that they are going to put a lot of pressure on Vladimir Putin from within side the country to make some exceptions here,” said Hester.

Russia is the third-largest source of foreign adoptions by U.S. citizens.  According to the U.S. State Department Americans adopted close to 1,000 Russian children last year.

Backers of the Russian bill said American adoptive parents have been abusive, citing 19 deaths of Russian children since the 1990s

The move is seen as part of Russia's retaliation for a set of human rights sanctions passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Obama earlier this month. That bill, imposes U.S. travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia.

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