U.S. families can no longer adopt Russian children, following a law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday.
President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children.
The bill is part of the country's increasingly confrontational stance with the West and has angered some Russians who argue it victimizes children to make a political point.
News4's Darcy Spencer spoke to a Maryland family who went through the process of adopting their sons from Russia. Lee Allen told Spencer the new rule was "devastating" for would-be parents.
"The children you are dreaming about may not come home," Allen said.
When Allen was trying to adopt his now-13-year-old sons, Putin placed a moratorium on adoptions. "They were in my heart," Allen said. "When we thought we couldn’t get them, as you can imagine, it was very devastating."
Allen was able to eventually adopt the boys and bring them to Maryland when they were a year old.
UNICEF estimates that there are about 740,000 children not in parental custody in Russia.
Lauren Koch of the National Council for Adoption told Spencer, "All they really want is someone to call 'mommy' and 'daddy,' a home and a family to come to and this ban could potentially strip them of the hope of a family."
The law also blocks dozens of Russian children now in the process of being adopted by American families from leaving the country. The U.S. is the biggest destination for adopted Russian children. More than 60,000 of them have been taken in by Americans over the past two decades.
It is retaliation for an American law that calls for sanctions against Russian officials deemed human rights violators.