Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Adopted Russian girl moves to Utah

Many of our Utah readers may be aware of the recent ban Russian President Vladimir Putin put on adoption of Russian children by American citizens. The signing of this bill hit particularly close to home for one Utah family. Just days before the bill was signed in Russia, this family was able to finalize the adoption a 4-year-old Russian girl with Down syndrome.

While it is unclear when exactly this ban would go into effect, but a spokesperson for Putin made a statement saying that it would begin on the first of January. The Utah couple's new daughter does have Down syndrome, and they say this ban would mean other children with conditions like their daughter would have little hope for life outside of an orphanage.

Americans and Russians echo this couple's sentiments in arguing that this ban is a political move because of the issues between the two countries. Many believe this adoption ban is ultimately going to end up victimizing children and many Russian orphans will lose the opportunity to have a better life.

According to UNICEF, in the last two decades more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted and taken in by American families. Another study from UNICEF reveals that there are somewhere around 740,000 children in Russian orphanages, while onmly 18,000 Russians are currently on waiting lists to adopt.

As the law currently stands, there are 52 children who had their adoption papers in the works with U.S. parents. Many people fear that this ban will mean thousands of Russian orphans will be left parentless. Fortunately for this Utah family, they were able to adopt their second Russian child before it was set in place.

Source:, "Utah family reportedly adopted Russian girl days before Putin signed ban," Dec. 28, 2012

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