MN families still hopeful on Russian adoptions

MINNETRISTA, Minn. - For Christmas, Jack Thomas got a new train. But what he really wanted will have to wait a while longer.

Three years ago Jack thought his younger biological brother Nikoly, or Teddy as he calls him, would be leaving a Russian orphanage to join him in Minnetrista with his adoptive parents John and Renee Thomas. The adoption got caught up in the courts and now Russia's law banning American adoptions.

"He has blue eyes and that's all. I don't know anything because I've never seen him, just some pictures," Jack said of his brother.

Several Minnesota families also cling onto pictures of a Russian child. Each of them are waiting and hoping their adoptions go through too. Though it's hard to count exactly how many local families are impacted by the adoption ban, it is estimated that nationwide between 500-1,000 adoption cases have already found matches with U.S. families. Russia has agreed to delay the adoption ban for one year. But Senator Amy Klobuchar doesn't think that's enough.

"Many of these families have a picture. They've gone (and) they've met these children. In their hearts they are their children and they should be their children," Klobuchar said.

During a Sunday roundtable with families, including Jack's, Klobuchar said she will take their stories and pictures to the Senate floor. Klobuchar sent a letter to the State Department urging them to push pending adoptions through before the ban takes effect.

"A lot of this is just politics and we're just stuck in the middle," John, Jack's dad said.

The family's story has gone international now even making its way to Russia. Through media reports they've learned that Teddy, now 4, was moved to an orphanage for older kids, according to Renee. They worry the longer they wait, the less they will know about Jack's brother.


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