Russian adoption ban hits close to home for Michigan family

Family who adopted Russian child says new adoption ban is terrible news for families waiting to bring children home

By Lauren Podell - Reporter

OTTAWA LAKE, Mich. - The news of the adoption ban out of Russia hits very close to home for the Bennett family in Ottawa Lake.

They started as four but in July 4-year-old Jonas, from Serbia, joined the family.

Read more: Russia's Putin signs anti-U.S. adoption bill

"The problem lives under our own roof, he's my son. Had we started this process just a couple of months later, he wouldn't be here," said Jessica Bennett. "It just so happened that Russia was one of those places that we knew that lots of kids needed help there."

For years, Jonas lived in a Russian orphanage. His only possession was a cross given to him when he was Baptized. It took about two years to bring Jonas home to Ottawa Lake to be with his new family. That's something other American families may be waiting to do for a very long time.

"We've had lots of people who have been working on the adoptions for years who are now maybe a week away from going and bringing their child home, and now won't be able to," said Bennett.

Now that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the bill banning adoptions by Americans it is likely 46 children who were about to be adopted by U.S. families will have to remain in Russia. Even more children with special needs like Jonas are waiting for new homes.

For Bennett, this ban is a death sentence.

"I can't imagine what those people are feeling like now that their child lives a world apart from them and that there is a government stopping them from going to get them," she said.

All aspects of Jonas' life could not exist if he did not get adopted by the Bennett family.

"To know that there are hundreds of thousands of kids like him, it's disheartening. It's infuriating," said Bennett.

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