WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- Bad news for the hundreds of American families hoping to adopt Russian children -- and perhaps even worse news for the children.
The Russian Parliament just approved a ban on all American adoptions of Russian children.
American adoptive families are still hoping for a Russian change of heart.
Lee Allen of Indian Head, Md. says he know just what hundreds of American families are struggling through. "It took me back. It took me back about 13 years."
In 2000, he was trying to adopt his two boys from Russia. "They'd already made a home in my heart and I just wanted to bring them home to America."
Vladimir Putin temporarily suspended foreign adoptions. "They're just children. They're just kids, and what they need is a home."
On Friday, days before Christmas, the Russian lower house approved a plan to ban all American adoptions, and the upper house is expected to approve it too, despite protestors who say the children have become pawns in an international political chess game.
It's up to Putin to decide whether to sign it -- and he so far is non-committal.
Critics say the move is retaliation for American passage of the Magnitsky Act, named for a Russian anti-corruption lawyer who was beaten and starved to death in prison.
But Russian supporters say it's a response to the death of a two year old Russian adoptee in his father's stifling car in Fairfax County... and to the Tennessee woman who sent her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia alone.
"Those cases are tragic and absolutely have to be monitored," says Megan Lindsey of the National Council for Adoption in Alexandria. "But there are also 60,000 children who have been adopted from Russia into the U.S. and the vast majority thrive in families."
And there are perhaps 650,000 Russian children in orphanages, dreaming of a home. The very best orphanage in Russia can't compare to a family," says Allen, who loves now to brag about his two 13-year-old sons, John Christian and Jason.
Some Russian American adoptees plan to deliver a letter to the Russian Embassy in DC next week in hopes of convincing President Putin to quash the ban on American adoptions.
Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com