U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) today sent a letter to Russian Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak expressing deep concern at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to sign into law a measure barring American families from adopting Russian children. Sen. Toomey also urged the ambassador to prevail upon President Putin to reconsider his position.
“For the past 20 years, it has been possible for Russian orphans to be adopted by American families. In that time, over 60,000 Russian children have been welcomed to the United States and an overwhelming majority of them have found loving, nurturing homes, including many in my state of Pennsylvania,” wrote Sen. Toomey. “President Putin’s bill takes away this possibility of a new life with a caring American family. It is shocking to me and to my constituents that the Russian government would punish the most vulnerable members within its society – orphan children – with a futile effort at retaliation against an unrelated American law. I hope we can both agree that the welfare of children should not be used as a bargaining chip for diplomatic retribution.”
A local case drew international media attention of the issue recently. Michael and Nanette Craver were accused of killing their 7 year-old adopted son, Nathaniel, a boy adopted from Russia. The boy had suffered extensive abuse and was emaciated when he died in August 2009 at Hershey Medical Center. The Cravers, of Carroll Township, York County, argued the boy had emotional and mental problems that caused him to repeatedly injure himself. In the end, they were convicted of involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy.
President Putin signed the measure earlier today.