Cincinnati Children's Blog

Russian Adoption Ban Hits Home for Cincinnati Family

A Cincinnati couple has nearly completed the process of adopting a special-needs child in Russia, but the Kremlin has put their plans in jeopardy.

A few weeks ago, Mike Sweeney and his wife, Natalia Zimina, flew to Russia and met the 4-year-old boy they want to welcome into their family.
They visited the boy, named Constantin, in a St. Petersburg orphanage several times over the course of a week. They signed adoption papers with Russian officials.

The couple, who  have biological children ages 14, 8 and 5, need two additional trips to finalize the adoption. In the meantime, they left photo albums with the boy “and said we would be back soon to get him. So he’s expecting us,” Sweeney said.

But now that appears to be impossible. On Friday, Russian President Vladimar Putin signed a bill to ban Americans adopting Russian children. It becomes effective Tuesday with the start of the new year.

The couple is also concerned about Constantin getting the medical care he needs. The special-needs boy has neurological and spinal problems.

Dr. Mary Staat, director of the International Adoption Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, said children adopted from Russia often pose challenges.

Read more of the story in USA Today.

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