The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 16, 2013

Russian adoption ban wrenching for families in US

(Continued)

MOSCOW —

"It was something we felt we could do — we had experience, we had the resources and support," she said.

During three previous trips to Russia, dating back to last June, the Bonners have met seven times with the girl they hope will be their daughter.

"She's an amazing little girl, very active, very bright," Jeana Bonner said. "It's very apparent that the staff at her orphanage take very good care of the children ... But nothing can replace a family. We plan to take care of her for the long haul."

The Bonners and Preeces are among 52 U.S. families who'd won court approval for their adoptions before the ban was signed. Hundreds more families — perhaps 1,500 in all — were in some earlier phase of pursuing an adoption from Russia, and they too are in limbo.

Many listened in on a State Department conference call last week, and have been seeking assistance from their congressional representatives. But definitive answers are elusive.

"The information we have is very minimal — it's frustrating," said Joe Carrasquillo of Romeoville, Ill.

He and his wife, Jenna — both high school special education teachers — traveled to Russia in December to meet two boys they hope to adopt, and were dismayed as the ban began speeding through Parliament at the end of their visit.

"It was a real rough moment for us," Carrasquillo said in a telephone interview.

But his voice brightened as he recalled three straight days of meeting the two boys — one 3 1/2 and the other almost 2 — who live at different orphanages in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.

"We know both boys would be a great addition to our family," Carrasquillo said. "You feel a bond to them already even after one visit, and every day you got a little closer."

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