The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 16, 2013

Russian adoption ban wrenching for families in US

(Continued)

MOSCOW —

He and his wife, who committed themselves to adoption even before they married, won't be looking to another country until they get a clear answer from Russia.

"We don't want to consider another option until we know this option is closed to us," said Carrasquillo.

Some families caught in the diplomatic limbo have decided not to speak publicly about their situation for fear there might be negative repercussions.

But Wendy Rella, a hair stylist from Bedford, N.H., said she and her husband, Peter, are taking an outspoken approach. They have a 4-year-old daughter, Alina, whom they adopted from Russia in 2009, and they were back in Russia last month visiting a 10-month-old boy they hope to add to their family.

News of the ban broke soon after they'd completed their 20-hour trip to Vladivostock, on Russia's Pacific Coast, to visit the boy.

"You feel sick to your stomach, wondering, 'What's the deal here?'" Wendy Rella recalled.

Since returning home, Rella has been writing to her U.S. senators, sharing her story with local media, and following the news in Russia — including a march Sunday in Moscow protesting the adoption ban.

"If we stay quiet, they won't know who we are," Rella said. "I'm afraid we're going to be forgotten about. I don't want people to stop marching, to stop talking about it ... I keep thinking we are going to get him home."

Like the Rellas, Kurt and Ann Suhs are hoping to adopt a sibling for a child they previously adopted from Russia — in their case, it's 7-year-old Ben.

Kurt Suhs, who works for an insurance company in the Atlanta area, said his grandmother was Russian. So there's an element of heritage at work as they try to expand their family even at costs that typically exceed $50,000 per adoption from Russia,

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