Russia's adoption ban hits home for families on the Coast - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Russia's adoption ban hits home for families on the Coast

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning the adoption of Russian orphans by U.S. Families, the Kremlin announced Friday.

That ban hits home for families in South Mississippi.

"Do you remember when you were adopted?" asked Penny Ladner to her daughters.

Ladner reminisced with 3 of her daughters about when she first got them from Romania about ten years ago.

"When people say which ones are your's and which ones aren't? I say, there's no such thing," said Ladner.

"I would say thank you for adopting me," said 11-year-old Heather Ladner.

The Strattons feel the same way about their 9-year-old daughter Ivanna.

They adopted her 3 years ago from The Ukraine.

"We were in love with Ivanna from the first day we ever saw her picture," said Darlena Stratton.

Now, Stratton says the little blue eyed girl is the sunshine of her life.

"Yes, she's very high maintenance. Yes she gets what she wants, but she's our little girl," said Stratton.

So, when Russia released that they passed the law, December 28th, banning U.S. adoption of Russian children, the Ladners' and the Strattons' hearts began to ache.

"It shouldn't matter what country they go to, what country they're from. If they can have a family, let them have a family. They deserve it," said Stratton.

Stratton said Ivanna has grown immensely in 3 short years.

"When she came here, she could not communicate at all," said Stratton.

Stratton said she feels like she saved Ivanna's life and it's shown her how necessary adoption can be.

"It should not be political. We're talking about the lives of children," said Stratton.

Penny Ladner adopted Heather just in the nick of time, right before Romania banned U.S. Adoption in 2002.

Ladner said she feels the grief of the parents fighting to have their adoption finalized.

"We were so lucky to be able to get her before they shut it down, but my heart breaks for the parents that still have children that are technically their's but won't ever bring them home," said Ladner.

To these two families, adoption isn't about money, or politics...It's about love.

"They say, Mama, would you be rich if you didn't have us? I say, I am so rich now. You cannot put a monetary value on the love that we have for these kids," said Ladner.

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