Chicago-area adoption advocates fear a pending ban on adoptions of Russian children by U.S. parents will adversely affect those adoptions already in progress.
"We're concerned that there about 46 children who have been matched with families here in the United States that that process is underway -- we're concerned that those adoptions now will not be allowed to go forward," said attorney Julie Tye of the nearly 100-year-old "The Cradle" adoption agency.
Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed Thursday to institute the ban in response to the United States action to freeze the American assets of Russians accused of human rights violations.
"This is the first time that we've seen the program close in response to a situation that is not specifically child-focused," said Tye.
But while she described Putin's action as a "shame," adoption attorney Shelley Ballard predicted that the ban might not be felt that much in the U.S., since international adoptions overall have greatly declined in the past 10 years.
"They try to create a process whereby the people in the country of origin can adopt the children rather than people from out of the country," she said.
Still, Russia is the single biggest source of adopted children in the United States, with more than 60,000 Russian children being taken in by Americans over the past two decades.