Congressman’s SOTU guests are parents banned from Russian adoption
At Tuesday’s State of the Union address, a New York congressman will host a couple whose plans to adopt an orphan were thwarted when the Russian parliament banned all American adoptions last December. Dania and Nick Marvos, a couple from Little Neck, NY, were in the process of adopting a little boy from Russia when ...
At Tuesday’s State of the Union address, a New York congressman will host a couple whose plans to adopt an orphan were thwarted when the Russian parliament banned all American adoptions last December.
Dania and Nick Marvos, a couple from Little Neck, NY, were in the process of adopting a little boy from Russia when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning American adoptions of Russian children last December. The couple had traveled to Russia in December to meet their prospective child, a one-year-old boy named Ari, but now their hopes of bringing Ari to the United States are all but lost.
"Waiting for news to see if we will be allowed to bring our baby home has been one of the most trying times in our lives. Devastating does not capture the emotional roller coaster that we are enduring every day," Dania Mavros said in a statement. "We try to keep our spirits up with the hope that our family will be united and our beautiful little boy does not have to grow up in an orphanage without the love of his Mommy and Daddy who are waiting for him in the United States."
The couple will be the guests of Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), their congressman, who has been working both in public and private to help them finish the adoption process they began, despite the new law. The lawmaker and the couple held a press conference on the issue last month in Queens.
"President Putin is jeopardizing the future for thousands of Russian orphans and their adoptive parents here in the U.S. over a political disagreement with the administration," Israel said in a press release. "The adoption process is difficult enough for any family without adding international politics to the mix. Children should never be used as political pawns, but in this case that is exactly what’s happening. "
The anti-adoption law passed Russia’s upper house of parliament unanimously and was widely seen as retaliation for a new U.S. law that punishes Russian human rights violators by restricting their access to visas and their ability to do business in the United States. That bill, the Sergei Magnitsky Accountability and Rule of Law Act of 2012, was named after the Russian anti-corruption lawyer who died in prison, allegedly after being tortured by Russian officials.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in December that the Russian bill would needlessly result in the suffering of the most vulnerable Russian orphans, who bear no responsibility for the political feud between Moscow and Washington.
"Since 1992 American families have welcomed more than 60,000 Russian children into their homes, and it is misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations," Ventrell said. "The welfare of children is simply too important to tie to the political aspects of our relationship."
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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