Speaker John A. Boehner wants President Barack Obama to help Ohioans adopt Russian children.
In a little-noticed letter last week, Boehner and the rest of the Ohio congressional delegation asked Obama to bring up the current ban on Americans adopting Russian children when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G8 Summit in June.
What's it to Boehner and his colleagues? Well, according to the letter, "The number of Ohio families halted by this ban is the highest of any state in the country."
Putin banned Americans from adopting Russian children at the start of this year. Before the ban, American adoptions from Russian outpaced those from any other country, according to various reports.
The move was seen as a response to a U.S. law imposing sanctions on Russian officials believed to be involved in human rights abuses, spurred by the death in prison of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky. But it didn't help that in the summer of 2010 an American adoptive mother sent a Russian boy back to his home country with a note that she no longer wanted him.
The Ohio delegation's letter noted that many families in the state were in the final processes of adopting children and that the many orphans "are vulnerable and without families or homes in Russia. Many of these children have a disability that requires medical care that they are not receiving in Russia. These children are loved by and have come to know the American parents who want to welcome them into their homes and provide a life filled with promise."
Though they've asked Obama to make the issue a priority when he meets with Putin in June, the White House has struggled with how vigorously to push to reverse the adoption ban given they need the Russians' help in dealing with the Syrian civil war and the threat of a nuclear Iran, among other things.