Family's Adoption Hopes Stalled by President's Remarks

Another major obstacle, he said, is that the United States does not have an agency designated to deal with international adoptions, as called for in the Hague Convention.

"Because the United States doesn't participate in the Hague Convention for adoption, there is no agency that could be responsible for international adoptions," Kozhan said.

The State Department assists Americans seeking to adopt children from other countries, and a representative has been negotiating with Belarus on behalf of the Zakkours, but it seems no progress has been made, Anne Zakkour said.

"I'm told there may be a slight chance of a dialogue," she said.

The couple has also turned to local politicians for help, including their governor and senators. They even wrote to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, after hearing that the former movie star had helped another couple fighting for a Belarus adoption.

Despite their frustration, the Zakkours said they have not soured on Belarus or the people there, and they said they understand the government's concerns. If the adoptions are finally approved, they said they will teach the children about their home country, and bring them back to visit when they are older.

"We want the children to learn all about Belarus, we want to take them back when they grow up," Zakkour said. "Belarus was our first experience with the Eastern European countries, but we loved it there."

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