Russians Rally to Help US Adoption Mom Fighting for Child
Forty-six American families are fighting to find a way around the adoption ban.
MOSCOW Dec. 31, 2012— -- "I'm just short of dying of heartbreak. You can quote that," Kendra Skaggs wrote in a short message to ABC News on Saturday evening.
Earlier in the day she had been hopeful that her and her husband's adoption of a 5-year-old Russian orphan with spina bifida named Polina would be allowed to go through, despite a newly signed Russian ban on adoptions to the United States.
Russian officials had said six adoption cases that received court approval before the ban went into effect on Jan. 1 would be allowed to leave the country.
But just hours later Kendra received crushing word that Polina was not among them. Despite receiving court approval on Dec. 24, her adoption had not passed through the necessary 30 day waiting period.
"Back to square one of the unknown," she wrote in another message.
And so it has gone for the Skaggs family, who are among 46 American families fighting to find any way around the ban to bring their newly adopted Russian children to the United States.
They dissect every statement from officials that might hint at an opening, anything that could give them hope.
Her emotions have oscillated from despair, to hope, and back to despair and frustration as they search for a legal avenue to bring Polina home.
Along the way she has received thousands of notes of encouragement, many from Russian citizens who offered to help.
Since Kendra Skaggs took her story public in an interview with ABC News on Thursday, the blog she has used to document her experience and vent her frustration has received over 52,000 hits from 40 countries and hundreds of comments. They urged her not to give up the fight for Polina.
One Russian from Moscow offered to pay for an apartment when Kendra and her husband come for Polina. Others offered to provide transportation, translations, medical help, and even legal support.
Still others offered to pass on messages to Polina. Businessmen from St Petersburg promised to check in on her at the orphanage outside Moscow during work trips.
"If you want me to get anything to Polina, I will buy on my account, no problem" one of them wrote.
"Forgive us. We can't protect our kids from the Russian government," a Russian woman named Evgenia wrote.
Another woman named Natasha said she remembered selling Kendra flowers in Moscow a few months earlier and said she never forgot about her effort to adopt Polina.
Americans also posted encouraging messages, including from some who had tried to adopt from Russia before.
Even Sen. John McCain R-Ariz., tweeted his support.
But the road ahead remains perilously uncertain.
She is holding out hope, but Kendra will likely have to wait another agonizing week before she gets a firm answer. Russia is in the midst of a holiday break that lasts until Jan. 8 and until then government offices will be closed.
Her adoption agency has been reluctant to offer much guidance either since the situation is so fluid.
"I know they don't want to tell us something and be wrong. But something, anything would be nice," Kendra wrote on a her blog on Saturday after learning that Polina was not among the six who would be allowed to leave the country.
"I want to get on a plane and come (to Moscow) so badly, but I don't think being there will do any good. They won't let me in to see her," she told ABC News.
On her blog, Kendra described the whiplash of emotions over the past week.
"It's the kind where your breath is taken away. When you feel you might lose your lunch," she wrote.
"I'm angry. I'm hurt. I'm sad."