(Photo: Office of Speaker John Boehner)
Every member of Ohio's delegation to the U.S. Congress, including Republicans and Democrats, both senators and Speaker of the House John Boehner signed a letter to President Barack Obama asking him resolve the issue of orphans who have been adopted by American parents, but are not allowed to leave Russia.
Ohio families have been most affected by the ban, the letter states. The Russian government banned all adoptions to the United States in January. By one count, 230 families were already in the process of adopting a Russian child, but had not brought their child home when the ban was put in place.
The letter specifically asks Obama to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin when he sees him in June.
"As a united delegation, we urge you to prioritize this issue and seek a prompt resolution when you meet with President Putin at the G8 Summit in June," the letter states.
Some of those Ohio families were in Washington, D.C., this week for the Step Forward for Orphans March. About 500 people representing 37 states participated. And at least 73 visits were conducted with members of Congress.
Conservative author and talk radio personality Laura Ingraham spoke to participants at the end of the Friday March. Ingraham is herself an adoptive parent and encountered some of the same difficulties with the broken international adoption system as those in the crowd.
The crowd cheered when Ingraham told them about the Ohio delegation's letter. Ingraham said she received news of the letter from Boehner's email list just as she was preparing to speak to the crowd.
"I got the email right as I was waiting for you, and I thought, awwww, that's a great sign!" she said.
The Brewer family from Hamilton, Ohio, which is in Boehner's district, was among those who met with Boehner this week. The Brewers were in the final stages of adopting a 6-year-old girl from Russia when the ban was put in place.
"I know about this issue first-hand because I had a staff member from Ohio who with her husband adopted two Russian children, and it's been a wonderful thing for everyone involved," Boehner said in a statement. "Families such as the Brewers are ready and eager to provide the love and care these children deserve. The governments of both countries should give priority to the needs of these children as other issues are addressed and discussed. I hope President Obama and President Putin will be able to work toward a solution so that these children can be united with the families who are ready to welcome and care for them."
The other signers of the letter include Senators Sherrod Brown (D) and Rob Portman (R), and Representatives Marcy Katur (D), Patrick Tiberi (R), Tim Ryan (D), Michael Turner (R), Marcia Fudge (D), Steve Chabot (R), Joyce Beatty (D), Bob Latta (R), Steve Stivers (R), James Renacci (R), and Bill Johnson (R).