Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a bill into law banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children. The ban is in response to a U.S. law that imposes sanctions on Russians who violate human rights.
The new law has already put an end to the adoptions of more than 50 youngsters who have met and bonded with U.S. families.
The U.S. is the biggest destination for adopted Russian children, with more than 60,000 adoptions in the past two decades.
The ban has left hundreds of families across the U.S. in limbo, wondering whether or not their adoptions will now go through. It's devastating to a lot of families who were in the process of adopting children from Russia.
We spoke with one family now caught in this international tug of war. The mother adopted a son from Russia and was in the process of adopting a little girl. Now that adoption may not happen.
Cheryl Reilly first met her son Aiden two years ago when she and her husband adopted him from a Russian orphanage.
"We went over and met him and it was almost his 2nd birthday," says Reilly.
She says she knew right away Aiden was the missing piece to her family.
"He just picked up English very quickly - he's just a very bright young man."
He's now a very active all-American 5-year-old boy who loves playing sports and video games.
"But he knows he's from Russia, and we talk about it, and we talk about the orphanage and I have pictures of his caretakers."
Cheryl and her husband were planning on adopting a little girl from Russia when her husband suddenly passed away last year.
Cheryl started the adoption process on her own and was getting very close to bringing home a little sister for Aiden.
"And I did get a referral from Russia for a little girl, a beautiful little girl, and obviously that's put on hold -- or canceled at this point."
Cheryl feels the decision to halt U.S. adoptions of Russian children is a political one that has dashed the hopes of many people, wanting to provide a loving home for kids that need one.
"There are so many children over there that need families, and there's so many families here that need children."
Cheryl says she is waiting to hear from the adoption agency to find out what happens next.
The hope is that Russia will reverse the decision or at least allow the adoptions that are already being processed.