Georgia family relives bringing son home before Russian adoption ban
ATLANTA (CBS46) -
It's been one year since Russia banned adoptions for U.S. families.
Many of the children ready for adoption have special needs or some kind of disability, and adoption is their chance at a life outside of an orphanage.
A select few families edged in right before the deadline and were able to bring their children home. One of the last families lives in Georgia.
Few things compare to a child's wonderment. Chance Petitt sits in awe of everything around him.
"It's just like new life every day, because everything is new to him," Anne Petitt said.
The Russian-born 2-year-old fits right in with his easy-going country family. Phillip and Anne Petitt adopted Chance from Russia a year ago.
"He came straight up to my wife and jumped in her lap the very first day, and from then on, he was our son," Phillip Petitt said.
"He had such a good little personality. He just wanted to be held. He played and he was just so affectionate," Anne Petitt said.
The Petitts traveled back to Russia in December 2012 for the required second visit and court date. It was then they feared the adoption might not happen.
"I think it was our second day being there we heard there may be a stop on all adoptions, and then yes, we were nervous on what could happen," Phillip Petitt said.
The ban on U.S. families adopting children from Russia followed. The official line from Russia was some children were being harmed in their adoptive homes. The U.S. side said it was politics.
Fortunately, the Petitt's adoption papers went through.
They had another scare a month later, when Anne Petitt went to Russia to bring Chance home. The ban, which was then a law, could have stopped the adoption.
"It was very tense. It was very scary. It was probably the scariest thing I've ever had to do in my entire life," Anne Petitt said.
Miraculously, everything worked out.
"The public prosecutor calls and says, 'You can have your baby, I'm not fighting you.'"
The Petitts were the last family to bring a child out of an orphanage in the St. Petersburg region, and it was highly publicized.
"I wouldn't have come home. I would not have come home without my baby," Anne Petitt said.
A year later, the Petitts celebrate the shared joy of their expanded family and the complete domestic-international adoption of Chance.
"I am grateful and pleased to sign the final order domesticating the foreign adoption," Judge Joseph Booth said.
"In America's eyes he's officially adopted now, paperwork-wise and all," Phillip Petitt said.
"There's not anything anyone can say to try to come back and get him. He's ours," Anne Petitt said.
Chance is making progress. In the past year he's gained weight and has overcome some medical conditions. The Petitts are still working with a doctor to correct his lazy eye. They hope other families still waiting for their kids will get to experience the joy they have with Chance.
Click here to read the statement on the ban from the State Department. Click here to read the statement from the Russian Embassy.
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