Couple that adopted Russian girl concerned over new law

Columbia, SC (WACH)--Kathy Mattox and her husband Larry adopted their daughter Whitley from Russia when she was 10 months old.

The couple decided to look overseas after hearing about Russia's great adoption program.

"Our Russian adoption experience was unbelievable," Kathy said. "It was a great program. Start to finish, it was less than nine months from when we started the process to when we came home with her."

Whitley is now 10 and experiencing a normal, loving childhood.

But a new law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin banning Russian children from being adopted by families may prevent other orphans from ending up in good homes. The move comes after a recent bill signed by President Obama imposing U.S. travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia.

According to the U.S. State Department, 46 families are currently in the process of adopting Russian orphans. About 60,000 kids have been placed in American homes; including almost 1,000 in 2011.

Larry Mattox said he is disappointed the ban is politically motivated.

"There are a lot of children over there that need good families," Larry said. "And it does not appear that there are many Russian families trying to adopt as there are children that are available. So there is great disappointment there that's some of those children may remain without a family."

The Columbia couple had to go through stacks of paper work, background checks, home studies, and many trips. But they say it was all worth it.

"When you walk into the room and see her for the first time, you can't put it into words," Kathy said. "It is just unbelievable."

Russian supporters also point to cases of child abuse with American families. But Larry said he knows other families that adopted Russian children. He said the good stories outweigh the bad.

"When I hear these stories that don't work out well, I wonder where did theirs go wrong? Ours worked out so well. We we're perfectly comfortable with them. They were comfortable with us. I would not stop the process, just fine tune the process to improve it."

Kathy and Larry said they were hoping to visit Russia again to show Whitley the country where she was born. But now, they do not want to risk taking an adopted child back until the ban is lifted.