Valley Family Won't Give Up on Adopting Russian Teen, Despite Ban

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

Mil and Dianna Wallen have been trying to adopt a 14-year-old Russian orphan for more than a year.

Dianna said it has been a tough process, but a new law banning Americans from adopting Russian children may make it even harder.

The Wallens met Maxim Kargapotscev on a mission trip to Russia in 2008.

Kargapotscev is how Maxim's last name is spelled on Facebook. The Wallens said his last name when translated is Kargapoltsev.

Dianna said he was abandoned at birth.

"He had never known love of a true mother or father. A lot of the children at the orphanage do have some relatives that might come visit them and see them, but Maxim had no one and for this we felt really sad," Dianna said.

She said Kargapotscev dreams of a family.

"We love him with all our hearts and we feel like he's one of our own children," Dianna said.

She said they visited Kargapotscev in Russia every year since they met.

According to Dianna, they also talk to him via email, Skype or Facebook every day.

"I really feel that we can give him all the love he needs. He already calls us mom and dad," Dianna said.

Kargapotscev has added Wallen to his last name on Facebook.

He's not officially a Wallen, but the family hopes they can bring him to Virginia soon.

Dianna said they started the adoption process in 2011.

However, she said the process has been longer than expected.

The Russian government has sent back their paperwork several times, according to Dianna.

"We thought there was still a chance to get him, that we could find somebody here that could help us. Somebody in America that would help us, but when the ban came into effect, we felt there was no future," Dianna said.

In December, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children.

Russian leaders claim they want to encourage more Russian families to adopt orphans.

UNICEF estimates 740,000 Russian children don't live with their parents. However, only 18,000 Russian families are waiting to adopt children.

Mil said Kargapotscev lives at an orphanage with kids with mental, growth and learning disabilities.

He said this makes his chances of being adopted even slimmer.

"It's very tough being adopted they are usually passed over by Russian citizens and left for the foreigners to adopt," he said.

Mil said Kargapotscev is short for his age. However, his love for them and their love for him is greater than anything.

"He wants desperately to have a family life and we want desperately to give it to him," Mil said.

Dianna said she fears if the adoption doesn't go through in two years that will mean that Kargapotscev will be on his own.

According to Dianna, when kids graduate from the orphanage at age 16, they learn a technical trade for two years.

She said when they are 18, they are left on their own.

"I'm afraid for when he turns 16 and he also confided in us that he was afraid because he didn't know if he could survive," Dianna said,

Russian President Putin said the adoption deal with the U.S. will continue until 2014.

This means only adoptions already cleared by the Russian courts will go through.

The Wallens plan to go to Russia in March for Kargapotscev's birthday.

They said they plan to meet with a member of the government to ask them about their case.

President Putin is now aware of this case, after the Russian media reported Kargapotscev wrote a letter to Putin asking for permission to be adopted by an American family.

However, Kargapotscev later went on state television saying he never did that and he wants to stay in his native country.

The family said they hope the attention will help them bring Kargapotscev to Virginia.

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