American Parents Fighting To Adopt Son From Russia

  • Parents Mil and Dianna Wallen and film director Sarah McCarthy join together for campaign to free 300+ children stuck in limbo after Russian authorities signed law earlier this year banning American families from adopting Russian children;
  • Mil and Dianna Wallen were in the process of adopting their son, Max, when the law was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin;
  • McCarthy’s new film, The Dark Matter of Love, profiles three of the last children to be adopted into America before the Russian ban was put in place. Her film will premiere at the Moscow Film Festival later this month to raise awareness about American families trying to adopt Russian children.

Two American parents, Mil and Dianna Wallen, have launched a petition urging the Russian government to allow them to complete the adoption of their teenage son Max. The Wallens, who live in Woodstock, Virginia, were in the process of adopting Max when Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that bans the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families.

Max is now one of more than 300 kids stuck in limbo after having met their adoptive families from the U.S., only to be denied the chance to complete the adoption process by this new Russian law.

More than 63,000 have signed the Wallen’s petition on

“We miss Max terribly every day. Our son is now stuck on the other side of the world because of this new law,” said Mil and Dianna Wallen. “But it’s not just our son. More than 300 children, many with severe health problems, are currently stuck in orphanages in Russia. These children have adoptive families whom they have met and started to fall in love with, waiting for them in America.”

The Wallens have joined with documentary filmmaker Sarah McCarthy, whose latest film, “The Dark Matter of Love,” tells the story of the last three Russian children able to be adopted in the United States. McCarthy is using her film to raise awareness of the plight of the approximately 300 Russian children who are now being prevented from finalizing their adoption by U.S. families.

Her film will screen at the Moscow Film Festival later this month. Also this month, U.S. President Obama is scheduled to meet with President Putin, and McCarthy is hoping Obama will urge Putin to allow these 300 children to complete the adoption process and be allowed to travel to the U.S.

Until President Putin signed the law banning American families from adopting Russian children, Russia was the third most popular country for American families looking to adopt abroad. The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, has condemned Russia’s ban on American adoptive families as “politically motivated” and said that they “hope that the Russian government would allow those children who have already met and bonded with their future parents to finish the necessary legal procedures so that they can join their families.”

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Lousiana) will publish a letter to President Obama with over 170 signatures from Members of Congress, urging President Obama to raise the issue with President Putin later this month during his visit to Russia, and request the lives of these children be prioritized over political issues.

For Mil and Dianna Wallen, they plan to continue speaking out about their fight to bring their son Max home, as well as the 300 other Russian children who have met their American adopted families, only to be blocked by Russian law from completing the adoption process.

“We always end our conversations with Max with ‘I love you to the moon and back,’ and Maxim tells us he loves us ‘to the moon and back,’” said Mil and Dianna. “We will fight to be Max’s parents, just as many other U.S. parents want to give a home to the over 300 Russian kids punished and penalized because of this new law.

Live signature totals from Mil and Dianna Wallen’s petition can be viewed here:

For more information on The Dark Matter of Love, visit: and

To view the U.S. State Department’s condemnation of Russia’s adoption law:

For more information on, please visit: is the world’s largest petition platform, empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see. There are more than 20 million users in 196 countries who use our tools to transform their communities – locally, nationally and globally.

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  1. Rozzanne says:

    If you know what you want you must fight! I’ve just put down Nia Vardalos’ ‘Instant Mom’ and I feel so inspired to follow suit – too many years I’ve put my adoption inclinations on hold to pursue my corporate well being, alas! I’d strongly recommend listening or viewing an interview with her #inspirational. I know Nia has an interview with Elaine Charles, the host for the Book Report radio show (a favorite of mine) this upcoming Sunday, and I for one am not going to miss it 🙂

  2. Peter Dodds says:

    International adoption is a system filled with a documented and on-going pattern of baby stealing, child trafficking, adoption agency corruption and legal violations. The corruption is so wide-spread and pervasive that international adoption has been shut down in Rumania, Samoa, Guatemala, Cambodia, Russia, Nepal…

    I was adopted from a German orphanage by an American couple and applaud the Russian adoption ban. In this TV interview I describe international adoption and harm caused by uprooting children from their native countries and cultures.

    Peter Dodds

  3. stan says:

    It’s sad the Wallens may not be able to complete their adoption, but the article fails to mention that:
    – the US violated the brand new adoption treaty with Russia first, by failing to allow Russian officials consular access to an abused Russian-born boy in FL, Maxim Babayev in Dec 12, and again in Jan 13 by failing to inform Russia of Max Shatto’s death in a timely manner (as required by said treaty, regardless of the cause of death). If the US can’t be bothered to hold up its end of a treaty mere weeks after it came into force on Nov 1 12, why should Russia? Actions have consequences.
    – the US has promised “due care” to Russian born kiddos on multiple occasions and hasn’t delievered — heck, a US woman dumped her recently adopted, 1 yr old Russian twins on an orphanage doorstep, with a note pinned to their coat saying she didn’t want them anymore in 2012. Torry Hansen debacle revisited!!
    – US families flagrantly violate Russian law by posting photos of their ex-referrals, to whom they have NO LEGAL CLAIM on public blogs (check out cutie Natasha, on Katrina Morriss’ blog


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