NEW YORK (AP) — The boy, named Vladimir, is 5½ years old, struggles at learning to count and draw, and lives in an orphanage in Kyrgyzstan. His would-be parents in New York have had just five brief visits since they signed on to adopt him in 2008, yet they refuse to abandon the quest.
“We have already bonded with this child,” said Frances Pardus-Abbadessa. “Probably a day doesn’t go by that we don’t think of him. In our mind, he’s our child. If we don’t wait for him, what’s his fate going to be?”
Frances and her husband, Drew, were among a group initially known as the “Kyrgyz 65” — Americans who were in the process of adopting 65 orphans from the Central Asian republic when it suspended international adoptions in 2008 due to allegations of fraud.
The group’s ranks have dwindled over the ensuing years while Kyrgyzstan’s adoption system has been disrupted by political turmoil and persisting corruption problems.
Some of the Americans gave up, some of the children were placed in domestic adoptions, and last summer nine of the remaining children finally were allowed to go to America. The Pardus-Abbadessas are now among 16 U.S. families still waiting, five years later.
Drew describes their predicament as “an emotional roller-coaster.” But he and others in the waiting group are cautiously encouraged by the efforts of Kyrgyzstan’s new social development minister, Edil Baisalov.
A 35-year-old English-speaker and avid Twitter user, Baisalov has brought an uncharacteristic level of openness to government business in his post-Soviet nation during six months on the job. He is working on new anti-corruption regulations and hopes for swift government approval that might help clear the way for the remaining U.S. adoption cases to be completed.