(Memphis) If you want to adopt a baby it's about to get harder.
Russia’s president says he will likely close the country's borders for adoptions, and adoption experts say this could mean the deaths of thousands of Russian children.
Ana Karpovich helps American families in the Russian adoption process.
She lives in Memphis now but grew up in Russia.
She calls the potential law preventing Russian orphans from being adopted by Americans a bad move.
“More children will die. More children will miss a wonderful life,” said Karpovich.
Karpovich compares Russian orphanages to prisons, and calls adoption a great alternative.
“Many of them will end up in very poor and horrible condition orphanages,” said Karpovich.
Americans have adopted over 60,000 children from Russia over the past 20 years, and more children are adopted from Russia by Americans than any other country.
Some adoption counselors here in Memphis say the move is more about politics than the children.
They say the ban could be Russia's response to the US condemning its human rights record.
Almost 50 American families who have been approved for adoption are now being put on hold, and the children they were hoping to start the New Year with aren't coming.
Adoption experts say Russia needs Americans to adopt or the welfare of the children will be in jeopardy.
“There are not enough families in Russia who are available and able to adopt these kids who are currently living in institutions,” said Adoptions Director Kris Faasse with Bethany Christian Services.
According to UNICEF there are over 740,000 children living in orphanages in Russia.
In a press conference today Russian President Validmir Putin says he doesn't see any reason he shouldn't sign a bill that will ban American adoptions of Russian children.