News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013
BARNWELL COUNTY, S.C. -- A local mother is speaking out after Russian President Vladimir Putin's made the decision to ban Americans from adopting Russian children. The new law hits close to Susan Echman’s heart.
Eichman's life changed forever 10 years ago when she brought her son home from Russia.
"Oh, I will never ever forget that day," she said. “Oh, my heart just melted.”
"I'll never forget the warmth of his little hands and the way he looked at me. It was as if he was like, 'It's OK, mama, I’m here now,'" Eichman said.
Eichman and her husband decided to adopt a child from Russia after years of trying to have their own.
"Nicholas was one of 98 kids under the age of 4 in his orphanage," she said.
They brought their 1-year-old son home to Barnwell.
"I enjoy life more because he brings out so much good in me," Eichman said.
It's hard for her to understand why Putin put a stop on Americans adopting Russian children.
"I feel he is holding those children hostage over there," the mother said.
Forty-six American families, who already met with children, are in limbo after the ban passed.
U.S. officials have viewed the ban as retaliation for recently-imposed sanctions on Russian officials involved in the death of a imprisoned lawyer.
"I felt like I had been stabbed because my heart breaks for those parents waiting to bring those children home -- it's not right," Eichman said.
She now worries that children, like Nicholas, will have less of a chance of finding a real home.
The White House has spoken out against the ban.