SAN JOSE (KCBS) — Bay Area adoption agencies are scrambling to help families caught in the middle of a new Russian policy banning adoptions to the United States.

At least one Bay Area family was in the process of adopting Russian children when a sudden ban on U.S. adoptions was signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Janet Shirley with Mountain View-based Bay Area Adoption Services said the ban is going to have a devastating impact. The agency is working with at least half a dozen families hoping to adopt Russian orphans.

“They are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. They have absolutely no voice and those are the ones that are going to be the victims,” said Shirley.

They hope the adoptions already in the pipeline will ultimately be allowed to continue.

Georgia Leonard, executive director of The Family Network in Santa Cruz, said Russia’s hard line on adoptions may cause more American families to consider adopting children from Asia and Africa.

“If they’re adopting in order to help a child have a future, there are thousands of children, tens of thousands of children, who simply need parents in order to have a future,” Leonard said.

Since 1992, families in the United States have welcomed more than 60,000 Russian children into their homes.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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