A Minnesota woman has gone on television in Russia with an emotional appeal for an exception to be made to that nation’s year-old ban on adoptions by Americans. She and her husband adopted a boy from Russia in 2008 and refuse to give up long-standing efforts to also adopt their son’s biological brother from an orphanage in the city of Kursk. Renee Thomas was featured on TV Dozhd (TV Rain), Russia’s top independent station, in an 11-minute segment that aired Thursday, a day before the opening of the Olympics in Sochi. At the close of the segment, she breaks into tears as she explains her family’s determination.
Washburn Center for Children started 130 years ago as an orphanage. Now it’s a facility that serves more than 10,000 people each year. “There are several hundred thousand children in Minnesota with mental health issues,” Executive Director Steve Lepinski said. “I think it’s a critical issue.