HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Russia's adoption ban brought Dieter Giblin and his wife, Lisa, to tears. They were so close to finally meeting the child they'd seen only in photographs.
"You let yourself think about it. You see the picture and you're like, 'Oh, wow!'" Dieter Giblin said.
The baby's name is Ekaterina. The 13-month-old lives in an orphanage just outside of Moscow. In two weeks, Giblin's family was to visit her, but Russia's ban on American adoptions caused them to cancel the trip.
"It was disbelief," Giblin said. "How could they think about doing that when we've come so far?"
Adoption officials said Russia's ruling left hundreds of U.S. families and Russian orphans in limbo.
"To be told that the system has stopped processing adoptions, that you're not going to ever see that child can be devastating," said Kristine Altwies, head of Hawaii International Child.
The U.S. State Department said there are no details on how the law will be implemented, and whether Russia will allow pending adoptions.
Altwies said the uncertainty is paralyzing.
"There are probably many families who are stuck, having already traveled twice to see the child, and will not be able to bring that child home," she said.
"My heart goes out to them," Giblin said. "I know how we feel. We're heartbroken. But they've got to be even more heartbroken than we are."
Ekaterina is one of 700,000 Russian children UNICEF calls orphans.
"I really don't know if the ban is in effect where we go from there, whether it's another country, or whether we just give up. That's kind of where it's at," Giblin said.
The Giblin's started preparing their Kailua home for Ekaterina, but like the adoption process with Russia, that project is now on hold indefinitely.