KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Dasha Denson was 21 months old when her family adopted her from Russia in December of 2012. Her Kansas City, Kan., parents Randy and Denise Denson said it was a 20-month process to adopt her from an orphanage 500 miles northeast of Moscow.
"If someone would've told me that last year after I met her and had fallen in love with her and told me I couldn't go get her, I would be devastated," said Denise Denson.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation banning the adoption of Russian children to Americans. The measure takes affect New Year's Day. Political observers say the law is payback for an American measure recently signed by President Barack Obama that calls for sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators.
"Kids shouldn't be a bargaining tool or a way to make point," said Denson.
The wife of a Kansas City, Kan., firefighter says no Russian family wanted Dasha because the girl was born with a cancerous tumor on her right kidney.
"She was presented to 46 Russian families and no one even came to see here because of her health history," Denson said.
Russian doctors removed Dasha's bad kidney and now she's cancer free.
There are nearly 700,000 kids living in Russian orphanages and Denise says it's many of those children who will suffer if they can't be adopted to Americans.
"I know the U.S. and Russia have a lot of political issues, but I don't think kids should be in the picture," said Denson.
She says if she and her husband hadn't adopted Dasha, she would've likely stayed in the orphanage until age 16 when she says Russia forces orphans to live on their own with a small stipend.
"Sixty to seventy percent of all Russian orphans put out on the street die within the first two years of being out of the orphanage because they have no social skills, they have no job skills, they have no education."
Denson and her husband were planning on adopting another child from Russia.
"We had always thought, 'Hey, we'll go back in a couple of years and adopt a little boy,' and now with this in process, if they don't lift the ban it's not going to be able to happen."