Despite adoption ban, N.J. couple brings home Russian tot

Preston Summers
Preston Summers
CBS News

(CBS News) FREEHOLD, N.J. -- It's been about a month since Russian President Vladimir Putin banned Americans from adopting Russian children. It was widely seen as a retaliation for a new U.S. law targeting Russians who have violated human rights. At the time, 1,000 American families were in the middle of the adoption process.

CBS News first met Robert and Kim Summers a month ago. They were just weeks away from picking up their new son Preston from a Russian orphanage, when Putin announced the ban.

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"I cannot put into words how my wife and I feel right now," Robert said at the time. "And we ask Putin, please, consider alternate means, but don't let these children suffer. Please. That's all we ask."

Despite the ban, the Summers decided to travel to Russia. They weren't sure whether they would return to the U.S. with their child.

"We did not know. We just prayed and kept the faith and just kept believing that, you know, all of our efforts would pay off," said Kim.

It was mid-January when they visited Preston in his orphanage outside Moscow. They finalized his paperwork and went to pick up his passport at a Russian government office.

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"She looked at it and she said in Russian, 'Americans? I thought there was a ban on Americans. How could we give them this passport?'" Kim recalled.

"We held our breath and I gasped for air and I said, oh no. Please, don't let us go through all this and we're going to have problems," Robert said.

Robert and Kim Summers.
Robert and Kim Summers. CBS News

The Summers returned the next day and found out the ban did not apply to them because a judge had already signed off on their adoption before the law was passed.

Five days later, they left Russia and brought Preston home.

"Robert and I looked at each other and we said, it's over, it's over. And I can't even tell you the relief. And how elated we are," said Kim. "I completely understand when a mother says that she takes one look at her newborn child and is instantly in love with that child. I'm in love with him. I'm in love with him, and I do believe he's in love with us, too."

The State Department estimates just 50 American families, whose adoptions have been approved by judges, will be allowed to leave Russia with their new children. The Summers consider themselves blessed to be among them.

  • Elaine Quijano
    Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.