An international story is hitting close to home for a Northwest Arkansas family.
"She fits into our family perfectly."
Kendra and Jason Skaggs are waiting to bring their 5-year-old daughter home to Bella Vista. People say she looks just like them, and the Skaggs family already considers her part of the family. But with pictures hanging on the walls and an empty place in their hearts, they are waiting to see if she will ever come home.
"I just fell in love with her immediately. When I got to the orphanage and I saw her rolled out, I knew that was her and I knew in my heart that she was my daughter," said Kendra.
But, Polina Joy Skaggs might never know the love of a family.
"We've told her we're coming back in 30 days to get you and bring you home with us and shown her pictures of her bedroom. We may never be able to go back and see her again."
Polina has spent her entire life in orphanages and hospitals in Russia, and is living with spina bifida. After traveling to Russia twice and visiting with her on 10 different occasions, Kendra said Polina is not getting the care and medical attention she needs at the orphanage. Once she is in the United States, they know she will need surgeries, physical therapy and occupational therapy.
"She doesn't have the unconditional love of a family, she doesn't know the love of Jesus and I know she's there, but I can't take care of her and I can't comfort her."
But Friday morning, Russian president Vadimir Putin signed a bill, banning the adoption of Russian children by American families.
"On our court date they told us that there was talk now that if the law was approved they were going to stop all adoptions, including the ones that had already been through the court system."
Russia's upper house of parliament unanimously approved the ban. With President Vladimir Putin's signature, the ban will become reality.
Many believe the proposed ban is in retaliation of a bill President Barack Obama signed early in December, which freezes the American assets of Russians accused of abusing human rights.
The law has been met with harsh criticism in Russia by government officials and civilians.
"I ask myself, what am I going to do. It will be devastating for our entire family including my son, he considers her his sister," said Kendra.
Kendra and Jason have an 8-year-old son named Carter, who has Asperger's Syndrome. Kendra is a special education teacher at Mary Mae Jones Elementary School in Bentonville, and she believes working with disabled children is a blessing.
"It was at that time that God really put it on my heart to adopt a special needs child."
The Skaggs recently purchased a van so they could accommodate Polina's wheelchair. Kendra said they have changed their entire lives around, so they can help her, accommodate her, and help her reach her full potential.
So as a bedroom sits empty, waiting for Polina, the Skaggs family is ready to take on the lifelong committment of caring for their little princess.
"For us, it's not about having an easy life, it's about having a fulfilling life. God called us to care for the orphans... and we're following that call in adopting Polina."
And as they wait for answers, the Skaggs are keeping faith that some day soon, they will be a family of four.
"If we can bring her home then I'm going to sob in relief and just rejoice that we're able to have her."
The Skaggs family is planning to bring Polina home January 29. But with the ban now a reality, they are hoping and praying adoptions that have already been approved will be allowed to proceed. Kendra said even if they move to Russia, Americans that live in the country still cannot adopt Russian children.
The adoption process started 13 months ago and costs around $45,000. At first, Kendra and Jason did not know how they were going to make it work, but said God provided for them. Through fundraisers, the community and even thanks to people they have never met, they were able to raise enough money to make their dream come true.
Kendra said the day she brings Polina home will be the best day of her life, next to the day her son was born.
To learn more about the Skaggs' journey, click here.