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Ranch becomes focus for Russian adoption outrage

Montana ranch becomes focal point for Russian officials' outrage over adoptions By The Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) The Russian government officials arrived at the gates of a ranch for adopted children in remote northwestern Montana and demanded to be let inside.

Among them was a Russian children rights ombudsman who described Joyce Sterkel's Ranch For Kids Project as a "trash can for unwanted children" on his website.

Whether it was a made-for-TV confrontation for viewers in Russia or a serious bid to gain entry, Sterkel kept the two dozen children inside and away from the gate. The Russians didn't try to enter the property. But the Russian ombudsman vowed to return and shut the ranch down.

As a bilateral adoption agreement between the U.S. and Russia goes through the ratification process, Sterkel is concerned that the June 28 visit to her ranch shows the Russians' true intent.

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