Baby born without hands and abandoned at birth now happy with family

She’s not even two years old and she can already feed herself. This may not seem like such a monumental feat at first, but when you consider that Vasilina Knutsen is missing her left hand and has only two fingers on her right hand, it’s actually quite an achievement.

The little girl was born in March 2015 in Swerdlowsk, Russia and was quickly abandoned by her parents who couldn’t accept her disabilities. Vasilina was put up for adoption and, thanks to a Russian organization that helps to find homes for abandoned children, she was taken in by a loving family.

Her new parents, Chris and Elmira Knutsen, live in Moscow. Elmira is Russian and Chris is from the United States, which made the adoption process very complicated.

The reason for this was a new law passed in December 2012 that banned the adoption of Russian orphans by U.S. citizens. This law was later extended to ban adoptions to citizens of any country that allows same-sex marriage.

The Knutsens had to go through a lot of red tape and the process took a long time, but eventually the adoption was permitted and they were able to bring little Vasilina home with them.

Considering that there are very few people in Russia who want to adopt children and even fewer who are willing to adopt a child with disabilities, Vasilina has been very fortunate. At the moment there are approximately 100,000 children in orphanages around Russia waiting for a family to take them in. Orphaned children with disabilities are sent to special orphanages and, with little hope of being adopted, usually end up spending their entire lives in institutions.

The Knutsens are now a family of six and Elmira is growing up surrounded by her loving parents and siblings. The couple also has three sons, one of whom is also adopted and has a mental disorder. They are not a typical family and people notice that. "They actually stare, make the sign of the cross and run away…It happens quite often," revealed Elmira.

But Chris and Elmira have learned to live with these types of reactions. The only thing that matters to them is their four beautiful children. And luckily for Elmira, she is now one of them.


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