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June 21, 1991: Romanian baby adoption challenge

9:41 AM, Jun 21, 2011   |    comments
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St. Louis (KSDK) -- June 21, 2011 marks the 20th year since a St. Louis family's adoption of a Romanian baby girl was nearly denied.

Linda and Tom Walter adopted Mary-Clare, a baby girl whose family knew it wouldn't be able to care for her. Or so they thought.

Despite approval from the Romanian government, the United States State Department withheld Mary-Clare's visa. Romania was experiencing a baby boom, and the Department was concerned about reports of baby-selling.

Gene McNary, Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, was a former St. Louis County executive. After spending thousands of dollars and courting politicians, he got Mary-Clare to the states.

An international commission presented new guidelines making global adoption easier in 1993.

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