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The siblings they left behind

By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY
Ruslan Pettyjohn lives in a home with a pool, plays on a soccer team, goes bike-riding with friends and has two doting parents. He seems to have everything a 13-year-old American boy would want. Except he doesn't have his big sister, Olga.

When Ruslan was adopted from Russia nearly four years ago, she was left behind in their village, sweeping floors and living in a condemned building with broken windows and no running water. She looked after him for years in the orphanage after their birth mother died. To give him a better life, she signed off on his adoption.

As international adoptions have soared, American parents are dealing with an unintended consequence: siblings torn apart. More parents are searching for their children's biological relatives, hoping to help them reconnect with their roots. Some want to adopt the kin; others just want to visit....

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