Man arrested in death of adopted son

Date: 2008-07-11
Source: examiner.com

Man arrested in death of adopted son

Jul 11, 2008
Freeman Klopott
The Examiner
 
Virginia - Miles and Carol Harrison were still under a six-month state-mandated supervision period required for all international adoptions when their Russian-born infant son, Chase, died in the backseat of a car in a Herndon parking lot.

Miles Harrison, of Purcellville, was arrested Wednesday on manslaughter charges after he allegedly forgot his 21-month-old son, whom he was supposed to drop off at day care, was sitting in the back of his car, Herndon police said.

The six-month supervised period is the last step in an adoption process that can sometimes take years to complete, said Sharon Richardson, a placement director for Coordinators 2 Inc., a Richmond, Va.-based adoption agency.

Chase was brought by the Harrisons from Russia to the United States three months ago, police said.

The international adoption process starts with a deep-digging background check that includes pages of questions for personal references, full financial disclosure and at least three meetings with adoption agency officials, Richardson said.

Often the child’s native country has additional requirements, she added. Russia requires two visits, first to meet the child and then later a minimum 10-day stay for court approval.

It’s a process that Stacy Harrison, of Leesburg — no relation to Miles and Carol — is very familiar with.

She and her husband, Pat, adopted their 2-year-old son, Aidan, from Russia at roughly the same time the Harrisons adopted Chase. She first heard of Chase during Aidan’s first doctor appointment, when the physician expressed surprise to learn that two families living near each other had recently adopted children from Russia.

It took Stacy and Pat Harrison nearly two years to meet and eventually bring Aidan to the United States, including a monthlong stay in Russia after the deciding court date was rescheduled.

“It was a very rigorous process,” she said. “It’s not like getting pregnant. You really have to know what you’re doing and think about it every step of the way.”

She added that Aidan and Chase never had a chance to meet, “though now I wish we had connected and gotten the boys together,” she said.

A neighbor of Carol and Miles Harrison who declined to identify herself described them as “phenomenal, amazing people,” adding, “They’re suffering a great deal.”

Miles Harrison faces up to 10 years in jail. Neither he nor Carol could be reached for comment.

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