U.S.-Russian tensions rise over infant’s death

Date: 2008-07-16
Source: examiner.com

U.S.-Russian tensions rise over infant’s death

Jul 16, 2008
Freeman Klopott
The Examiner

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - The death of a Russian-born baby in the hands of his Purcellville adoptive father last week is sparking international strife between the child’s former country and the United States over adoption regulations.

Miles Harrison’s  21-month-old son, Chase, died when he was left for several hours in the back seat of a sport utility vehicle last week. The father remained hospitalized for shock, and will be charged with manslaughter upon his release, police said Tuesday.

But Chase’s death has spread concern among Russian officials that Americans aren’t regulating and keeping tabs on the parents who adopt children from Russia.

Chase was born Dmitry Yakolev and up until three months ago he was living in a children’s home in Russia’s northwest Pskov region.

According to Russian Foreign Ministry officials, Miles and Carol Harrison adopted him through the European Adoption Consultants Inc.

Russian officials claim the adoption agency didn’t alert the government within the legally required time of Chase’s death.

As a result, Russian officials said, European Adoption Consultants

Inc.  and two other unnamed companies have been banned from Russia.

A spokesman for EAC declined to comment Tuesday, saying that the company is still trying to figure out what action the Russians have taken. 

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry is calling on American diplomats to take action.

“We have repeatedly called on the American side to sign ...  an international legal document that would allow us more effectively to control the fate of Russian children taken out of the country by foster parents,” Russian officials said in a release. “We will ensure this issue is included in the agenda of Russian-American dialogue.”

Calls to the U.S. State Department were not returned.

The United States and Russia already have a dicey past over adoption. In 2006 a Manassas woman was convicted of beating her Russian-born adopted daughter to death.

fklopott@dcexaminer.com

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