Adoptions from Russia losing popularity in the US – official

Relates to:
Date: 2009-07-27

The Americans are adopting fewer Russian orphans than they used to, a US official has said.

According to Michelle Bond, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Overseas Citizens Services, the number of adoptions from Russia to the US has noticeably decreased, Interfax writes.

“At present Americans adopt around 1,800 Russian children per year,” Bond said at a briefing on Monday.

“In the 1990s the number used to be around 4,000 or 5,000 per year,” she said.

According to Bond, the decrease began after 2000, when the Russian government introduced obligatory certification for American agencies.

The issue of US adoptions from Russia is a sensitive one. Between 1996 and 2008, 15 Russian children adopted by Americans died, in 14 cases through the fault of their new parents.

“Recently, sixteen Russian children died in the United States,” Bond admitted.

“We see each of these cases as a tragedy, each is thoroughly investigated, and the guilty are punished,” Bond said.

In December 2008 an American court ruled Miles Harrison was not guilty of involuntary manslaughter of his 21-month-old adopted Russian son. Harrison left the child unattended, in his car in hot weather, causing the child’s death from overheating. The acquittal was officially condemned by Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

Bond assured the audience that the Russian consulate had full access to information about the adopted children's lives in the US, and said the US and Russia were discussing possible ways to ease cooperation.

She said the Americans adopted children from many countries, Russia being one of the popular choices because so many Russian children live in orphanages.

The number of orphans in Russia was estimated at 800,000 in October 2008. Of these children, 80% were so-called social orphans, rejected by their biological parents or taken from them by legal rulings.


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