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April 15, 2010 / RT.com
Moscow has suspended the adoption of Russian children by American families until the two countries sign an agreement on how the well-being of the children is safeguarded.
The decision, announced by spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Andrey Nesterenko, was taken after an adopted Russian boy was rejected and sent back all alone to Russia by his adopted American mother.
An American delegation headed by Michael Kirby, a senior diplomat who deals with adoption issues in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, will soon arrive to Moscow to discuss the issue. One principal question Russia wants from table is a bilateral agreement on international adoption, the Russian diplomat said.
“Russia believes that only such an agreement endorsing working mechanisms for monitoring of living conditions of children adopted from Russia by our and American monitors will guarantee that no tragedies like those, which already happened in America, will happen again,” Nesterenko said.
The agreement requested by the Russian side is now being prepared, confirmed US Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle, commenting on the news for Itar-Tass news agency. He added such a document is long overdue.
Earlier on Monday Dmitry Medvedev sponsored such an agreement when commenting on the scandalous case. The Russian president branded the American family’s rejection of the boy they adopted as both amoral and illegal and also mentioned several other cases when Russian children adopted by American citizens were mistreated and even died in their new parents’ care.
“I believe that considering the negative experience we have in the area, we and our American partners should think of adopting an intergovernmental agreement, which would firmly fix responsibility of the adoptive parents accepting children from Russia and provide possibility of monitoring of such families. The trend is worrisome, and it’s sad,” Medvedev said.
Seven-year-old Artyom Savelyev was sent by his adoptive mother Torry Ann Hansen to Moscow alone on a plane. She claimed that the boy had psychological problems and that after living with the boy for several months she had to send him back to the orphanage. It is still not clear why the family didn’t take the legal path to cancel the adoption, since they are now refusing to talk to the American investigation and cannot be arrested without charges.
The incident caused uproar in Russia, where mistreatment of Russian children in foreign families is taken to heart by many. Several top officials including the chair of the upper chamber of Parliament called for a moratorium on the adoption of Russian children by Americans after the incident.
For Americans, Russia is the third most popular country to adopt a child from. Over the last five years US families have adopted more than 14,000 Russian kids.
The Russian prosecution says that three Russian children have been killed while in the care of their adopted families in America since 2006, which is when Moscow put into force stricter adoption rules for foreigners.