Playing Adoption 'Cold War'? Russia, US clash over kids

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Russian – US talks on adoption at the final stage

June 17, 2010 / 

Next week Moscow and Washington will hold another round of talks to work out new measures to regulate the process of adoption of Russian children by Americans.

All adoption processes  were frozen earlier this year after a seven-year old boy was put on a plane and sent to Moscow alone, by his adoptive US mother.

Since 1996, 15 Russian children have died at the hands of their adoptive US parents. Heavy beating, scalding, starvation – one can find it all in those files.

Last August a Russian boy died allegedly after being beaten up by his foster parents in the US.

They have officially been charged with causing his death and may face death penalty.


Certainly those cases are heavily overshadowing thousands of happy endings, in which Russian orphans ended up in good hands in the US.

The agreement is supposed to outline the responsibilities of the agencies fostering adoption.

Russian officials are focused on details of how exactly the monitoring should be done because, according to Russian Children’s Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, currently Russia has lost track of hundreds of adopted children in the US due to agencies’ failure to report back on those children and their living conditions.

“There is no legal mechanism to regulate or monitor child adoption by foreigners,” said Pavel Astakhov, Ombudsman for children’s rights. “So it is important to have an agreement – intergovernmental treaty, some bilateral agreement or some joint convention that we could be a part of.”

Something that both sides have agreed upon is that there should be no more independent adoptions, only those through competent agencies.

Another issue that is still being discussed, and is very much initiated by Russians, is Russians’ ability to adopt American children. At the moment the number of those is close to zero.


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