Russia Poised to Ratify New Adoption Agreement with America
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By Moskovskiye Novosti
July 6,2012 / RIANovosti
A number of scandals involving Russian adoptive children in the U.S. impelled the authorities in certain regions (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Belgorod and others) to ban what is known as “Transatlantic adoption” pending the ratification by the State Duma of a new Russian-American agreement in that area scheduled for July 6.
The latest case in point is the Kemerovo Region, where Governor Aman Tuleyev imposed a moratorium on American adoptions in an effort to protect the rights and interests of orphans. He imposed the moratorium after the accidental death of two Kemerovo children and the court case of one, Xenia Antonova, 16, who testified in 2011 that she had been raped by her adoptive American father.
Aman Tuleyev’s deputy, Yelena Rudneva, went on record as saying that the practice of adoption would resume only after the bilateral agreement becomes law. Kemerovo officials are so far afraid to hand orphans over to Americans unless they are their close relatives. These apprehensions are shared by Dmitry Kislitsyn, the local Commissioner for Children’s Rights.
Signed last summer, the new agreement is due to be considered by the legislature on July 6, 2012. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Human Rights Commissioner, Konstantin Dolgov, said yesterday that U.S. authorities should tighten legislation and practise stricter oversight with regard to American adoptive parents: “Both the State Department and the Department of Justice should play a more active role in enforcing compliance with the rights and interests of adopted Russian children.”
The agreement bans independent adoptions carried out through entities other than specialized agencies with accreditation in Russia. The document also makes it incumbent upon the adoptive parents to provide information on the children to guardianship and custodianship authorities at their request and to allow inspectors, including Russian inspectors, to enter their homes. Before coming of age, children from Russia will have dual nationality. In addition, Russia will have the right to sue unscrupulous adoptive parents independently.
There are differing opinions as to whether the agreement will work. Chairwoman of the Duma Committee for Family, Women and Child Affairs, Yelena Mizulina, believes that the number of adoptions will drop off. Conversely, Alyona Sinkevich of Hand-in-Hand adoption agency in Arizona said that both adoptive parents and children are looking forward to the ratification. “Without an agreement, the officials in many areas, in addition to the Kemerovo Region, are afraid to work with Americans,” she said.