‘End to adoption question’: Russia shocked at another child’s death in US

Date: 2013-02-19
Source: rt.com

Russian politicians and media are outraged by the death of a three-year-old adopted Russian boy and US silence on the matter. The boy was reportedly brutally beaten in Texas by his adoptive mother, who allegedly also gave him psychotropic medication.

Maksim Kuzmin was adopted at the beginning of November 2012. Just two-and-a-half months later he was found dead, on January 21, 2013.

Russia has reacted extremely critically to the fact that the US waited almost a month before notifying Russian authorities about what happened. Even then, it was Texas’ law enforcement authorities that spoke out, while the other US channels remained mute on the subject.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a probe into the death of Maksim at the hands of his adoptive American family. Investigators stated they will be adding adoptive mother Laura Shatto’s name to the international watch list and applying for her arrest.

The US State Department confirmed that it will assist Russia with the investigation and help to coordinate talks with Texas.

The US Embassy in Russia has expressed condolences via its Twitter account.

“We deeply regret the death of the child in Texas. A death of a child is always a tragedy,” the statement said.

US Child Services is also investigating claims that the child was severely abused, but thus far cannot verify anything, stated Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) spokesman Patrick Crimmins.

There had been several reports of physical abuse and neglect, but the authorities are still waiting for final autopsy results and thus far no arrests have been made.

An investigation usually takes around 30 days, but when the law enforcement is also involved it may take longer, said the spokesperson.

Maksim died before medics called by Shatto arrived at the scene, Russian Children’s Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov stated, quoting Texan authorities.

Preliminary evidence showed that the boy suffered multiple injuries to his head, limbs, abdomen and internal organs prior to death.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's special representative for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, stated that such wounds "could only be caused by strong blows."

Maksim was reportedly beaten by his adoptive mother, who had also fed him strong psychotropic medication – Risperdal, which is used for short-term treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders and approved for prescription in the US starting from the age of 10.

Yet the Pechorski foster home, from where Maksim came, stated that he did not suffer from any mental illnesses and had no abnormalities when it came to mental and intellectual development.

The Russian investigation also revealed that Maksim was adopted along with his brother Kirill from the same foster home as Dima Yakovlev, an 18-month old Russian boy who died after his adoptive American father left him locked inside a vehicle for an extended period of time on a hot summer’s day.

The new Russian ‘Dima Yakovlev Law’, which bans all US adoptions in Russia, is named after him.

Maksim’s adoption procedure is being looked into separately, including checking whether his relatives were contacted to approve the adoption.

Maksim was born in the town of Pskov, near Russia’s western border with Estonia.

Upon arrival to US he was renamed as Max Alan Shatto by his parents Alan and Laura Shatto, with whom he lived in Gardendale, about 350 miles west of Dallas.

‘Brother should be brought home to Pskov’

Maksim’s death comes amid heightened Russia-US tensions, which center on adopted children. The boy’s death was less than a month after the ‘Dima Yakovlev Law’ was signed into law.

Russia has reacted sternly to the news that the US waited almost a month to let Russian authorities know of the incident.

Russian Chairman of the Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Aleksey Pushkov believes that Maksim’s death has become the last point in the US adoption ban debate.

"The death of another Russian three-year-old baby in the US finally puts an end to the question of adoption of our children in the US. Again, the US authorities are silent," Pushkov tweeted.

In response to the news Pskov Governor Andrey Turchak has temporarily suspended all adoptions in the region.

Local Russian authorities will also be seeking custody of Maksim’s brother Kirill, who now has been transferred into the care of the extended family of the adoptive parents. It is still not clear what will happen to him afterwards.

“Kirill cannot stay in the US since their legal procedures force him to be passed from one place to the next, which is additional trauma for the child. He is not a cat or a dog. He should come back to the Pskov Region,” said Governor Andrey Turchak.

The search for a new adoptive Russian family began on Tuesday.

Many politicians expressed shock at how inhumanely Maksim was treated.

“A new case of a Russian kid to die in the US. Under no circumstances should Russian kids be given away abroad”, Liberal-Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky wrote on his Twitter feed.

Russia’s Duma held a minute of silence in memory of Maksim on Tuesday.

US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has been invited to the Duma to discuss the topic of Russian adoptive kids abroad.

First Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets and Education Minister Dmitry Livanov were also invited to talk about the measures Russia has in place to protect orphans from being adopted by problematic families.


Need for REFORM

"Maksim Kuzmin was adopted at the beginning of November 2012. Just two-and-a-half months later he was found dead, on January 21, 2013."

Was there any post placement visits?

How was he on psychotropic medication so soon after being adopted?

Did the parents understand what loss and grief does to a child?

Will the agency and SW be prosecuted as well?

How MANY children are going to have to suffer from abuse at the hands of the very people who are suppose to love them and protect them?
How MANY children are going to have to DIE, killed by their adoptive parents?

It is time for REFORM!!!!

Radical Reform

I agree, radical adoption reform is very much needed.  However, what disturbs me is the response given by some when major attention is given to an adoption-abuse story  On CBS's website, there are those who read about an abused/killed adoptee and offer the following:

Puh-leese. 60,000 Russian orphans have been adopted into the US in the past 20 years. Assuming 40,000 of them were children any given year, the mortality rate in the US is 15.3 per 100,000 for children ages 5-14. If Russian children died at the same rates as native-born, then 61 should have died in the past 10 years. Accidental causes would kill 22 alone, and 6 would have died from various illnesses and cancers.

Adopted Russian children are safer than natural-born American children, on average. This despite their broken back ground and their numerous health problems.

Never mind what would happen to them in Russia. Russian child mortality is 150% of that in the US--and that's including all the kids OUTSIDE of the orphanages.

Few fail to see how and where adopters and adoptees are being failed by the US adoption system, even if some offer this more lucid response:

Crazy crazy crazy that this situation is being used as an anti-international adoption story. This is yet another sign of how the entire conversation about international adoption has gone off the rails and no longer has much to do with the best interests of adopted children.

Of course this is a horrible tragedy, but given the mortality rates in the U.S., what does this story actually have to do with adoption? Nothing. Yet once again, governments--here, the Russian government--is manipulating the facts and the press to serve their own agenda with the U.S. government.

As a mother of four through adoption, I find the use of our most vulnerable children to serve political ends heinous and unacceptable.

Before talks about radical adoption reform can begin, the American people and US government need to accept the following reality check:  when it comes to both domestic and foreign adoption practices, we will need MORE federal oversight and monitoring, not less.

a three year old who can't communicate...heartbreaking

I would love to know what the adoption agency/social worker who approved this case says about his horror.

I just recently had a couple of three year olds myself. They are volatile under normal circumstances. I can only guess at what this poor boy experienced, pulled from everything he knew and then hounded, beaten...it's heartbreaking.

???????? ??? ????????! (May he rest in peace).

Medicating a 3 yr old?

I myself would like to know more about the doctor who prescibed the anti-psychotic Risperidone to a 3 yr old.



Risperidone is used for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and behavior problems in people with autism.[4] In autism, however, it does not improve conversational ability or social skills, and does not appear to reduce obsessive behavior in most autistic people.[4]

Due to its strong serotonin, dopaminergic, and adrenergic antagonism, risperidone was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993 for the treatment of schizophrenia.[5] On August 22, 2007, risperidone was approved as the only drug agent available for treatment of schizophrenia in youths, ages 13–17; it was also approved that same day for treatment of bipolar disorder in youths and children, ages 10–17, joining lithium.

Antipsychotics Are Not Appropriate for Under Age 5


I understand the problems parents face when dealing with an out-of-control/crying/grieving 3 year old. But the answer is not an atypical antipsychotic medication. The answer lies in gaining better parenting skills, and getting the child into a child psychologist or other early intervention child care program that understands the value of examining a family’s dynamics to get the whole story. In this case, better PAP preparation or not approving these PAPs to adopt 2 siblings from an orphanage in Russia.

Because a 2 or 3-year-old should never be prescribed an atypical antipsychotic psychiatric medication.

Pound Pup Legacy