Foreign Adoptions Called Into Question After Death of Russian-Born Girl

By Sergei Blagov Correspondent
July 11, 2005

Moscow ( - Controversy over foreign adoptions has reached a new high in Russia after the death of two-year old girl, allegedly at the hands of her adoptive mother in the United States.

The case has sparked calls for a rethink on foreign adoptions, although with 700,000 abandoned and orphaned children in state institutions in Russia, foreign adoptions have provided tens of thousands with homes.

Russian-born Nina Hilt died on July 2, and her adoptive mother was arrested four days later, accused of murder.

Prosecutors in Eastern Siberia's Irkutsk region, where the adoption originally took place, have launched a probe into the matter. The Russian Embassy in Washington has also asked for more information.

Press reports said the child, who was living in North Carolina, died in Virginia while visiting relatives. The Washington Post reported that her mother admitted shaking and striking Nina, who was bruised and battered at the time of her death.

Embassy spokesman Yevgeny Khorishko said the girl had been adopted by the Hilt family through an international adoption agency in January 2004.

Adoption International Inc has been helping families adopt children from Russia, former Soviet states and China since 1995. According to the agency's website, adoption costs run between $10,000 and $18,000.

The National Council For Adoption (NCFA) urged immediate action to prevent future cases of abuse. "This news breaks the hearts of adoption professionals who are working to provide safe and loving families for Russian orphans," said council president and CEO Thomas Atwood.

NCFA recommended the swift implementation of the Hague.....


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