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Russian child ombudsman does not rule out possible U.S. adoption freeze


November 12, 2010 / RIA Novosti

Russian Children's Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov may push for a freeze on adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens if Russia and the United States fail to seal an adoption agreement by early 2011.

"In case problems arise by the beginning of the next year and we are unable to push this agreement through and do not reach the stage where we just have to sign it, then I am ready to raise the serious issue of a juridical freeze on U.S. adoptions," Astakhov said on Friday.

Russia has received the last version of the U.S.-Russian adoption agreement; however, Russian agencies, including the foreign ministry, have criticized the document and "for that reason the work [on the agreement] has become complex," Astakhov said.

Russia is one of the largest sources of adoptions for U.S. families, accounting for about 10 percent of foreign adoptions. The mistreatment of Russian children adopted in the United States has attracted public attention in recent months as a result of a number of highly publicized incidents.

In June, a 7-year-old boy was placed alone on a one-way flight to Moscow by his U.S. adoptive mother with a note claiming he was "psychopathic."

Following the case, Russia threatened to prohibit child adoptions by U.S. citizens until the countries sign an intergovernmental agreement guaranteeing the rights of adopted children.

2010 Nov 12