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Tooele child abuse case gives international adoption a bad name


Tooele child abuse case gives international adoption a bad name

March 14th, 2008 @ 4:03pm

Courtney Orton reporting

A 14-month-old baby who was recently adopted by a Tooele couple from Russia is dead, and his adoptive mother has been charged with his murder.

The autopsy shows the infant died from a skull fracture doctors say was the result of blunt-force trauma. His adoptive mother, Kimberly Emelyantsev, refused to speak with police. Her husband, Fyodor Emelyantsev, told police the child had fallen.

Both parents are also charged with abusing their 4-year-old son, who also is from Russia. He is being treated at Primary Children's Medical Center for malnutrition.

The president of the Save a Child Foundation, a foundation that works to find homes for orphaned children in the Ukraine, says stories like this one give international adoption a bad reputation. "We are continually bombarded by the negative stories that happen in international adoption. There aren't a lot of them, but the few that are seem to spoil it for the majority," Vern Garrett said.

Garrett and his wife, Nanette, have adopted three children from the Ukraine and know just how hard it can be to integrate adopted children into a family. He says this Tooele couple could have quite possibly taken on more than they could handle.

International adoptions can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000. The Garretts started a hosting program three years ago. It allows carefully screened families to host a child for three weeks before and if they even decide to adopt. They say it gives families a chance to see if adopting a child from another country will work for them.

The Emelyanstevs are being held in the Tooele County Jail. Their two biological children and the other adopted child are staying with family.

For more information on the Save a Child Foundation, click the related link.

E-mail: corton@ksl.com

2008 Mar 14