Russians ratify U.S. pact on adoptions

Artyom Savelyev, a 9-year-old Russian boy, is in a foster home in Tomilino, outside Moscow, Russia. Russias parliament on Tuesday ratified an agreement with the United States that would regulate the adoption of Russian children by Americans. Russian first voiced its grievances about the fate of Russian children adopted in the United States when Savelyev, then 7, was sent back to Russia on a one-way plane ticket by his adoptive mother from Tennessee.
Artyom Savelyev, a 9-year-old Russian boy, is in a foster home in Tomilino, outside Moscow, Russia. Russias parliament on Tuesday ratified an agreement with the United States that would regulate the adoption of Russian children by Americans. Russian first voiced its grievances about the fate of Russian children adopted in the United States when Savelyev, then 7, was sent back to Russia on a one-way plane ticket by his adoptive mother from Tennessee. (MISHA JAPARIDZE / Associated Press, file)

For a time, some had wanted to ban all American applicants, citing abuse and deaths.

Posted: July 11, 2012

MOSCOW - Russia's parliament Tuesday ratified a long-awaited agreement with the United States regulating the adoption of Russian children by Americans.

The ratification by a 244-96-2 vote in the State Duma came a year after the two countries worked out the agreement.

Russian officials have long complained about the abuse and even killings of children by their adoptive parents - saying at least 19 Russian adoptive children have died at their American parents' hands.

The issue came to a head in April 2010 when an American adoptive mother sent her 7-year-old boy back to Russia on a one-way ticket, saying he had behavioral problems.

Some Russians called for adoptions by Americans to be halted altogether. That never happened, but some agencies working in Russia said their applications were frozen for several months.

Russian and U.S. officials signed an agreement aimed at ending the dispute in 2011, but the Russian parliament waited nearly a year to ratify it due to technicalities.

All adoptions will have to be processed through adoption agencies registered in Russia. The agreement requires the agencies to monitor the child's upbringing, schedule visits by a social worker, and send reports to Russian authorities.

The deal makes sure that prospective American parents would have better information about the social and medical histories of Russian children.

Full resumption of adoptions will mean increased opportunity for Russian orphans to leave underfunded and crowded orphanages. There are more than 740,000 children without parental custody in Russia, according to UNICEF. Russians historically have been less inclined to adopt children than in many other cultures.

In the 2011 fiscal year, Russia was the third-largest source of foreign adoption by Americans with 970 adoptions, trailing China and Ethiopia.

Adoptions from Russia peaked in 2004 at 5,862, according to the State Department. Their number was 1,586 in 2009 - a year before Russia demanded an agreement regulating adoptions.

More than 60,000 Russian orphans have been adopted in the United States, according to the National Council for Adoption, a U.S. advocacy nonprofit group. Russian children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov insists that the number could be as high as 100,000. The discrepancy could be due to the Russian government's virtual absence of adoption records before 1996.

Last year, Michael and Nanette Craver were sentenced in York, Pa., to 16 months to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter of their 7-year-old Russian son. A jury acquitted them of murder but concluded they were negligent and responsible for the death.

Because they had already spent nearly 19 months in jail, they did not serve any more time, enraging the Russian government.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|