Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Old news Russian adopttee killed by U.S. mom

This is new to me tho...
The adoption of Russian children by foreigners looks slated to undergo its own Iron Curtain period. Yet another child from Russia has been killed in the United States by adoptive parents.

Just recently, two-year-old Nina Bazhenova of Irkutsk was pronounced dead at a Prince William county hospital. The doctors said the child died as a result of beatings. And investigators learned that she was killed by her own foster mother. The Russian embassy in Washington reacted immediately to the incident and promised to take the investigation under its own control.

As is well known, the adoption of children from Russia remains a very problematic practice for potential parents from abroad. Our government continuously speaks that it would like for all these children to remain in Russia. And Russian law enforcement authorities are trying to further complicate the adoption process, even though such tragedies occur in Russia no less frequently than in the United States.

When in May of this year a Chicago court was preparing to pass verdict on U.S. citizen Irma Pavlis who killed her adopted six-year-old from Russia, Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov told the government to immediately re-examine the common practice of handing over the nation’s young citizens to families abroad. He wanted to freeze international adoptions until special agreements are made “allowing control and measures against violence.” The prosecutor general cited the growing frequency of cruelty against adopted children in the United States. Since 1996, at least 12 Russian children have died at the hands of their adoptive parents in the United States.

In the last two months, the Education Ministry, which is responsible for foster care and adoption, together with the Prosecutor General’s office, have tried to develop a joint compromise that would, on the one hand, make adoption more accessible to foreign parents, and, on the other, that would better protect the rights of children.

In the United States, people are also concerned about the future of children who are in the care of foster parents. On Friday, Tomas Etwood, president of the U.S. National Council for Adoption called on the U.S. government to pass reforms in American agencies that help U.S. residents adopt foreign children. He believes that it is crucial to better study the profiles of future parents of Russian children and in particular, how prepared they are psychologically to accept a child from an orphanage into their family.

Now, however, it is unlikely that Russian prosecutors will wait while foreign agencies actually improve their activities. After the case of little Nina Bazhenova, Deputy Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky promised to take all the necessary measures to check whether the actions of those involved in the adoption were legal. In other words, he once again signaled that he will take a hard stance on issues of foreign adoption in general. According to Education Ministry statistics, out of the over 170,000 Russian orphans, only 7,331 were adopted by parents inside Russia, and 7,852 were adopted by parents abroad.

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