Russia Wants Right to Prosecute Parents Who Abuse Adopted Russian Kids

Lorraine and Pierce Fenelon arrived in Moscow from Boston as tensions flared between the U.S. and Russia and talk of a suspension began. It threw their plans to adopt 15 month-old Natasha into jeopardy after a 14 month process involving mountains of paperwork. Their last court appearance in Moscow was meant to be the final step.

"I was inconsolable," said Lorraine. "I couldn't even speak, I was just beyond upset."

Barbara and Rick Durig were preparing to leave their Minneapolis suburb for southern Russia to pick up three sisters aged 17, 11 and 9 when the Hansen scandal broke.

"I was just sick, absolutely sick," Rick said. "I listened on the news and I heard the headline and I could not believe what I was hearing. This was a mere two days after we had gotten our court date and we had gotten our firm travel date."

Despite the suspension, both the Durigs' and Fenelons' adoptions were completed.

Agreement Could Take Time

"The judge was amazing, not one word of reproach about Americans adopting Russians, not one hint that this was going on," said Lorraine Fenelon.

However, U.S. embassy consular officials in Moscow commented to the Fenelons that there was a marked decrease in the adoptions paperwork they are currently processing.

The Fenelons received Natasha's U.S. passport on Thursday and will head to Boston on Saturday. The Durigs are spending 10 days near the girls' orphanage, they will then bring them to Moscow to complete the paperwork and return home on May 15.

Artyom Savelyev, who turned 8 since arriving back to Russia, has been transferred from the hospital to where he has been staying and is being prepared to be placed with a foster family. Astakhov, the ombudsman, says Artyom has made friends and "feels fine."

American officials warn that drafting a new agreement could take some time, but Astakhov hopes it will be sooner rather than later.

"We'll continue our conversation, our negotiations on this issue and I hope and I really think we will do this agreement very quickly," he said.

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