Russia Wants Right to Prosecute Parents Who Abuse Adopted Russian Kids

Russia seeks right to prosecute U.S. parents who abuse adopted Russian kids.

ByABC News
April 30, 2010, 6:46 AM

MOSCOW, April 30, 2010 -- In a meeting between Russian and U.S. officials on a new pact for adoptions of Russian children, Russia demanded greater monitoring of the children and the right to prosecute American parents who abuse those children.

Many adoptions are in limbo after a Tennessee woman sent her adopted 7-year-old son back to Moscow alone with a note in his pocket saying she didn't want to parent the boy anymore. A Pennsylvania couple was also charged this week with homicide in the death of another 7-year-old boy who had been adopted in Russia.

"We just need to have some safety guarantees for our kids which we send to adoption to the United States of America because right now without an agreement we don't have any possibility to check our children to know about their future and to make sure that everything is OK with our children," Pavel Astakhov, Kremlin's ombudsman for children's rights, told ABC News.

A State Department delegation described its discussion with Russian counterparts over a new agreement to govern adoptions of Russian children by Americans as "fruitful," but ongoing. The State Department wouldn't comment on Russia's request to pursue legal action against Americans beyond calling it "a complicated legal problem."

"We agree that we want to do what's best for children and we have formed a working group," Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Kirby told reporters outside the Foreign Ministry on Thursday. He said that the talks will resume on May 12.

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Astakhov said he expected an agreement very quickly, but warned that without one adoptions to the United States could grind to a halt.

"I think our parliament is ready to cancel it all, and make an amendment in family court and to prohibit foreign adoptions," Astakhov told ABC News. "I don't want it so, but it can be."

Though the U.S. is a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention, the two countries don't have a bilateral legal agreement in place. Russia is the third largest source of adoptions for Americans after Ethiopia and China, with some 1,600 children adopted from Russia last year, according to the State Department.