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U.S. official: Russia still allowing adoptions by Americans

From Charley Keyes, CNN
  • U.S., Russia navigating fallout after U.S. woman sent adopted boy back to Russia
  • U.S. official: Some Russian courts aren't allowing U.S. adoptions, but others are
  • Two countries working on new rules for adoptions; deal could be months away

Washington (CNN) -- A senior State Department official said Monday that Russian authorities continue to approve U.S. adoptions despite some public sentiment there to call a complete halt.

"There are several different moods, I think, in Russia. There is some popular opinion for ending all adoptions to the United States," the official said.

"There appear to be some [Russian] courts that have decided adoptions won't go forward," the official said. "But on Friday I met with 10 [American] families in Moscow who had just got their immigrant visas to bring their adopted children to the United States. They all got through the process in Moscow and in various other cities. One person had three different court appearances and got a tongue-lashing, but that makes judges somewhat akin to ... the United States."

The official, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of U.S.-Russian talks, participated in a conference call with journalists to discuss his meeting in Moscow last week. A follow-up session is set for Moscow a week from Wednesday.

The latest uproar and the high-level meetings were prompted by a Tennessee woman who sent the young Russian boy her family had recently adopted back to Russia unaccompanied.

The senior State Department official said Russians understandably are upset that 18 Russian children have been killed by their adoptive parents since the early 1990s and 17 of those cases involved Americans.

"There are some who say, 'My God, even one death in the hands of Americans is too many. Seventeen is really too many. We should stop everything until we are comfortable that not another single Russian child will be killed in the United States,' " the U.S. official said. "So there are conflicting views in Russia."

He said one possible provision of a new U.S.-Russia agreement would allow earlier and more frequent sharing of information both before and after adoptions. He said some American couples don't see details of a child's medical and psychological condition until a court appearance for final adoption approval.

The Russians presented the United States with a draft proposal of an agreement on Saturday, but the U.S. official said final agreement could be months away. One Russian proposal would have independent follow-ups with each adoptive family after the family returns to the United States.