May 12th, 2010
10:28 AM ET

Official: U.S.-Russia adoption agreement to be finalized

A draft agreement on international adoptions between the United States and Russia will be finalized by Friday, Moscow's children's rights commissioner said Wednesday.

After it is finalized, the agreement will be forwarded to the Russian Health and Education ministries and the Cabinet of Ministers, said the commissioner, Pavel Astakhov. If approved by the Cabinet, a signing date will be scheduled, he said. The final copy would be signed by Russia's Education Ministry and the U.S. State Department or Department of Justice, he added.

Under the proposed agreement, the number of U.S. adoption agencies dealing with Russian children will be diminished, he said.

"We will reduce the number of U.S. adoption agencies accredited in Russia," Astakhov said. Only those agencies that are accredited in the United States and compliant with the requirements of the Hague convention on international adoptions will be allowed to continue working in Russia, he said.

In addition, he said, "independent adoptions" will be abolished altogether. The draft agreement envisions setting up a joint Russian-American body with the authority to check out any U.S. family adopting a Russian child, Astakhov said.

High-level meetings between the two nations on adoptions followed an uproar after a Tennessee woman sent the young Russian boy she had recently adopted back to Russia unaccompanied. Artyem Saveliev, who was then 7, carried a letter to the Russian Ministry of Education from his adoptive mother saying he was "mentally unstable" and was violent with "severe psychopathic issues/behaviors."

The draft agreement stipulates that the two countries should coordinate and sign it within the next two months, Astakhov said. The two countries do not disagree over the agreement, but a number of details are still being hammered out, he said.

A senior State Department official said last week that Russian authorities continue to approve U.S. adoptions despite some public sentiment there to call for a complete halt. The official insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. But 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 that some American couples don't see details of a child's medical and psychological condition until a court appearance for final adoption approval.

- CNN's Charley Keyes contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Adoption • Russia • U.S.
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. FLODA

    Pleased to hear about the progress. Waiting patiently for a grandaughter from Russia

    May 12, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. RinMaine

    I also am glad to see some progress being made. Does the agreement address how they will deal more forthrightly with prenatal alcohol affected children and other unfortunate medical situations that Russia like to ship to us?

    May 12, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. distro

    It is great to see the process working so quickly with Russian adoptions, but more attention must be focused on the Kyrgyzstan adoption fiasco.
    There are nearly 100 American families who have been paired with Kyrgyz children – photos & videos exchanged, paper work files, fees paid. The children have been in limbo for 2 years now as Kyrgyzstan decided to abruptly halt all International adoptions. These parents have been dragged through the dirt as corruption rules, and the government has recently been over-thrown. Most of the waiting Kyrgyz orphans have disabilities that would benefit greatly from early intervention.
    It is great that the US state department has been able to calm the fire in Russia, and keep adoptions flowing, but more must be done for the orphans of Kyrgyzstan!

    May 12, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. sonas76

    Good...maybe this will push the adoption community to stop treating children like a commidity to be bought and sold (like a 'shipped' product mentioned by someone else) and more like the human beings that they actually are....and don't say kids aren't being bought and sold, the Adoption Industry makes quite a lot of money from the selling of children. I suggest you look up some of the profits these organizations and companies make if you don't believe me. If it was 'from the goodness of their hearts' no money would exchange hands, and kids would be adopted from the community around the adoptive parents.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. lexy11

    Maxim, do you know if you could look into finding out more details on the agreeement? I am specifically interested in whether or not the U.S. has negotiated the time needed to stay over in Russia when adopting a child. The 10 day stay after the favorable decision seems to be a bit too long. No paperwork is done during this time and we as US citizens do not understand why. Could you check into this for your readers?

    Thank you very kindly

    May 12, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. DTexas

    Sonas76, you need to check your facts.Very few adoption agencies make money.We adopted our son from Russia 11 years ago & the governments collected money but the agency barely paid their workers.Our local agency is supported by a church & has fundraisers in order to keep running. It is illegal to pay for a child. But yes, adoption is expensive because of the various fees to government agencies, etc. but not the adoption agency.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mr. Speed

    So....

    What about the dumb woman who sent the kid packing???
    What are we going to do with her???
    I live in Shelbyville, Tn where this loser lives and I can tell you that the sheriff is saying that this did NOT happen in his jurisdiction. Once she left Bedford County, Tennessee heading for the airport it was not his problem. The ignorant attorney general states that he can not press charges with out speaking to the child.

    Hello ??? It's called video conference you MORON!!!

    This woman needs to be put away and the local officials need to be removed from office.
    Ther is NO PLACE for IGNORANCE in this country when protecting children.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Allison

    So glad you must have walked in her shoes Mr. Speed! You must be a Saint! Congratulations!

    May 12, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. heyder

    how about programs that educate and support single unwed mothers so most of these children come out healthy?

    May 12, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. K.C.

    I'm happy to hear that an agreement is near. We are considering another adoption from the same region our daughter is from, and I don't want to start the process until something has been decided.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. heyder

    what i don't understand is that russia who has a decent government, not the worst in the world by far, cannot figure out how to stop this orphanage problem in the first place? why are woman having so many children out of wedlock? where are the agencies to supply birth control to men and women. education, education, education!!!!!!

    May 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TopHat

    It's pretty difficult to defend the Shelbyville woman who sent her own child on an oversees flight alone with no one familiar to even meet him on arrival. She needs to face repercussions, no doubt about that at all. As difficult as it may have been for her, there are lots of resources available to her and by all accounts, she accessed exactly zero of those resources. Completely inexcusable.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. heyder

    are russians adopting american children, it just doesn't make any sense the amount of children being born there, let alone the fetal alcohol syndrome problems that runs rampant.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. K.C.

    @lexy. I think they expect you to use this 10 days to get to know your child, so that they aren't being dragged away from all they know by complete strangers. We chose to say a month, at a time when they allowed one long trip instead of two, specifically so we would have more opportunities to visit our child prior to the adoption being finalized. It was still traumatic for her, so I can't imagine what it must be for a child that only receives a couple of visits from the folks adopting them.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeremy

    Mr Speed. Thanks for the update I was wondering what was happening with her.

    Allison. No one needed to be perfect or a Saint here. There were plenty of options to have the child removed from the house immediately without sending him back to Russia in that way. Heck the most obvious option would be to take him to the hospital and have a psych evaluation. She could have had him committed immediately pending an evaluation. This lady didn't even have the decency to try to contact the adoption agency to see if there was something they could do. There is simply no excuse.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
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