Everyone has been looking forward to seeing the Russian-U.S. on child adoption taking effect. The cruel treatment of Russian children adopted by American couples and numerous violations of their rights has sparked a huge outcry and aroused deep concern in Russia. Of the more than 100,000 Russian orphans adopted to the United States, 19 were killed and several others died as a result of accidents or diseases, according to official estimates. Independent sources put that number at around 40.
The Russian-American treaty on child adoption will cardinally change the situation. To begin with, it cancels independent adoptions on the Russian territory, Pavel Astakhov said.
"In most cases, we knew nothing about adopted children’s destiny all because of the so-called independent adoptions. In other words, U.S. citizens arrived in Russia and resorted to commercial services by all sorts of intermediaries, solicitors and lawyers. They had their adoption papers prepared quickly, obtained the court’s permission and took a child away, taking no responsibilities. They did not submit any reports or let inspectors see what was going in their homes because the law protects personal privacy."
The absence of control resulted in numerous cases of maltreatment, abuse and even death of adopted Russian children. There will be no more independent adoptions now. Only most trusted agencies will be authorized to deal with adoptions, the Russian ombudsman said.
"Precisely formulated accreditation will be introduced on a bilateral basis, first in America and then in Russia, for agencies offering legal assistance in the adoption of Russian children to U.S. families. There are about 80 foreign agencies in the field now. Their number will be slashed by more than a half to 40 or 30, or perhaps even less."
The treaty introduces special training for future adoptive parents and obliges them to report regularly on the successes and living conditions of adopted children.
It has retroactive force, which means that it equally applies to all previously adopted Russian children. Its clauses require decent living conditions for kids adopted from Russia and permanent monitoring of their situation. After coming of age, the adopted Russian children will have dual citizenship.
When shocking reports emerged about ranch reservations for adopted children no longer wanted by their adoptive parents, the Russian State Duma recommended the government to negotiate a supplementary agreement regulating the procedure of bringing a child back to Russia in case his adoption rights were forfeited and a mechanism of obtaining the consent of the adoptive country for subsequent repeat adoptions.