Russian government to better protect children adopted by foreigners

Russia's lower house of parliament on Friday called on the government to better protect children adopted by foreigners, in part by concluding bilateral agreements with other countries that would help Moscow monitor the children's treatment.

The State Duma said it was concerned over the fate of 64,000 Russian children who have been adopted and are living abroad, and alleges the foreign adoption process is accompanied by "a high level of commercialization and criminalization at all stages of the process."

Russian nationalists have accused foreigners of "buying" Russian children, some 260,000 of whom live in orphanages and similar facilities, and cases of abuse by foreign adoptive parents have been widely reported in the Russian media.

"In the United States, as a result of physical violence by adoptive parents, 13 children adopted from Russia have died tragically, two of them in 2005," the State Duma said in its message to the government.

Earlier this year, an Illinois woman was imprisoned for 12 years for the death of her 6-year-old son just weeks after he was adopted from Russia. A North Carolina woman was charged with murder after her 2-year-old girl died in July.

About 10,000 Russian children are adopted each year by foreigners, with about half going to the United States. Russian families rarely adopt, and the Education Ministry has launched a campaign aimed at increasing domestic adoptions.

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