Russia, US Agree on New Adoption Regulations

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Russia's parliament passed a long-awaited agreement with the United States, Tuesday, on regulating adoption of Russian children by Americans.

Concerns out of Russia halted all adoption agreements between the two countries back 2010 after an American adoptive mother sent her 7-year-old boy back to Russia on a one-way ticket because of behavioral problems.

Russian officials had concerns over expected abuse and even killings of children by their adoptive American parents. At least 19 Russian deaths have been suspected.

In 2011, Russian and U.S. officials signed an agreement aimed at ending the dispute, but the Russian parliament waited nearly a year to ratify it due to technicalities.

Under the new rules, all adoptions must be processed through adoption agencies registered in Russia.

In addition, the child must be visited regularly by a social worker, reports must be sent to Russian authorities, and the adoptive child's upbringing must be monitored.

The deal also makes sure prospective American parents have better information about the social and medical histories of Russian children.

Adoption officials hope the agreement will ensure the safety of Russian children and undercut complaints by nationalists that the country's "selling" its youth.

There are more than 740,000 children without parental custody in Russia, according to UNICEF.

Full resumption of adoptions will therefore provide opportunities for children in the care of under-funded and crowded orphanages.

Russia has been a major source of adopted children in the U.S. for two decades.

In the 2011 fiscal year, Russia was the third-largest source of foreign adoption by Americans with 970 adoptions, trailing China and Ethiopia.

More than 60,000 Russian orphans have been adopted in the U.S., according to the National Council For Adoption, a U.S. advocacy nonprofit group.

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