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WHY IS THE DEAL IMPORTANT FOR AMERICANS?
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.
Adoptions from Russia peaked in 2004 at 5,862 adoptions, according to the State Department. Their number was 1,586 in 2009 — a year before Russia demanded an agreement regulating adoptions.
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. Russian children rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov insists that the number could be as high as 100,000. The discrepancy could be due to the Russian government’s virtual absence of adoption records before 1996.
RECENT ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE OF RUSSIAN ADOPTED CHILDREN
Michael and Nanette Craver from Pennsylvania were sentenced in 2011 to up to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter of their adoptive 7-year-old Russian son. A jury acquitted them of murder charges, but concluded they were negligent and responsible for the death.
Jessica Beagley from Alaska was convicted in 2011 of child abuse for pouring hot sauce into her adopted Russian son’s mouth.
In May, Martin and Kathleen O’Brien from Wisconsin were charged with an array of counts connected to allegations they systematically punished their four adopted Russian children, including beatings with sticks and belts. Their trial is ongoing.
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