Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights says no more Russian children will be permitted to join potential adoptive families in the United States.
Pavel Astakhov made the announcement on Wednesday despite calls by US officials for flexibility with adoptions that were “in process” before Russia banned US families from adopting Russian children.
“The issue is closed because there is no process,” Ria Novosti news agency quoted Astakhov as telling reporters at the Russian embassy in Washington after two days of discussions with US officials.
On December 28, 2012, Russia approved the Dima Yakovlev law, which bans Americans from adopting Russian children. The adoption ban took effect on January 1, 2013.
The legislation is named after a Russian toddler who died in 2008 of heat stroke due to the negligence of his adoptive father - an American.
Astakhov added that the US Department of State had presented him with a list including the names of over 250 children whom they considered to be already in the process of being adopted by American families. None of those kids would be considered for exceptional treatment.
He noted that about half of the children on the list have already been taken in by adoptive families in Russia or put in foster homes or are back with their biological parents.
“The children on this list did not leave the country and they nonetheless were returned to a family,” Astakhov said.
Many adoptions that had been approved by Russian courts before the ban continued through early February, Astakhov stated.
A US State Department official told Ria Novosti ahead of Astakhov’s press conference that “We have reiterated our deep disappointment with the Russian government’s decision to ban the adoption of Russian children by US citizens.”
Meanwhile, Astakhov noted that he met officials from different US government agencies to discuss the adoption issue.
He said Moscow and Washington had reached an agreement to establish an inclusive database of Russian adoptees in the US, adding that the State Department had vowed to increase its efforts to help Russia track cases of alleged abuse and neglect of these children by their American parents.