Russian adoptions continue

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Earlier today, numerous media outlets were reporting that Russia was suspending its programs that enable U.S. citizens to adopt Russian children. Since then, numerous sources have repudiated the story, including the U.S. State Department.

Buckner International, a Texas Baptist institution, helps people adopt children from a number of countries, including Russia. It says Russian adoptions are continuing. In fact, two families will travel to Russia this weekend to finalize their adoptions. Pasted below is the entire press release from Buckner.

Russian adoptions continuing

By Buckner International staff

MOSCOW – Officials with Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services say they have not received any official notification about the suspension of adoptions from the Russian Ministry of Education, the arm of the government that oversees international adoptions.

According to Buckner’s Russia staff this morning, international adoptions are continuing without interruption. Andrei Pukhlov, director of the Buckner program, said there “has been no official announcement from the Ministry of Education regarding the suspension of adoptions.” Two families working through Buckner are headed to Russia this weekend to finalize their adoptions.

Numerous stories in the media today announcing the suspension of adoptions quoted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, that agency of the Russian government does not oversee the adoption program and according to other sources, does not have the authority to suspend adoptions.

“While we have not received any official word, we are watching the situation closely and we will be in touch with our families waiting to adopt from Russia,” said Felipe Garza, vice president at Buckner.

Buckner began adoptions from Russia in 1995. More than 250 Russian children have been placed with families through Buckner in the past 15 years.

Recent news events surrounding the status of Russian adoption to American families has centered on the case of a 7-year-old boy who was sent back to Moscow alone last week by his adoptive mother in Tennessee. The case of the boy, who was named Artyom in Russia before he was adopted last year, has caused widespread anger.

In the wake of these events, Russian officials have called for increased scrutiny on allowing U.S. citizens to adopt Russian children. The U.S. State Department in Washington is sending a high-level delegation to Moscow to hold talks on reaching an agreement, and both countries have expressed hope that the matter can be resolved quickly.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said they had not received official notification of a suspension and were seeking more information from their Russian counterparts.

Russia was the third leading source of adoptive children in the United States in 2009, with 1,586, after China and Ethiopia, officials said. More than 50,000 Russian children have been adopted by United States citizens since 1991, according to the United States Embassy.

Artyom, who was named Justin by his adoptive American mother, arrived in Moscow last week after flying by himself from Washington. He presented the authorities with a note from his adoptive mother in which she said she could no longer handle him.

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