US, Russia Agree on Adoption Safeguards

Posted July 13th, 2011 at 5:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The United States and Russia are implementing stronger safeguards for child adoptions after a U.S. mother discarded her seven-year-old adopted Russian son, sending him back to Moscow alone on a plane.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the new bilateral agreement Wednesday in Washington, DC. Lavrov also met with U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday.

The deal calls for improved monitoring of families after adoption, as well as for limiting adoption services to agencies authorized by the Russian government.

The agreement also includes provisions seeking to ensure, before the adoption, that parents receive more complete social and medical histories, to better understand the true condition of the prospective adoptive child.

The U.S. mother who sent her child back to Russia had put a note in his backpack saying he is violent and that Russian officials never informed her about his behavior. She had arranged for him to be met at the Moscow airport.

The incident last year prompted Russia to demand improved adoption regulations.

The U.S. State Department says more than 1,500 Russian children were adopted by American families the year before .

Russia and the U.S. also signed several other agreements Wednesday. One extends U.S.-Russia research on the effects of radiation exposure to human health. Another increases cooperation between U.S. and Russian air traffic controllers.

A third will let business travelers travel back and forth multiple times on a single visa.

Clinton and Lavrov also discussed cooperation on missile-defense for Europe, a day after the Russian foreign minister said U.S. missile shield plans remain an irritant in relations between the two nations.

Secretary Clinton also expressed support for Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization, saying it is a high priority for President Obama.

Lavrov is in Washington on a three-day visit. On Monday, he participated in a meeting of the “Quartet” diplomatic group on the Middle East, which includes Russia, the U.S., the United Nations and the European Union.