US delegation to visit Moscow to discuss adoptions
MOSCOW, Russia -- A delegation of high-level State Department officials will visit Moscow for consultations after Russia threatened to freeze adoptions for U.S. families, the U.S. Embassy said Monday.
Russia threatened Friday to suspend all such adoptions after a 7-year-old boy adopted by a Tennessee woman was sent alone on a flight back to Moscow with a note saying he was violent and had severe psychological problems. The case has caused outrage in Russia.
U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle said in a statement Monday that that the delegation will discuss a possible agreement or bilateral understanding to ensure the well-being of Russian children adopted by families in the United States.
"Many thousands of Russian children have been adopted by American families, and we hope that children here who are unable to find a family in Russia to adopt them can continue to have this chance," he said.
A freeze could affect hundreds of American families. Last year, nearly 1,600 Russian children were adopted in the United States, according to the National Council For Adoption, a U.S. adoption advocacy nonprofit group.
Placing children inside Russia remains difficult. There are more than 740,000 children without parental custody in Russia, according to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.
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