U.S., Russia to finalize adoption agreement soon

WASHINGTON Wed Dec 1, 2010 7:53am EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government said it expects to finalize an agreement with Russia on Wednesday to regulate adoptions after an American woman rejected her adopted son and sent him back to Russia alone in April.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said a fifth round of talks between U.S. and Russian officials would take place on Wednesday, when the two sides were expected to complete the agreement so that it can be signed "in the near future."

Russian officials began pushing for a treaty on adoptions after an American woman sent her seven-year-old adopted son back to Moscow on a plane with a note describing him as mentally unbalanced and violent.

The incident compounded anger in Russia over the deaths of 15 Russian-born children as an apparent result of abuse by their adoptive American parents in the years since such adoptions began.

More than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by foreigners, mostly Americans, since the 1991 collapse of Communism opened up Russia to the West.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev asked for an agreement establishing the duties of American parents adopting children from Russia and creating a system to monitor the treatment of adopted children.

Crowley declined to provide details on the agreement other than to say it would provide for greater "transparency."

Russia was the third-largest source of foreign adoptions to the United States in 2009 with 1,586 adoptions, according to the State Department.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; editing by Todd Eastham)

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