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Seven Russian kids to beat adoption ban

by fwire  Jan 19, 2013 00:45 IST

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St. Petersburg, Jan 19 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Seven children from Russia's St. Petersburg city are expected to reach the US by the end of February, despite a Russian ban on adoptions by US families, a top official said.

St. Petersburg child rights commissioner Svetlana Agapitova said a court ruling in favour of five children has already come into effect.

Two more children will leave Russia for the US in about a month as soon as all the paperwork is done.

Supreme Court spokesman Pavel Odintsov said that by that time, the court is expected to give its recommendations to all Russian courts on the consideration of US adoption cases.

At least 33 children from St. Petersburg orphanages had met their prospective parents and were preparing to be adopted before the Russian ban on adoptions by US nationals came into force Jan 1, Agapitova said.

"I worry about their fate. More than half of them have serious diseases. Seven children are handicapped, four have been diagnosed with Down's syndrome, others also have serious health problems," she said.

"These children have met their prospective parents and realized that they will soon have a family. Acting contrary to their expectations would be wrong."

The ban is part of Russia's wider response to the US' so-called Magnitsky Act, which introduced sanctions against Russian officials suspected of involvement in human rights abuses.

Nearly 130,000 children were eligible for adoption in the country as of late December, according to official figures.

In 2011, that figure was 82,000, while just 7,400 were adopted by Russian nationals that year.

The ban will affect almost all of the children - some with serious illnesses - now at various stages of the adoption process by US families, which the US State Department estimated at 500-1,000.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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