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By Peter J. Smith

MOSCOW, July 26, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – American homosexual couples will not be eligible to adopt Russian children under a new accord on child adoptions that is being drafted between Russia and the United States, reports Interfax. Additional sources say that Russian officials have also indicated that single U.S. parents will no longer qualify as well.

Alina Levitskaya, a senior official at Russia’s Education and Science Ministry, told the Russian news service that only heterosexual married couples will be allowed to adopt Russia’s orphaned children.

Although an unnamed U.S. State Department official told AOL News that “unmarried individuals and married couples will be able to adopt if they meet the requirements of both countries,” the news agency notes that Russian officials have emphatically stated that Russian law defines “family” to mean “a husband and a wife.”

The latest round of negotiations on the draft agreement began last Wednesday; representatives from both the U.S. State Department and Russia’s Education and Science Ministry hope to have the accord completed within the next several weeks. Levitskaya told Interfax that they do not expect the agreement on child adoptions to be signed before November or December.

Interfax also reports that children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov made crystal clear that state child welfare agencies that break the law will face “criminal responsibility.”

The agreement on child adoptions between the U.S. and Russia was demanded by Russia after an unmarried Tennessee woman sent her 7-year-old adopted Russian son back to Russia alone, claiming he had psychological problems and that she could no longer deal with him.

Torry Hansen provoked the international incident when she sent her son, Artyom Savelyev, on a flight to Moscow in April, and hired a man to drop him off on the doorstep of the Education and Science Ministry. She tagged a note to his person saying, “I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends, and myself, … I no longer wish to parent this child. As he is a Russian national, I am returning him to your guardianship.”

Hansen is a 33-year-old nurse and unmarried, but nevertheless wanted to have a family. She reportedly enlisted help from her mother, Nancy, to raise the boy, but events proved that neither were equipped to discipline and raise Savelyev, and, according to the Associated Press, they hoped that his mounting behavioral problems could be cured by “love.”

After the incident Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ordered a temporary suspension of foreign adoptions, calling the outrage “the last straw.” Russia has grown increasingly upset about reports that at least twelve Russian children have died violent deaths at the hands of U.S. adoptive parents, among the 60,000 Russian children adopted since 1996.

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