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Death of Russian-born boy in US reignites adoption debate

A 9-year-old Russian boy adopted by US parents died in a house fire last week, reminding Russians of several incidents of poor treatment of Russian orphans adopted by Americans.

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The tragic death of a 9-year old Russian-born boy, who was apparently alone in the Nebraska home of his adoptive American parents when it burned down last week, has triggered a renewed outpouring of media outrage in Russia and amplified calls for a ban on foreign adoptions.

It's an unpleasant diplomatic scandal that has recurred many times in recent years, even as the two countries have moved toward mutually agreeable rules for US-Russian adoptions, and Russia has vastly improved conditions over recent years for its own citizens who want to adopt one of the country's 130,000 institutionalized orphans or take in a foster child.

Anton Fomin was brought to the US by his Russian biological parents but was adopted by an American couple in 2008 after his father died and his mother was unable to care for him. He may have been locked in the basement, and was alone in the Davey, Nebraska house when it burned down on May 17.

The news prompted the Kremlin's ombudsman for children, Pavel Astakhov, to Tweet on May 21 that this is "yet another" example of a Russian child dying at the hands of possibly negligent or abusive American adoptive parents.


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