Russian, US officials near adoption accord

U.S. and Russian officials will meet Wednesday to conclude a new, binding agreement covering adoptions between the two countries, the State Department said.

Russia demanded such an agreement after an incident in April when a Tennessee adoptive mother put her 7-year-old boy on a plane back to Russia — unaccompanied by an adult.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday that this week's meeting was intended to review the final text of the agreement, with formal signing to come at a later date.

Details of the final accord have not been released, although a Russian official said previously that one provision would allow monitors to visit the homes of adopted children.

Nearly 1,600 Russian children were adopted by Americans in 2009.

This will be the fifth round of talks since April, when Artyom Savelyev — then 7 — was sent back to Moscow alone from his adoptive home in Tennessee.

Authorities said Savelyev's adoptive mother had refused to allow a social worker into the house less than a month before the boy was dispatched back to Russia.

Amid the uproar that followed that incident, some international adoption proceedings in Russia were slowed, but there was no complete halt to adoptions by Americans.

Crowley said it remained to be determined when the new accord would be signed.