Tensions between the U.S. and Russia regarding adoptions have increased after a woman allegedly abandoned a set of twins she'd adopted, and left them in the bitter cold weather.
An arrest warrant has been issued by Russian authorities for the unidentified 28-year-old American woman.
According to the Daily Mail, the 15-month-old twins were found on a St. Petersburg doorstep in freezing winter temperatures with a note attached. The note indicated the mother no longer wanted the children.
RT reported an unidentified man brought the children to a Saint Petersburg custodial organization with a note that said, "foster mother had given them up."
"She decided to abandon the twins. Moreover, she opted not to do this in person," Svetlana Agapitova, St. Petersburg's children's ombudsman said.
The twins, a boy named Sasha and a girl named Masha, were left alone in the elements. According to officials, the twins were adopted about six months ago by a woman.
The adoption is said to have gone through as the women had presented a "positive impression" to adoption officials. However, it turns out this woman was not who she claimed to be. Pravda reported she concealed her dual Russian-U.S. citizenship and the fact she'd planned to raise the babies in the U.S.
Additionally, she is purportedly married, which means her foreigner husband should have been vetted out to see if he was an appropriate candidate for an adoptive father, and this process follows different rules than if the father was Russian.
What's not clear is how or when officials found out the woman was married. The Daily Mail report said authorities demanded details about the woman's husband and, subsequently, she abandoned the babies. Pravda noted she would have to go through the adoption process all over again, at a higher cost since she'd be doing the adoption as a U.S. citizen.
A search warrant has reportedly been issued by Russian police, but it is believed the woman is now "abroad." The Daily Mail report said the woman "is now on the run," and saying she did not ask anyone to bring the twins back; there is a report of claims she "suffered a mental breakdown as a result of the scandal."
The children are now being cared for in a hospital until a decision on their future is made.
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia have been high where adoptions are concerned. The situation reached a crisis point in 2010 after a Tennessee woman put her adopted 7-year-old on a plane alone to Moscow saying she couldn't handle his emotional problems. The mother, Torry Ann Hansen, a registered nurse from Tennessee, wrote a note which said the boy “is violent and has severe psychopathic issues.” She also noted she “was lied to and misled by the Russian orphanage workers” about his troubles.
The New York Times had reported last summer most adoptions between the two countries have been successful, but both nations acknowledge there have been some problems.
In July 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov signed an agreement that would allow "adoptions to proceed under heightened scrutiny."
However, this agreement is yet to be ratified by Russian lawmakers, said RT.
Last month Digital Journalreported Russia sought to suspend U.S. adoptions due to the ""incessant string of crimes" allegedly committed by adoptive parents." Russian authorities were outraged by the lenient sentence given to a Pennsylvania couple in connection with the death of their son.
As for Sasha and Masha, Pavel Astakhov's, Children’s Right Ombudsman, office is said to have released a press statement (Interfax, via RT.com) that claimed the woman "is destroying the work done by the U.S. to bring order to adoption issues. Unfortunately, the US is currently unable to protect children adopted in Russia."