The United States government tried to head off a diplomatic row with Russia on Tuesday after Russian officials demanded an investigation into the death of a Russian child in an adoptive American family. American news media reported last week that Anton Fomin, a nine-year old Russian child adopted into a Nebraska family, died in a house fire while his parents were gone. On Monday, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman, Pavel Astakhov, demanded an investigation, saying that American investigators had established that the child had been locked in the basement. “Either the boy was punished or he was neglected and got into the basement accidentally,” Mr. Astakhov said, according to RIA Novosti news service. “Why the boy was locked in the basement and why he could not get out, we will ask the U.S. attorneys about this.” The United States Embassy in Moscow expressed its condolences to the child’s family on Tuesday, and corrected what it called “unsubstantiated reports” that he was brought to the United States through an adoption program. “Anton immigrated to the United States with his biological parents, not through intercountry adoption,” the statement said. Russian authorities have repeatedly criticized lax checks on adoptive American parents after a spate of high profile deaths involving negligent and abusive families.But he was, apparently, adopted, not something really made clear in the NYT article, but only after he emigrated to the U.S., says the Moscow Times:
Nine-year-old Anton Fomin immigrated to the United States with his birth parents, not through intercountry adoption, the embassy said in a statement.So yes, Anton was an adoptee, but a domestic adoptee. Does that make it none of Russia's business?
A spokeswoman for Children's Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov confirmed that Fomin was given up for adoption after arriving in the United States.
Fomin died last week in a house fire at the home of his adoptive parents in Davey, Nebraska.