Monday, February 25, 2013

Adopted Ukrainian Boy Shot to Death in US: What Does This Mean For US-Ukrainian Adoptions?

Last Friday, Voice of Russia published an article after
discovering that an adopted boy they thought was from Russia, was
adopted from Ukraine. The boy was shot by his older adopted
father when he was teaching the 13 year old how to use a gun.
This event occurred in June 2011. The Voice of Russia, Russia's
government media, broke the news under the sensational headline:
"Ukrainians outraged as US dad shoots adopted Ukrainian boy".

Before we react with worry and concern over the future of
Ukraine's international adoption program, it is important to read
the entire article. There are several things that come across
markedly in this article:

1. The Russian correspondent is much more worked up about this
event than the Ukrainian correspondent. Even with leading
questions, there is no anti-American or anti-international
adoption language or inference from the Ukrainian correspondent.

2. The father was jailed for the act and is still in jail. One of
the things that Russia pointed to and used to convince that
closing Russian adoptions to Americans was a good idea, is that
many of the cases of abuse or death of children adopted from
Russia had been either not prosecuted in the US, or the
perpetrators received what the Russian government considered
extremely light sentences. The Russians made the argument that
crimes against Russian adopted children in the US were not being

The Ukrainian correspondent markedly contrasts the situation with
Ukrainian foreign adoptions to that in Russia. He says, "unlike
in Russia, there is no adoption scandal in Ukraine." He states
that "among the Ukrainians there is a strong perception that
adopted kids have more chances for a better life out there in
foreign countries". And finally, when the Russian tries to get
him to voice how outraged the Ukrainian public and government is
about this event, he states "we are all aware that it is not like
in the US they are targeting Ukrainian or Russian adopted kids
only. You know, one child dies every three hours from gun
violence in the US. It is just horrible for the Americans and for
the Ukrainians here also."

Correct, the death of a child is horrible for all peoples. Thank
goodness, unlike Russia, Ukraine is not using this tragedy as a
diplomatic and political lever.

It seems the only ones trying to stir up outrage are the

Here is the article: Ukrainians outraged as US dad shoots adopted
Ukrainian boy

Voice of Russia:

Another child has been killed by his ""
target="_blank">American adopted parents
. Russian Embassy in
the US received a new signal earlier but it says that the
13-year-old, who was shot in the head by his adoptive father in
West Virginia, is not registered with the Russia's consulate.
Following an inquiry Russian diplomats determined that the victim
was actually adopted from the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Now the
Ukrainian Embassy and the US Department of State have been
informed about this incident right away.

For more on this incident we are now joined with the Voice of
Russia correspondent in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, and this
is Maxim Eristavi.

Maxim, thank you very much for joining me and welcome to the
program. So, please, give us the latest details on this case and
whether there was any reaction whatsoever from the Ukrainian
Embassy in Washington?

Hi guys! As you said we've become aware of this tragedy from the
Russian diplomats doing their investigation into the matter of
the American adopted kids from Russia. They've found out about a
murdered 13-year-old teen from Ukraine. Andrew Arthur Butler was
his name and originally he is from Donetsk. An old American
couple from Hedzhsvill West Virginia adopted him and his adoptive
father was 73 years at the moment of the incident.

So, what we know now? In June 2011 this adoptive American father
shot and killed the boy. It happened when he was trying to teach
the kid how to use a gun. And later the father admitted his
partial guilt but insisted that this was an unintentional murder.
Anyway, he has been in jail since then.

I see. Did we hear anything from the Ukrainian Embassy? Are
they looking into this issue? Have they contacted the police? Do
we know anything about that?

For now this news is just developing on newswires and there is no
official reaction from the Ukrainian officials, we don't have
this just yet. And of course you know this tragedy is horrifying,
but however, unlike in Russia, there is no adoption scandal in
Ukraine. The rate of foreign adoption here is three times smaller
than in Russia and only 10 000 adopted Ukrainian kids live in the

Surely there is no way that local officials can track the fate of
already adopted kids by foreigners and the representatives of
presidential administration officially admitted this I guess a
couple of days ago. But among the Ukrainians there is a strong
perception that adopted kids have more chances for a better life
out there in foreign countries because truly speaking the state
of local orphanage system is just horrible and kids are in a
constant state of malnutrition, I'm not even speaking about
dissent closed education or of psychological comfort.

Absolutely! Maxim, you are absolutely right, the story is
just developing, it is early morning right now in Washington and
we are well into our afternoon here in Europe. But I'm sure there
is a reaction with the public, some kind of an outrage because
people must have heard about this already in Kiev. Have you heard
anything? Are people saying anything about this already?

You know, it is just the same that I told you right now. So, I'm
looking into the comments under the news and what people are
saying in the social media. Of course there is an outrage. And
every death of every child is just horrible, but we are all aware
that it is not like in the US they are targeting Ukrainian or
Russian adopted kids only. You know, one child dies every three
hours from gun violence in the US. It is just horrible for the
Americans and for the Ukrainians here also.


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