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Diplomacy may be complex facet of international adoptions

The desire to love and raise a child to flourishing adulthood is one shared by many adults. Not all are able to see those desires fulfilled by natural processes so they turn to adoption, often on an international scale. Texas attorneys experienced in family law know that adoptions that cross national boundaries to create families can bring with them special, unexpected complexities that require ongoing legal counsel.

Take the case of a couple in Ector County, Texas. They adopted a boy and his younger half-brother from Russia. This past January, the older boy died unexpectedly, apparently while playing in the family yard with his younger brother. He was three years old. The mother told officials that she found him unresponsive and called for help. He died a short time later at the hospital.

After what seems to have been a fairly exhaustive investigation, authorities determined the child died of accidental causes. Bruises on the body that were noted during a preliminary autopsy were described by officials as apparently self inflicted. And, based on a grand jury determination, prosecutors have decided not to charge the parents.

That hasn't prevented Russian officials from speaking out about the case. They have been very public about blaming the parents for the child's death. Indeed, they have opened their own investigation into his death, though it's not clear that any results could result in any prosecution. The younger child is still with his adoptive parents.

Still, Russian officials have used this case and others to justify their decision to ban further adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens. They claim that of some 60,000 adoptions of Russian children in the last 20 years, many have resulted in reports of abuse and at least 20 children have died. Coloring the rhetoric behind the ban is the fact that it was enacted after the U.S. passed a law aimed at trying to curb alleged human rights violations in Russia.

The whole fracas has prompted calls from officials in the U.S. and Russia, as well as adoption advocates, for caution and calm.

Source: CBS News, "Texas couple won't be charged over adopted Russian tot's death," The Associated Press, March 18, 2013

  • Issues related to adoption represent areas of focus for our practice. Readers interested in learning more about our firm may wish to visit our Dallas adoption page.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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