MORE RUSSIAN REACTION
I still can find no official statement regarding the Harrison verdict on the Russian Embassy or the Foreign Ministry pages.
A press release from the Ministry of Education and Science is now on the ministry's English-language page:
The justificatory verdict casts doubt on effectiveness and reliability of the protection of adopted children's rights system in the USA and will result in toughening the requirements to Russian children's adoption by USA citizens. We must be sure that our children's rights are entirely protected in this country; and if a tragic incident happens, even because of an action by accident, severe punishment will be inevitable", - stressed A. Levitskaya.
WUVR: Voice of Russia Broadcasting (English)
December 18, 2008 (English)
US Adoption System in Need of Review
The Virginia Court’s decision went virtually unnoticed in the US media, but it was give high prominence in Russia’s media which overwhelmingly deplored the court’s ruling... This horrible case prompts obvious questions. How could a grow-up person believed to be in his right mind could be so careless as to leave an infant in mortal danger even for a minute? And if the man isn’t in his right mind, how was it possible for his family to adopt a child in the first place?
Russia Today (English)
December 18, 2008
Moscow outraged over adopted Russian boy manslaughter
Russian Foreign Ministry says it's outraged by the decision to clear Miles Harrison, who left the baby in a car during blazing summer heat.
Due to spacing problems, I am posting the English-language video news report that goes with this article at the bottom of this entry.
MORE AMERICAN RESPONSE
Over at the Washington Post there's a civilized discussion about Marc Fisher's column Why Was Father of Who Killed Son in Car Acquitted? AND a survey on the verdict. As I write this, only 51% disagree with Judge Ney and the acquittal.
As much as the father has suffered, and as much as he proved in court that he truly did love and adore that boy, Judge Terrence Ney's decision unjustly fails to hold Harrison accountable for his negligence. Just because someone who does wrong feels terribly about his misdeed does not absolve the justice system of its responsibility to hold all of us to a standard of decent behavior... and
It's hard for me to see how anyone, parent or not, could conclude that leaving a child unattended for a full day in a steamy hot car--essentially forgetting about the existence of the life that you have been entrusted with protecting and cherishing--could be chalked up to accident.
Outrageous, but not surprising. Take this scenario and change the economic circumstances of the parents to poor or working class. Or change the social characteristics to or black. There would have been a different decision. Judges don't like to punish people who they perceive as good, except for one 'mistake.' The law is interpreted favorably for the 'right' kind of people. The 'wrong' kind of people know this, which explains their low opinion of and trust in the justice system.
IT'S ABOUT ADOPTION
Finally, Baby Love Child has written a tremendously important blog on why the Harrison case IS about adoption: Dmitry's Death and Miles Harrison's Acquittal, Part II, The American Reaction. . Part 3 just went up, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.
She has quoted part of it in her comment posted on my previous blog, but I want to put an excerpt here:
...the American audience fails to understand the important responsibilities an adoptive couple take on when they sign on to adopting a child. Perhaps the primary difference between a child in an adoptive situation and children born to their parents is that adoptive families are on some level (allegedly at least) vetted. They have agreed to take on the task of raising a child that is not biologically their own. They have had to prove that they will make “fit” parents to the child that will eventually come to be placed with them. When they sign the adoption papers, they have intentionally taken on the responsibility for that child. Add in the international adoption component, in the case of Russian adoptees, they retain their Russian citizenship, and what you have is essentially, an American couple that has jumped through enough hoops as to agree to take on not only raising a child who is not their own flesh and blood, but is additionally a citizen of another country. This carries with it many responsibilities, above and beyond what biological parents face. Be that reporting obligations back to the country of origin, or obligations to be attentive, and to provide safety and security. Adoptive parents sign their names to promises pertaining to the ongoing disposition and welfare of the child they are adopting.
It is clear that Moscow isn't happy and intends to take a hard line on this judicial miscarriage. The Russian government and the media are watching and reporting on the case carefully including the apparent non-interest outside the Beltway. (Obviously, if the Harrisons had lived somewhere else and weren't Washington Somebodies, WDC wouldn't be paying much attention either. (ex: The recent Emelyantsev case in Utah). I expect to see repercussions from this American folly that go way beyond adoption. US officials have used international adoption in the past as leverage to push other countries around, but this time, they might just get a kick in the pants back.
By the way, there has been no comment from European Adoption Consultants, who handled the adoptions of Chase and Logan Higginbotham (scroll down) and who ended up dead when her forever mother cracked her skull open on a bedroom wall.l But they sure have been reading what I have to say about them.
ADDENDA: December 20, 6:30 PM: I no sooner posted this entry when a story from WJLA-TV came through, Adoptive Parents Worry After Loudon Man is Acquitted in Son's Death. It should be titled Adoption Industry and Adoptive Parents Worry... The usual ME ME ME with absolutely no comprehension of what went down at Fairfax Courthouse or a care for Dima. The article has a link to the video, which has much more impact than the written story.
Russia Today Video: