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23 Feb, 2013 07:49

Brother of dead Russian adoptee to stay in Texas – US officials

Texas Child Protective Services say they have no plans to remove two-year-old Kirill Kuzmin from his adoptive family, US media reports. On Friday Russian lawmakers called on US Congress to facilitate the boy’s return to his country of birth.

Kirill is the brother of Maksim Kuzmin, who died several months after the two boys were adopted by the Shatto family in the US.

The incident immediately caused outrage across Russia as the initial report from Russia’s Children’s Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov alleged the boy was killed. Astakhov has recently withdrawn his initial accusations though, after US authorities issued an official report rejecting the Russian version of events surrounding the death of three-year-old Maksim.

The campaign to have Kirill returned to Russia, however, had enough time to gain momentum, with the State Duma the main driving force behind it.  

"That's nothing that we would consider at all,” said Patrick Crimmins, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, in an interview to CBS7.

He said they were investigating the Shatto family after Maksim’s death, and even if they ever found the boy was to be removed from his home they cannot send the boy back to Russia. “But we’re a state agency in Texas that operates under laws, under Texas state laws, and we wouldn’t be involved in doing anything other than placing that child within Texas."

Kirill’s biological Russian mother has also stated her desire to get her surviving son back. Yulia Kuzmina was stripped of her parental rights due to alcohol abuse in 2011. However, right after the death of her elder son in the US, she made a TV appearance where she promised to quit drinking and become a good mother.

That’s not going to be possible if the Shattos retain their parental rights. Even if they don’t, Yulia would still have to try and adopt her son.

"If it's a birth mom that gave up her rights at some point, she has a right to fill out the application and procedures just like any other individual would,” said Texas County Attorney Scott Layh, as cited by CBS7.

Russians are generally skeptical about Yulia Kuzmina being able to take care of her son Kirill. Especially following the news she was reportedly taken off the train on her way back to Pskov from a TV talk show in Moscow over a drunken brawl.

Meanwhile, a dozen other families in the country have expressed their desire to adopt the boy.