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    Foreigners tend to adopt healthy Russian children - Russian MP

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    MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Russian MP told a press conference today that only about 2% of the Russian children adopted by foreigners are disabled.

    Yekaterina Lakhova, chairwoman of the State Duma committee on women, family and children, said that a vast majority (65%) of the Russian children adopted by foreigners were healthy or suffered from curable diseases, such as rachitis or anemia.

    Lakhova said that in December 2004 the State Duma (the Russian parliament's lower chamber) had extended the period of time during which adoption agencies could only search for Russian adoptive parents from two to six months. Agencies could only search abroad for adoptive parents after the expiry of the six-month period. This caused concern among agencies arranging international adoptions of Russian children.

    Lakhova said that there was no workable system in Russia to search for adoptive parents among Russian nationals.

    The MP said that since 1998 there had been a sharp rise in the number of Russian children adopted by foreigners in comparison with the number adopted by Russian families. In 2004, as many as 9,600 foreigners adopted Russian children, while Russians adopted just 7,400.

    Lakhova said that previously Russians had only been able to adopt if they had a fairly high income.

    "We have eliminated these obstacles," Lakhova said, adding that every adoption case is now heard in court.

    In a poll conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, almost one-third of the respondents (29%) said the main reason why they could not adopt was that they did not have a high enough income. More than one-third of those polled said they would adopt if they had more money.

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