A yearly get-together for the hundreds of U.S. families, which have adopted children from Russia, will take place in the Russian Embassy in Washington on Saturday, an embassy representative said.
"Every year, Russian foster children in the United States, together with their foster parents, come to the embassy to keep up their cultural connections, meet up with old friends and make new ones," the source said, adding that over 300 people were expected at this year's gathering from states as far away states as Utah.
Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak will open the celebrations, which include Russian folk songs and dances.
Russia is one of the biggest sources of adoptions to the United States, but the issue has become controversial in Russia in recent years, following numerous incidents involving the mistreatment of Russian foster children in the United States. In the latest case, a U.S. woman sent her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia claiming he was "psychopathic."
Artyom, adopted in September and renamed Justin, flew in to Moscow on April 8 alone after being accompanied to the plane in the United States by his adoptive grandmother. He brought a note in which his adoptive mother said she would not take care of him any longer because he is "mentally unstable."
The activities of the U.S. adoption agency World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP) that assisted in the adoption of Artyom have been suspended in Russia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on April 9 that Russia could freeze child adoptions by U.S. citizens until the countries sign an intergovernmental agreement on adoptions following the Artyom case.
A U.S. government spokesman reported on Friday that a delegation of U.S. Department of State officials would set off for talks on child adoption rules in Moscow this weekend.
He said talks would take place in the U.S. embassy on Sunday and meetings would be held with Russian officials on Monday and Tuesday.
The U.S. delegation includes representatives from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. The spokesman said the delegation was aiming to improve the adoption process, not discontinue it.
"We will be looking for ways to work with Russia to strengthen our understandings and arrangements for the continued adoption of American children by loving American families," Philip Crowley said.
WASHINGTON, April 17 (RIA Novosti)