Alex Pavlis
Born as Alex Geiko 
 - December 19, 2003
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Having been taken away from his birth parents at only 20 months old due to alcoholism and child neglect, Alex Geiko lived in an orphanage in Russia, for almost five years before he was considered, by his friends, to be lucky enough to get adopted by an American couple. Alex would have his named changed to Alex Pavlis and he was moving to America with his five year old sister Alexei.

In 1995, Dino and Irma were married. The couple suffered through two miscarriages before making the decision to adopt. In 2003 they saw a photo of a child on an adoption website. Overwhelmed by the $20,000. fee it would cost to adopt him, the couple decided to use and independent adoption agency. After spending $11,000. and after  several trips to Siberia, they brought home Alex and Alexei Geiko, in November of 2003.

Dino and Irma Pavlis would adopt Alex and his five year old sister, Alexei and take them to America to live. Less than two months later, Alex was dead at the hands of his adoptive mother. Irma claimed that Alex was a difficult child who was not able to use the bathroom problem and often soiled himself. She also claimed he hit his own 
head on walls and floors. 

Irma said that Alex would become violent and throw himself against the wall and bang his head on the floor. She said she didn't know how to deal with his outbreaks and didn't want to ask for help because she was afraid Alex and Alexei would be taken away from her.

On December 18, 2003, Irma called 911 and told them that Alex was not breathing. Alex died on December 19, 2003. Upon his death, Alex had 32 bruises, scars and cuts on his body. Reports would indicate that he MIGHT have given the injuries to himself. Irma Pavlis was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the beating death of Alex. During her trial she would claim that she loved Alex, but, she stated that he was mentally unstable and at times he was even suicidal.

A taped interview, played in court, had Irma admitting to hitting Alex in the stomach and slapping him on the face. Shannon Lynch, Irma's attorney said that she had to discipline Alex, but, said that his brain injuries and his bizarre behavior were brought on by fetal alcohol syndrome due to his mothers abuse of alcohol during her pregnancy.
Before she was sentenced, Irma had some advice for other parents who were considering adoption, she said they should seek as much information as they could about the children they were planning to adopt:

 "If anything, learn from what happened to me,"

Judge Thomas Fecarotta said that while he believed Irma was sorry for what happened to Alex, she was unwilling to accept that she was responsible for his death. She was trying to put the blame on the adoption agency for not disclosing the full extent of the problems Alex had. Irma received a short sentence of only 12 years for beating Alex to death. She would be eligible for parole in 2009. The sister of Alex, Alexei was removed from the home and placed in foster care. Dino Pavlis was not charged with anything in this case.

The case of Alex Pavlis would continue, though, in America and in Russia. In late 1980, Russia was going through massive political and social reform and the numbers of orphaned children doubled. Foreign people were all of a sudden allowed to adopt these children due to the boarders being opened up.  In 2004, 5,865 children were adopted out of Russia by American families, this equates to about 1% of the children adopted there.

The justified disgust over Alex's death caused the Government of Russia to take a closer look at allowing American's to adopt children from Russia. Alex's case was NOT the first case of a Russian child coming to America and then dying at the hands of adoptive parents. Politicians are saying that foreign adoptions are taking away Russia's most precious resource, the children. Politicians were considering limiting the number of American's who were able to adopt children from Russia.

"What is being called for in response to this is a shutdown, a moratorium, which would result
in children without families"
Thomas Atwood, President 
National Council for Adoption. 

A proposal was brought before the Russian Government by General Vladimire Ustinov on May 5th. He wanted agreements to made with countries of those citizens wishing to adopt Russian children. The agreement would include keeping track of all children adopted out of Russia and brought overseas and the right to take action against the families if the children would be abused by their new parents.

Natasha Shaginian-Needham who is the founder of the New York 
adoption agency Happy Families International Center said that if the
new measures were ever put into place, foreign adoptions would stop

"There is no way the United States will give Russia control over their adopted children once t
hey are in America" 

Since 1991, about 43,000 Russian children have been adopted by American families. Of those 43,000, 12 children have died at the by the hand of their adoptive parent:

"Death could happen with biological or adopted children. Child abuse happens everywhere 
and it's very hard to predict." 

Advocates for adoption say that the success of adoptions out number the deaths and that almost anything is better than the children who remain parents. Homeless orphans in Russia commit suicide at the rate of about one in every three, according to an international group called Kidsave which has an office in Moscow.

The President of Kidsave, Terry Baugh said the proposed agreement aren't even necessary because a multilateral protection agreement is already in place called the Hague Adoption Convention. Russia has licensed agencies that demand post adoption placement reports which happen twice the first yea and once for two years after. The reports are filed by a social worker who monitors the children after they go to their American homes. Terry feels that the adoptive parents need more education about the children before bringing them home: 

"Families are so eager for blond-haired, blue-eyed kids they don't really listen to the training,"

Natasha Shaginian said that children coming from orphanages or foster homes have already been through neglect and abuse of some kind and that brings on a range of problems. Natasha doesn't feel that Russia should bar foreign adoptions:

"There's still a stigma about adoption in Russia, not to mention adopting disabled kids," 

Due to salary and housing requirements, it is hard for Russians who want to adopt these children, to do so. Natasha believes that Russian children would be unfairly penalized by the efforts of the Government to make it mandatory that children remain in the regional databank for eight months instead of the three months now required. This is the time they must wait to be put in the intentional data base of children waiting to be adopted.

Terry Baugh says her agency Kidsave is trying to adopt more children from Russia into Russian homes:

"We are trying to move more kids into Russian families and get laws changed,"

Terry suggests adoption incentives and easing up on restrictions of Russians trying to adopt children. Another suggestion was for the prospective parents and the orphans to be able to meet and get to know each other before they actually become a family.

"Once people meet these kids, they fall in love and stay connected. And that's what these kids need."


Today is June 13, 2014 and while searching for information about Alex's case, I found that Irma had been paroled in 2008.

Death occurred in the state of Illinois

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