A little over 2 1/2 years ago I wrote Forever Family, Forever Dead, about the 12 Russian adoptees murdered by their forever families in the US. Since then the entry has received thousands of hits including those from the US Senate, House, federal courts, and the media.
Tragically, we have a 13th death to add to the list: Nicoli Emelyantsev,14 months old. Kolya died on March 7 of a fractured skull caused by blunt force trauma. Kolya had Down Syndrome.

Kolya had been voluntarily relinquished by his parents in hope of a better life in the US. His mother visited him weekly until his departure to the US and had wanted to stay in contact with his new family. Kolya’s adoptive mother, Kimberly Emelyantsev has been charged with 1st degree felony murder and is being held on $500,000 cash bond. His adoptive father, Fyodor Emelyantsev, a Russian citizen, is under investigation for child abuse and neglect after doctors determined another son, Luka, 4, adopted from Russia in December 2007, was suffering from malnutrition and dehydration. Luka also has Down Syndrome. Emelyantsev also has a 10-year old daughter with Down Syndrome and is trained in handling disabled persons. He works as an RN in a Tooele, Utah-area nursing home.

Kolya was adopted in February 11. (scroll down) He didn’t even last a month.

I have added Kolya to Forever Family Forever Dead and updated several other cases. The wrist smacking that forever family killers generally get is alarming.


  1. I’ve been lurking on your blog for some time and I applaud and admire your work on behalf of adopted persons. I’m sorry that my first comment is to disagree with you…
    However, I think it is incorrect to make these murders about adoption. The murders you highlight became news because they involved children who were adopted. But these children were not murdered because they were adopted. They were killed because the parents have something horribly wrong with them.
    It is horrific that these children are killed by the people who are supposed to love them and to whom they were entrusted. But child murder is a symptom of something very wrong in certain members of humanity and unfortunately it is frighteningly common. Murder is still one of the leading causes of death for children under age 5 and they are overwhelmingly killed by their parents.
    The neglect, abuse and murder of children is a wide-spread, horrendous social disease that exists in families of all types – blended, adoptive and biological – crossing socio-economic, racial and cultural boundaries.

  2. Janice – I understand what you’re saying and I agree up to a point. The concept of “Forever Family Forever Dead” is that these parents were supposedly screened prior to adopting children. You don’t need a gaggle of social workers to approve your pregnancy – so parents can and do murder their biological children. The point here is these children, possibly abused and neglected before adoption, were relinquished in order to give them “a better life”.

  3. Marley,

    Keep up the good work on these cases of adoptee’s being murdered..far to many.

    These babies and children..placed
    in these “forever” families and then murdered need the media’s attention. Of course the media doesn’t cover adoption related it would be bad for the adoption business here in U.S. or in any other country paps are scouring for babies…

    These nuts need more than home study tests. They need to be taken to a shrink and find out exactly what makes them adopt in the first place and then kill when they get to adopt. A better life..what a joke.

  4. No, these children were not murdered because they were adopted, nor are most adopted children mistreated. But any screening at all should be able to weed out and disqualify from adoptions persons so mentally unfit that they would abuse and murder children placed with them. That should be the very minimum of pre-adoptive screening. That any of these “horribly wrong” people are allowed to adopt shows that the system is corrupt and is not working.

    The point, as another poster said, is not that biological parents do not murder and abuse their children; they do. Children are not always better off with biological parents. But biological parents are not screened in any way before they get children. The autorities do not step in or evaluate them until after the fact.

    Adoption is supposed to offer children a BETTER life, with parents that have been studied and approved, and adoption workers are supposed to weed out the obvious very bad apples, like abusers and pedophiles. This is not happening, or we would not be hearing about murders and abuse of adopted children.

  5. Thanks for writing, Janice.

    Iagree with you that these kids were not killed because they were adopted…but as others have pointed out, the whole issue is adoption industry accountability and responsibility. And once they have the money, they can run. Unless, of course, they can operate a lucrative re-homing program and squeeze more money out of a kid.

    I’ve written quite a bit about Masha Allen’s case and you can find more on Jamie Marsh’s ChildLaw blog (linked in my Blog Roll. Masha’s case is the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

    The US industry, especially international adoption, is unregulated (despite the new Hague regs) and and corrupt. Children are trafficked daily for all sorts of reasons: adoption, child labor, sex trade, and as the BBC wrote the other day–government benefits. Home studies are a joke, and anybody with a big enough checkbook can acquire a kid, including those people with something horribly wrong with them.

    I think we’re on the same wavelength on this Janice, but looking at it from different angles.

    Please do stick around!

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