US Mother Ships Adopted Boy Back to Russia
Updated: 3 hours 19 minutes ago
(April 9) -- Russia's foreign minister said the country should freeze adoptions with U.S. families after a 7-year-old Russian boy was shipped back to Moscow on a one-way flight by his adoptive mother in Tennessee.
"I no longer want to parent this child," read a note that his adoptive mother, Torry Ann Hansen, had given the blond boy for his United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C., to Moscow, along with some cookies and a coloring pen in his backpack. "He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues/behaviors."
Artyom Savelyev, who was adopted last year from a Siberian orphanage, was met by an unidentified man, whom his adoptive grandmother told The Associated Press she had hired for $200. The man brought him to the Russian Science and Education Ministry building.
Rossia 1 Television Channel / AP
Artyom Savelyev, 7, gets into a minivan in Moscow on Thursday. He had been put on a flight to Russia after his adopted American mother balked at keeping him.
Russian officials said the boy is now undergoing a routine check-up in a Moscow hospital and would be placed in another orphanage. The Daily Mail reported that he was the biological son of an alcoholic mother and was taken from her when he was 6 because of her drinking problem.
On Russian television, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the boy's return "the last straw" after a series of Russian orphans abused or mistreated by their adoptive American parents.
Russia has already become wary of U.S. adoptions after several highly publicized criminal cases. Peggy Sue Hilt of Manassas, Va., was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2006 after being convicted of fatally beating a 2-year-old girl she adopted from Siberia. In 2008, Kimberly Emelyantsev of Tooele, Utah, was sentenced to 15 years after pleading guilty to killing a Russian infant in her care.
Lavrov said an agreement regarding new terms and conditions must be drawn up between the two countries before any more adoptions take place.
"We have taken the decision ... to suggest a freeze on any adoptions to American families until Russia and the USA sign an international agreement," Lavrov said.
John Beyrle, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, said he was "deeply shocked" and "very angry that any family would act so callously toward a child they had legally adopted."
The Daily Mail quoted a Russian official saying the U.S. consul could not have access to the child,
adding, "If his American parent kicked out him from the country on a plane like a sack of potatoes, then we will look after the boy."
The child, whose adoptive name was Justin, was carrying a letter from his adoptive mother, Hansen, reportedly a single, 34-year-old nurse who also has a biological son.
The letter -- addressed "to whom it may concern" at the Russian Ministry of Education in Moscow -- said: "After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the sake of my family, friends and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child.
"As he is a Russian national, I am returning him to your guardianship and would like the adoption disannulled," the letter said.
In the letter, Hansen accused officials at the Russian orphanage where the boy lived of not telling her the truth about him. "The child is mentally unstable," she said. "I was lied to and misled by the Russian orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues. The orphanage employees were definitely aware of the major problems that this child has. Yet they chose to grossly misrepresent those problems, in order to get him out of their orphanage."
Russian social service officials told the Daily Mail that the boy was only a "little stubborn" and his only disability was that he has flat feet. They also reported that the child claimed his mother was "bad" and "didn't love him" and used to pull his hair.
"It's an unfortunate situation for both Russia and the U.S.," Zamir Gotta, a Moscow-based media consultant, told AOL News today.
"Every day you hear on the news in Russia about some very young mother leaving her baby in the garbage or something. There is a real need for adoptive families. At the same time, there is something that doesn't work right with the adoption system here. You can't just blame the U.S. There need to be more checks and balances put in place in Russia so adoptive parents get a clearer picture of the kind of child they are adopting."
Joyce Sterkel, director of the Ranch for Kids
, a Montana facility that caters to troubled Russian adoptees, says she has taken in hundreds of Russian adoptees with severe fetal alcohol syndrome and attachment disorders. "Let's stop demonizing this mother," she said. "These kids are really sick, and there's no magic number you can call for cases like this."
A spokesperson of the Bedford County, Tenn., Sheriff's Department said that while no charges have been filed against Hansen, an investigation is under way and she has agreed to meet with law enforcement officials next week.