Childrearing

Woman Who ‘Sent Back’ Adoptive Russian Son Ordered To Pay $150,000 In Child Support

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It’s a story that sparked controversy and anger across the globe. This single choice made it more difficult for any American parent trying to adopt children overseas. It was a blockbuster case, mostly because the tale was so dramatic that it was almost unbelievable. Torry Hansen adopted young Artyom Saveliev from Russia when he was 6-years-old. A year later, she sent him back to Moscow, alone, with a note explaining, “After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child.”

Hansen and her family claimed that the young boy was violent and abusive. They say he threatened their family and suffered from mental health issues that they were unable to handle. They also seemed to misunderstand the meaning of “adoption.”

This case outraged so many because adoption is supposed to bringing a person into your family. It’s supposed to mean accepting a child as your own. There is no return policy on raising kids.

While criminal charges were never filed against Hansen in the United States, she was sued by the adoption agency involved in her case for child support of the young boy. The Russian authorities believed that Hansen’s actions could be considered neglect and abuse, and that she should’ve been charged for those offenses. While the case may not have worked out how the Russians desired, Torry Hansen will definitely be paying for her choice.

After multiple summons that Hansen never showed up for, she finally arrived in court last week to find that she owed $150,000 in child support for little Artyom. It looks like the cost is so high because the boy had to spend six weeks in a psychiatric hospital after his ordeal before he moved to live in a group home in Moscow.

Even in court on Friday, Hansen maintains that the little boy was violent and that she sent him back to Russia to try to protect her family. “Without going into depth, I can say he was very violent. I can say he wanted to kill me and he tried to kill my sister,”she said on the stand. Hansen also said that she called psychiatrists to try to help Artyom, but she was told that there was at least a six-week wait.

The story of Torry Hansen and her adoptive son led to a rash of other horror stories about adoptive children from Russia and Eastern Europe who violently turn against their parents. It was a disgusting stereotype based on a handful of actual accounts. Considering that at the time of Artyom’s adoption, Russian children were the third-highest in rates of international adoption to the United States, obviously there were many more families who never saw any problems and who developed close family relationships with their children. (Russia’s place on that list dropped after 2010 because they stopped allowing as many adoptions in the aftermath of this incident.)

Hopefully, now that Torry Hansen’s case has been decided and she will financially have to pay for the child that she abandoned, these stories will begin to dissipate. The majority of adoptions end up with happy, healthy families. The majority involves parents who welcome children into their home whole-heartedly. These stories of love and family are the ones that deserve the attention.

(Photo: Arkady/Shutterstock)