Russian Adoption Ethics: No Returns

Fifteen years ago, my wife and I flew to Moscow to adopt our son. It was the best thing we ever have or ever will do, but it was harrowing: we were rushed through the process along with four other couples at fugitive speed, because Boris Yeltsin’s government was about to shut down foreign adoptions any day. The whole experience felt like a spy movie, being pushed into black cars driven by strangers, watching bribes take place, and racing from building to building, from doctors to mysteriously grim bureaucrats. We got our son his passport at the American Embassy just as word arrived that foreign adoptions in Russia would be suspended for months.

Now adoptions by Americans in Russia have been suspended again, not just because, as was the case in 1995, Russia’s inability to find native parents for its own children is a national embarrassment, but because of a horrific act of betrayal by an American family. Justin Hansen, 7-years-old, arrived in Moscow alone, carrying a note from the woman who had adopted him to Russian authorities, reading,

“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.”

That was enough for the Russians, and I don’t blame them.

The mother, Torry Ann Hansen, also listed her reasons in the note to the Russian authorities. The boy was violent, she said, and severely disturbed. She was lied to, she protested, by the orphanage workers.

These things may all be true; probably they are. Many Russian orphans have increasingly serious emotional and psychological problems the longer they stay in the institutions.  Russian orphanages are sad, heart-breaking places, overcrowded with beautiful children who desperately want to go home with every visitor. The people who run them are heroes, every one: they treat the children lovingly, and will do and say anything—anything—to place as many children as possible in loving homes across the ocean. If you have come for one child, they will produce his brother, or three, and ask if you really, really want to break up a family. Sometimes, it may not even really be a brother, but the kids know how to play along, because they want out. My wife and I were giving a tour of the orphanage, and I had to break it off. “Let’s get our baby out of here now, or I’m going to crack and adopt ten kids,” I said. I was in tears. I still have nightmares about that tour, and guilt that I couldn’t (wouldn’t?) save more children from the miserable existence facing them.

It doesn’t matter if Torry Hanson was lied to, or how difficult her son was. Adoption is a one-way transaction, as much as birth. You can’t ship your child back via stork because she isn’t perfect, and you can’t ship your adopted child back to Russia because he is making your life a living hell. This is your child, completely, and there is no receipt. You have assumed the greatest, most challenging relationship of trust there is, and you are in for the ride of your life. There is no getting off, because your child trusts you absolutely.

Sending an innocent child back to the orphanage, like he was a defective toaster returned to Walmart, is the ultimate betrayal, as unforgivable as treason, and far, far worse than adultery. A child who, in Justin’s case (his Russian name had been Artyom), was neglected by his alcoholic mother and taken by the state, sent to an orphanage and given to an American mother, has been rejected again and abandoned. I cannot imagine what this would do to a child. I cannot imagine allowing anyone’s child to endure this, least of all my own.

Her son was making her life impossible. She couldn’t handle the stress; she looked into the future and saw only problems. Check: I understand. I empathize with Mrs. Hanson completely, for we knew when we adopted our son that this was a possible scenario. Again, it doesn’t matter. Sending an adopted child back to Russia is not an option, because it is absolutely wrong, like murder, like torture, like sacrificing one human being to save another. Never. Absolutely never. Nothing can ever justify treating a child—your own child— like that.

There may be other villains in this story, notably Hanson’s adoption agency, which seemingly did not do a very good job vetting Hanson’s adoption application. Russian authorities also have long-standing problems in their system. When we were in Moscow, the policy was that only “damaged” children could be adopted by foreigners, so the Russian doctors falsely certified that healthy babies had terrible deformities and maladies to get them out of the orphanage. When the policy was changed,  healthy children could be adopted (meaning that few parents will accept unhealthy ones), so orphanage staff sometimes try to send the “unadoptable,” unhealthy children to American homes by getting false certifications.

Nevertheless, it should not matter how one’s child arrives, whether from a wild moment in the back of a ’98 Chevy van, a sperm bank donor, or an adoption. Your child, always, no turning back.

The rejection of her son by Hanson and the shockingly cold manner in which she did it, putting a seven-year-old on an international flight alone, also has had predictable consequences that will harm countless others. The New York Times interviewed one devastated couple whose adoption efforts were cut short just as they were on the verge of adopting a Russian child. Hanson’s mistreatment of her son may doom hundreds or even thousands of Russian children to years in orphanages, and block many Americans who could give them love, good homes and a bright future  from doing so.  More than 50,000 Russian orphans have become American citizens since 1991.

The ethical, moral and primal conclusion here should not be in question. Your child is your child, for good or ill, forever. Those who cannot make that commitment should not reproduce or adopt.

It really is that simple.

_____________________________

Note: The wonderfully named website O Solo Mama currently is featuring a discussion of the many facets of this case, as well as links to useful articles and scholarly works on the problems of international adoption.

133 thoughts on “Russian Adoption Ethics: No Returns

  1. My wife and I read this story a day or so ago and were amazed. Do people really expect to adopt a child from another country and for them to have no issues, and just plug them into the family?
    OK, so I doubt the “mother” (I use the term very loosely here) thought that there would be no issues, probably just minor ones. In this situation we have a seven year old child that is trying to learn a new language, adapt to a new culture, deal with new family, a new school system, and oh by the way his new “mother” renamed him Justin. He had been Artyom for seven years. With all the this child had to deal with, from the little bit I have read I am not sure the mother respected the child at all. I do not mean that the mother had to treat Artyom as an equal, but surely she could have treated him as a human being. Yet she apparently did not.
    This woman has clearly not lived up to her name. Hanson (or Hansen as they spell it) literally means son of Hans. Hans is originally from Hebrew (transmitted through Greek, Latin, and into the European languages) meaning “the LORD is gracious.” She had the child in her home for less than a year. Grace is not a word I would associate with her.

    If she is to be given an award, I have one to recommend: free room and board paid for by the state of Tennessee.

      • I haven’t heard of any charges yet, but even if they do come down, I expect it might be nearly impossible to obtain a conviction because then the child’s problems will come into the courtroom as evidence to substantiate the return of the child.

        • Michelle. Please listen. Nothing…
          N-O-T-H-I-N-G legally excuses a parent from shipping their child away. You may have a bizarre belief that this is a fair commercial response, but the law does not.

          • What charges have been leveled against the mother? None? Must not be against the Law as you claim. While some weak people may think it is morally not suitable to them, I support what the temporary-adoptive-mother did by sending this trash-of-a-child back to Russia. But, that may be because I understand Law and Psychology and don’t base my opinions on emotions and tabloid television.

            • Plus, it wasn’t her child as you claim. It was an adoptive child. Huge difference. Her role was not to be the mother because she could never be the child’s mother. The child’s mother lives in Russia. What she can be by purchasing the child is to be only an adoptive mother.

            • “Trash-of-a-child!” This is great stuff—he’s the Anti-Christ! See, if only Gregory Peck and Lee Remick had been as quick to figure this out and get the little killer-demon on a plane back to Italy, we would have been spared those lousy sequels! Of course, this mother probably saw the movie, and maybe even had a picture of herself showing a dark slash across her throat, or something. Or maybe when the kid’s babysitter hung herself at the birthday party—has that been in any of the reports? I just bet it was, but the Satan-Spawn minions erased it! Yeah, sure—I bet that’s what happened! And pretty soon, stories will be coming out of Russia–you watch— about baboons attacking cars and Russian Orthodox priests getting skewered and the kid visiting a jackal on Mother’s Day. Michelle knows what I’m talking about.

              • Didn’t realize this child is the “Anti Christ” or as bad as you claim. Bravo again for his return. “Little killer-demon”? Who did he kill? I thought he was just a threat, didn’t realize this child actually killed someone as you claim, saw no reference in anything so far on this child indicating he killed before. Is that why he was up for adoption? Cause he killed someone already? Luckily, the adoptive-mother sent this trashbag back where it belongs. Praise the Lord!

                • trashbag? You can actually speak of a child who has endured such a tough beginning to a life as a “trashbag” and follow it with “praise the Lord?”
                  What, we’re all God’s children ONLY if we’re born in the good ole’ USA? I’ll bet you have a “honor life” or other trite bumper sticker on your car too. In all your infinite knowledge of Psychology which you cite, does healing ever occur? If so, I’d suggest you find a good therapist to discuss your sociopathic tendencies.
                  Idiot.

      • I do not pretend to know the law of Tennessee (or is this Federal law?), but this strikes me as child abandonment. By the mothers admission, Artyom had emotional issues and should not have been left to fly from Washington state to Moscow by himself. To me, a stewardess is not an acceptable supervisor for a seven year old with emotional issues.

          • “Reckless endangerment, risk of injury to a minor”?Doesn’t appear to have been actions taken toward that child because if there was any of that, there would have been charges filed. 🙂

      • By the way, thanks for adopting internationally. My wife and I hope to adopt sometime after I graduate and save up some money. It is always good to hear of others that try to make a difference for the least fortunate among us.
        I am just learning about the issues of adopting in America that you mentioned regarding the birth parents.
        The more I learn, the more it seems like the decked is stacked against those that want to adopt.

  2. The “mother” that adopted this problem child didn’t get what she requested from Russia. Good for her she sent him back to Russia. The child’s lucky that was all he got for all the crap he caused or could have caused. “Nice to meet ya kid, now back home since you can’t mind.” The “mother” should receive a medal for what she did in returning him, he wouldn’t have gotten that much from me. 🙂

  3. My family and I have been in this adoption process for over 2 years now. We had a few set backs when the military shipped us overseas. We needed an entire new home study and a ton of updated paperwork. Our Pre-court file reached the Ministry of Education in Russia last week…next in line for a referral!
    Low and behold, this happens leaving us in adoption limbo. Now what? I suppose that depends on Russian Officials, for truly there is nothing we can do but wait… or quit.

    Our child, the little guy we know nothing about (behavioral issues and all) is worth fighting for. He is worth all the time, energy, and resources o bring him home. Until then, I will play with my other two children who often ask when their little brother is coming home. And pray that a swift yet fair resolution is brought to the table.

    It is a shame really that so little attention is given to the successful US adoptions. There are so many wonderful stories that should be taken into consideration before Russia closes its doors to us. However, it is not my decision. One Russian child harmed by a US citizen (or anyone by that matter) is one too many.
    Adoption is not right for everyone. But I will say it is a good thing. For those of you considering it, research your country of origin, your adoption agency, your home study agency, and all your local adoption aid groups. Just in case the transition of your new family member is more difficult than you thought, you will be prepared.

    • We have had wonderful experience, as have all the couples who were with us in Russia. There are far, far more success stories than nightmares, though media reports would have it the other way. Every foreign adoption is a life enhanced or saved.

    • Good luck to you…. It has been the best thing we’ve ever done.
      When we were in Russia adopting our son about three years ago, there had been a recent case where a child who had been adopted from Russia 7 or so years earlier was beaten to death by an adoptive parent. It was a very big deal in the Russian media. Our translator knew of a recent study, perhaps triggered by this tragedy, or simply coincidental, that revealed very shocking numbers of Russian children killed by their parents each year.

      The Duma was threatening to shut down international adoptions, after recently re-opening them, and re-certifying each adoption agency operating in Russia.

      Having a biological child after our adoption revealed something about our introduction to parenthood you might find worth noting:
      If you don’t have children, and are adopting, your life is the “same as it ever was” up until the day you take custody of your child. Then it changes. Very abruptly.
      Contrasting that to our experience with pregnancy, my wife slowed down gradually, our lives changed slowly and gradually, accommodating her. By the time our second child arrived, we were used to not going anywhere or doing anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.
      The abruptness of the life change took some getting used to.
      Again, good luck. I hope for your sake and the sake of all the children awaiting loving homes that Russian officials take appropriate action against one adoption agency responsible for not vetting one parent, and allow the other children to find their homes.

  4. I suspect michelle is an adoptee whose point of view may come from personal experience. If I’m incorrect, Michelle, please accept my apologies. However, if I am correct, I would be more interested in hearing you are so vehemently in favor of Torri Hansen’s actions.

    “It is always good to hear of others that try to make a difference for the least fortunate among us.”

    The vast majority of people who adopt, internationally or domestically, do so because they want a child. Other factors, like the desire to help a child in need of help, might factor into a decision to adopt or influence the decision to adopt from a particular country, but underneath it all is the desire to have a child.

    When people adopt for “savior” motives, if they don’t have an equally strong desire to be really good parents and put their children first, the outcome is seldom good for the child or parents.

    • Yes, Margie, you are not correct. My comments are based upon facts, Law, and Psychology, not upon emotions like many that disagree don’t appear to understand. I still commend the return of that child; smart move before more damage or the loss of life is achieved by that disturbed child.

      • I agree—you have to want a child. You don’t have children as charitable exercise. But choosing adoption because it fills the need for a child AND reduces the number of parentless children by one is common, and I would say, both logical and kind.

      • Apologies for misinterpreting your point of view, michelle. You are indeed fascinating; I was momentarily blinded by the vehemence of your opinions, and presumed you to be someone with a personal connection to adoption.

        In spite of my error, I would be interested in your psychological diagnosis of this little boy. It must be a serious disease indeed to put a seven-year-old child not just beyond treatment, but into the realm of worthless object.

        Also, please share the laws and/or precedents upon which you base your legal opinions.

        Facts only please.

      • God u need a clue!
        And stop lyin- you know NOTHING about Law and Psychology. This is another one of your fantasies.

        Please get professional help. PLEASE!

  5. “But choosing adoption because it fills the need for a child AND reduces the number of parentless children by one is common, and I would say, both logical and kind.”

    I agree with that when the child truly has no family. But the demand for children has pushed individuals, agencies and even governments to push that envelope to the limit. Many orphans aren’t, and that is an area of ethics that deserves a lot more attention than it gets, in my opinion.

      • Indeed. It almost always means “logical and kind,” however. There are six verified situations in which “logical and kind” is INcorrect, meaning that “illogical and cruel” mean “correct.” Two of these are trick answers, in that they involve foreign languages, and one applies to a particular ritual performed by certain tropical fish. One was last encountered by actress Ethel Barrymore, right before her second act entrance in the 1933 Broadway flop “The Yam’s Undoing,” one occurred during the Great Molasses Disaster, and one is the basis of a national holiday in Borneo. Can you name them? The clock is running…I’ll give you a hint: “Muskrats.” There, I’ve practically given it away.

    • When you adopt from another country sometimes there are not any support systems in your area. What this women did was wrong but we do not know what happened in her home to make her lose it. Did she know where to get help from? Were agencies made available. I got help when my son started stealing, a policeman told me where to get help, the school did not have any ideas.(The village is one place, look under mental health and see, there needs to be more supports systems in place for the parents to go get help for the children.)

      We adopted from russia and we were lucky enough to find some support systems here. One of our children is bi-polar and fetal alcohol and has many issues, but we were able to get help for him and he is doing well. He also was playing with fire, stealing and lying about the teachers and students and it was hard to tell he was lying. He was very believeable. Both their parents were alcoholics also he had implusivity,

      But if you do not have any agencies there to help you with a child with mental heath issues it is very stressful. You do the best you can, but most of us are not trained in the mental health area.

      We were prepared for the language problems, that went well. They had summer school to get caught up with school and english as a 2nd language. They are all very smart.

      We did not know about bipolar. We needed help there.

      We took him to a mental health hospital and he was in and out but not there long enough to figure out all his issues.

      When he got in trouble with the law, he was in shelter care and they had him there 2 months before they figure out what was wrong.

      He was bi-polar, adhd, and lots of other stuff. on the right medication he was better.

      But the parents need support groups or agencies out there that know what is wrong, to help the kids.

      We got 3 great kids and they are blessings from God and we got them from
      Russia.

      Marie

      • I agree Marie, good thing that child was sent back like he was before he hurt or killed someone or even burned the house down, all of which he had threatened to do.

      • See Marie—now you’re in Michelle’s camp. THAT should worry you…

        You had a child whose background as a Russian orphan meant that he needed special help, understanding, sacrifice and love, and you gave all of that to him. You didn’t ship him back to Russia. When you don’t have the help you need, you look for it and ask for it. As a parent, punting isn’t an option. I can sympathize with the mother for feeling desperate, just as I can sympathize with the woman who felt trapped and killed her own children. But sympathizing and excusing are different.

        • Based upon what that adoptive-parent was told prior and what she ended up with are two different things. She received a defective item. Return it. And, an adoptive-parent is in no way even close to the biological-parent, no matter how one mat try to conceive that process in their own mind. That is a way for those types of people to feel better about the inabilities they have.

  6. One last thought – I worry that when we stress the isolation of cases like this one, as opposed to the fact that it could, and probably will, happen again, we lose opportunities to look critically at adoption policy and practice to correct what’s wrong. Just something to think about.

  7. Let me start out by saying this: sending a 7 year old by himself on an airplane to be picked up by a stranger and returned to an orphanage is wrong. Period. Exclamation mark.

    But I think condemning a woman who finds herself in over her head with a child she doesn’t know how to handle as a murderer or rapist is wrong. I don’t know this woman. Maybe she is evil and a horrible, selfish person. But maybe also she’s just someone who found herself unable to to live up to her good intentions.

    With the attention being paid to international adoptions lately, not enough is being said about the types of problems that these kids suffer from. These kids are mentally, physically, and emotionally abused. They take these kids from horrible situations and place them in “normal” families. A “normal” person would not be able meet the needs of these kids. It takes someone extraordinary to do it. Many of these adoptive families just aren’t equipped to handle it.

    Her choice was a terrible one. This is another blow to an already troubled child. But she could have done what other adoptive parents have done; she could have waited until she snapped, then beaten or killed him. But she didn’t torture or murder him. She abandoned him. Still horrible, but it could have been much worse.

    When I first heard, several years ago, about the idea that parents would give their kids back, I was appalled. I though, who could do such a thing? Then I did some research. Some of these kids are really, really troubled. They are violent and dangerous. What would you do if one of your children endangered the life of another of your children? That has happened. Children have seriously injured their siblings and threatened to kill them. When do you acknowledge that just loving a child is sometimes not enough and you can’t handle it?

    Luckily, there are places you can turn to. The Ranch for Kids (http://www.ranchforkids.org/) is one. There are places that will help these kids when their parents can’t. At first I thought it was terrible, but sometimes the right thing to do is to admit that there is nothing you can do. Too bad no one ever pointed this woman to places she could go for help.

    Lastly, I would like to make a point: biological parents abandon their kids all the time too. I’m a teacher; I teach many abandoned kids. Kids who’s father or mothers have no contact with them. Kids who are raised by grandparents. Kids who have the misfortune of still living with parents who have abandoned them in every other way except literally. Their parents just don’t have another country to ship them to.

    • Katie: Having sympathy for a woman who is coping with a terrible problem is the correct response. There are always reasons why someone does a terrible thing, and reasons are often not excuses. You are blurring the line here by using too many rationalizations, and some of the worse. 1) “She could have killed him.” Yes, and she could have roasted him on a spit. The fact that she avoided the worst possible choice doesn’t make what she did any less wrong. Are you really expecting her to get credit because she didn’t kill him? I hope not. 2) Yes, she was under terrible stress. I hope I would never make such a terrible choice, and one way to make sure others don’t is to be really clear: this is wrong, no excuses, no justification. The Golden Rule doesn’t work backwards” it’s Ok for others to treat someone horribly if you might treat them horrible too. 3) Yes, biological mothers also abandon their kids, and they are exactly as wrong an Hanson. This rationalization is just “everybody does it.” Well, if true, everybody’s wrong. Sympathy and empathy are not justification or absolution. It is not Ok to be cruel to a child because he’s disturbed. She didn’t do her research; she accepted responsibility without knowing what she was committing to. This is like the people who adopt St, Bernard dogs and abandon them because they get too big. The emotional problems of older orphans from Russia are well-documented. She didn’t fulfill her obligations, and the child is suffering for it.

      • No blurring by Katie, imo, just the facts about the adoption process. The blame, if any, needs to be applied if necessary onto the Russian adoption agency for not releasing all the information they knew to the prospective adoptive parent. That kid may need some intense therapy, but without that disclosure, that becomes an issue that the Russian agency needs to take on, not the adoptive parent who already spent a lot of money in trying to obtain this child. It needs to be viewed for what it is; an adoption is a purchase, simple as that.

        • I think your point about the Russian agency is valid. Russia should hardly be pointing fingers and assigning blame when they are contributing to the problem by lying in legal documents. I understand that it comes from a place of compassion (wanting to help these kids get a better life), but it’s a dangerous game they’re playing, and unfortunately some of these kids really suffer for it.

          I don’t believe that adoption is a purchase. I think of it more as a commitment. But there have to be steps in place for when things go wrong, and people find themselves unable to fulfill their commitments.

          • My God: of course the Russians should be “pointing fingers” at an American woman who promised to care for one of its orphans and instead abandoned and endangered him! They are not estopped from feeling human decency and outrage regardless of the dishonesty of their orphanage officials (if indeed what the mother says is true: why should we believe her, exactly?) who are only trying to give desperate children a chance to escape a grim existence to go to America.

            • I mean they should not be pointing fingers at the American adoption system as being flawed when theirs is too. The orphanage officials are doing what they feel is right, but it’s the government’s job to make sure that the officials are doing what’s legal and right. It’s their job, first and foremost, to care for those kids, and they’re doing a horrible job, which is why these kids are being adopted internationally. The American system is not perfect, by any means, even to our “own” kids, but it is better than theirs. If they (the Russian government and society) weren’t failing these kids, they wouldn’t be sent overseas to begin with. Suspending 1500 adoptions a year because of 1 (or several) failures isn’t right either.

          • I agree that the agencies do not give out enough information, I was told my son likes to play with fire or about his other problems and I know for a fact that they had to know about them, I found out 2 years later after we adopted him that he had caused some fires in russia. I also agree that we should have some steps in place for the parents to go get help for the children when they are having problems and that is an issue for all parents adopting children from other countries including russia.

            Marie

      • You’re absolutely right, on many of the above points. I guess my point is that we should be viewing this in context of a much larger problem. That means that we need to hold others accountable too. We have Russian officials who lie, an adoption agencies that don’t seem to provide adequate preparation and post placement assistant, airline officials who let the kids get on the plane, and a guy who agreed to pick up a kid for $200. And lets not forget, a horribly flawed world that allows kids to rot in institutions for 7 years. Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of using this to demonize a person we don’t know, we used this story to better call attention to the plight of kids like this? If it was used to better prepare potential adoptive parents and to provide more help to people who do end up adopting?

        I’d also like to say this: I’m not a psychiatrist, and I’m certainly not a orphan who’s been institutionalize. I don’t know what the effect of this will have on him. I do know that kids who have been traumatized like this don’t process things the same way other people do. This abandonment could scar him for life, or it could be he’ll be happier back in a life closer to what he’s used to. Probably the truth lies in the middle. The upside of this situation is now he will be taken care of, by people better suited to it than this woman was.

        On the subject of biological children: I would love to see every dead-beat parent who walks out on their own child because they don’t feel like dealing with them prosecuted with the same rigor as people want to prosecute this woman for abandonment. Why people get a pass because they abandon them to their other parent, while people who abandon their kids to social services don’t? If you agree to that, then I’ll support throwing the book at her too.

        • My apologies to the blogger; I reread the original post and saw that you seemed to be really trying to bring attention to the issues, not place blame. I got caught up in the comments and lost sight of that. My best wishes to you and your family.

    • Katie, sending the child back was right, and may have saved lives and property. But, one would have to understand the facts of the case first.

      • I don’t believe that sending the child back was the right decision. I think that trying counseling first would have been smarter. If they situation continued to decline, then I think that sending him to one of the organizations previously mentioned would have been the best last resort.

  8. Michelle:
    I just thought I’d weigh in, here. As both an adoptive mother of a Russian child AND someone who has an advanced degree in psychology, I can assure you that your statements are both hurtful and ignorant. The child WAS NOT “in the process” of being adopted; he was adopted. She was not a “temporary adoptive mother”, as you claim; she had gone through the process completely. LEGALLY, she was his mother. Adoption is finalized in the Russian court system and becomes final in America once the child sets foot on American soil. Do your homework if you’re going to post as if you are knowledgeable about the subject. As to you addressing this child as a piece of trash, I certainly hope that you don’t have children, and God help them if they are imperfect; otherwise, to which country do you plan to ship them? Is “piece of trash” your CLINICAL diagnosis, since you claim to know so much about psychology? My son is MY SON, regardless of his biological geneology. Shame on you, lady. You must not have any kind of basic understanding about the love between a mother and child, otherwise you would never post something this hateful. Have you met this woman? Have you met this child? Probably not, and if you had any real knowledge of psychology (or law, for that matter) then you would know that you can’t make that kind of assumption based on hearsay. Please, please, please, do yourself and everyone else a favor and stop. I believe Jack’s point is that we should afford adopted children the same rights as children born in America and believe me, if I shipped a biological child to another country to leave them there, I would (and should) be prosecuted.

    • Laura S., I just thought I’d weigh in your previous comment to clarify my points about some people making comments that do nothing but confirm their lack of knowledge and professional experience dealing with subjects such as Law and Psychology because your post is exactly opposite of the proven facts. If you need specific clarifications, just let us know and maybe with enough time and assistance, we can get you straightened out so you at least can appear as those you understand at least a pinch of the actual facts in this case that elude you. Try some research, and if you still cannot figure out this case, come back and maybe even Jack might help you, if you don’t attack him and try to bash him too. 🙂

      • Please, enlighten me. You must have some special knowledge of this specific case, and I would love to know the “facts”. You keep referring to these “facts”, yet not actually sharing them. Since you are speaking from a professional standpoint, what degrees do you hold in either law or psychology? (I’m assuming you would be happy to share this information as well, since you keep speaking of your vast array of knowledge on these subjects.) Have you been through this process? Have you worked with families going through this process? Have you worked with children after they come home from an international adoption? If the answer to any of these is no, then I do have more experience than you. I’m not going to bash Jack, because unlike you, Jack has knowledge about this process.

        • Are you asking to be spoon-fed again? You wouldn’t last the first 30 minutes in my work environment being so high-maintenance and lazy, with all due respects to your unwillingness and inabilities to do your own research. 🙂

      • It would appear to me, that the real “piece of trash” here is Michelle.

        I sincerely hope, Michelle that you are in no way shape or form responsible for any child’s well being. Your heartlessness, complete lack of sympathy or empathy and lack of any true understanding of law or psychology astound and disgust me.

        Laura, I applaud you and other parents who truly understand what it actually means to be a parent.

        What the woman from Tennessee did is morally and legally reprehensible, and she deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And I hope she will be.

        • Please, let’s keep our civility in line.

          I am checking on the reason why no charges have been filed. I am told that this is being investigated and is still a possibility. Frankly, I don’t see how they could justify not filing charges.

        • To bash the informed is a typical response from those that do not hold higher-degrees and professional licenses. It is a way for them to remain in denial of proven facts, and allows them a sense of thinking they know more than they actually do. Heartlessness and the lack of sympathy is often confused by those uneducated and uninformed enough to really understand the facts of cases they often comment about, and when they see others like myself who are better-informed than themselves it often leads to bashing and ridicule for the fact-supplier. Which, for myself, only brings a confirmation of what I have stated all along about dysfunctional people. And, you are welcome. Let us know if we can clarify this case for you without spoon-feeding you on what is your responsibility as an informed adult. 🙂

          • I don’t need you to spoon-feed me, Michelle. I have a Ph.D. in psychology from a well-known and well-respected University. I have no idea what you are even yammering on about or why you find yourself to be such an authority on this subject. I’ve asked, but you can’t seem to answer. My suggestion to everyone (including myself) would be to stop taking her bait and simply ignore it. I wish you nothing but the best, Michelle, as long as it does not involve children or working in an authoritative role with another living creature. I hope you find happiness and someday know an inkling of the love that I feel for my child.

            • The facts of cases do confuse and scare some people, but thanks for proving my points about uninformed people. Perhaps an award and a large amount of cash is needed to present to this “parent” for returning this troubled youngster back to Russia where he obviously belongs. Good thing we’re only taking about his return-flight, and not a killing or a house burned down to the grown like he had threatened to do.

  9. There is a mentality in America of folks who want to do right, but have no clue how to accomplish it. When they get into a pickle, any excuse will do. Not to change the subject but of equal or greater importance, is that THIS MENTALITY is how Obama got elected. Children… just because ignorance is bliss, don’t loose sight of REALITY!

      • Good. Now you can tell me what Paul said, and how it has relevance to this issue. I would read him as disagreeing with you, but maybe you both speak the same peculiar dialect that I have yet to translate properly—you know, the one where “caring” means “rejecting a 7 year-old who already has rejection issues and shipping him back to a country full of strangers so he can become a full-fledged basket case.”

        A psychologist who specializes in attachment syndrome I heard interviewed today said that such children often transfer rage at their birth parents for rejecting them to their adoptive parents, and for this poor child to be rejected again in such a cruel manner probably will damage him permanently.

        She was eager to talk to you, however, so you could set her straight.

        • Caring does not mean rejecting, caring does mean to send that child back to Russia though, at least to the informed about the study of Law and Psychology. And a different dialect as you claim? That’s exactly my previous points about how some people (not you Jack) wouldn’t last more than a few minutes in a work environment I am familiar with, they’d readily be transferred or fired. Seen it happen many times to others. Absence of working-knowledge and procedures by others actually has been a reason for transfers or terminations in what I am familiar of. Spoon-feeding by supervisors, managers, coordinators, and administrators is prohibited. Many of the websites now-a-days don’t require an education background check before they allow commenting, but that is something I am currently and still working on to be part of commenting on blogs. Still some years off. Kind of like working with people that have an education-background of high-school, or basic college, or grad school, or beyond. It is structured to have an intelligence-quota similar to a grading scale that has ten different level-systems as of today. But, that’s another story. Thanks again for proving my earlier points to be correct though. Have a great day. 🙂

          • michellefrommadison-

            From reading all of your posts and comments- there is one common thread here- and I believe I have identified what and where the problem lies with your comments. You seemed to have been Spoon fed your “possible” Law and Psychology degrees from the cool-aid out west.
            What kind of defect or cult mentality do you hold to assume that is acceptable to send a child on a plane for a 13 hour flight to Moscow unsupervised, not knowing what if anything would happen to him? What kind of psychological pattern do you use to justify the actions of a mother that would participate in this sort of demeaning, disrepectful, and all out disgusting action?
            If an actual birthmother did this to her child, would you feel the same way about her actions?
            Remember- this lady from TN is an RN with an unstoppable list of contacts to resolve issues. She made the choice to give up after only 6 months! She had numerous alternatives for treatment and counseling; she never gave him a chance. Instead she chose to give up and risk the boys life by putting him on a plane with no supervision, risking his life and putting him in jeopordy of being kidnapped once he landed. That is cruel and unusual punishment for a child period!
            The adoption was final, she was the childs mother. Would you feel that your mother was justified if she did this to you?
            Spoon Feed me please- I am hungry to understand how psychologically depressed you actually are and what the root is that causes your disgusting thought process. I will give you my spoon- YOU NEED HELP!

            • Absolutely, I agree with you about sending that child out on the plane back to Russia. Absolutely, before he kills someone or burns the house down like he threatened to do.

  10. Pingback: Russian Adoption Return | Russian Adoption Ethics: No Returns « Ethics Alarms | TechLad : Tech News from around the world

  11. Pingback: Russian Adoption Ethics: No Returns « Ethics Alarms < Read what Young Americans Read

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  13. All I can say is that I’m extremely glad that Michellefrommadison is NOT my mother. Indeed, I hope she is NOT and NEVER will be a mother. I am the adoptive mother of a 19-year-old son whom I adopted from Romania 11 years ago. There have been difficult times, but there have also been many rewarding ones. Marius has grown into a wonderful, loving, caring person, whom I am very proud of, despite being abandoned at birth and institutionalized for nearly eight years. No mother IN HER RIGHT MIND

    • Jody…You didn’t finish, leading me to fear briefly that Michelle crept up behind you and garroted you as you typed. If you are all right (you ARE, aren’t you?) I think I can guess how that sentence ends.

  14. “Katie, sending the child back was right, and may have saved lives and property. But, one would have to understand the facts of the case first.”

    OK, here are a couple of facts:

    – Under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, upon finalization of his adoption (which all accounts indicate took place) this child retroactively became a citizen of the U.S. the day he arrived.
    – The investigation, which is certainly looking into abandonment charges, is currently hampered by the fact that Artyom would need to return to the U.S. to be interviewed, which I understand the Russians have forbidden.
    – The Russian orphanage’s knowledge of Artyom’s emotional illness or lack thereof is heresay until investigated and proven one way or the other. Torri Hansen’s proclamations to this effect do not make it so.
    – If her allegations indeed are true, then Ms. Hansen should have followed appropriate legal channels rather than her chosen course of action.

    • OK, here are a couple of facts: by sending that child was not only the right thing to do as an adoptive parent, but also likely saved lives and property, especially saving that child’s life.

  15. Boy…didn’t I warn all of you? Michelle is writing a book or something; I’m convinced of it. She’s writing these things just to set people off. The guy who used to play “Guido Sarducci” on SNL used to do this. And there’s a radio talk show (“The Phil Hendry Show”) that does this too, with fake guests and actors as callers who say outrageous things to attract furious listeners. The fake guest’s comments get crazier and crazier until its obvious that its a put-on. How crazy do Michelle’s have to get? Now this 7 year old boy is the living embodiment of Jason from “Friday the 13th.” Come on. Why do you take the bait?

  16. Hum coming to the surface” Adoption Returns” 30 day free trial…Well its been going on for years right here in the good old USA its just not talked about and kept silent.. Catholic Charities is a prime example of placing unwanted children that had been adopted and returned into foster care and some to catholic boarding schools going back decades keeping it all covered up.How can this be true? and covered up all this time and how do I know about this Return Adoption Policy.I was a return adopted child and sent off to a boarding school to be raised..Have a look .

    Fortunately for me I found my biological family helped me and put closure to my lost child hood …

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