Two years ago, Ethics Alarms featured the story of Torry Hansen, the Tennessee adoptive mother who couldn’t handle her adopted Russian child, so she pinned a note on him and sent him back to Russia, alone, on an airplane. I wrote:
“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.”
Now CBS has reported that Hanson will have some consequences of her actions in addition to being roundly detested by every adoptive parent in the world (like me) and being a permanent member of the Bad Mothers Hall of Infamy. A Tennessee court has ruled, in the resolution of a lawsuit against Hansen by the adoption agency that united her with her child, that she must pay $150,000 in child support as well as additional financial assistance for her abandoned son to the tune of $1,000 a month until he is 18 years old.
Money won’t undo the harm she has done to the life and psyche of young Artyom, however. He now lives in what is described as a village of foster families, which sounds like a euphemism for something awful to me. He refuses to speak English, and has had to undergo extensive counseling to regain the ability to communicate at all. He hates America, naturally, and his emotional and developmental scars appear to be deep.
It isn’t a happy ending, by any means. But at least in the matter of Torry Hansen’s punishment for her betrayal of an innocent child, it is a somewhat satisfying one.
She’s still getting off easy.
Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
14 thoughts on “Justice Is Served: Torry Hansen Gets The Bill”
Just what America and Russia both need: Another Stalin in the making.
What exactly is your “pithy” point here?
My “pithy point” is that this is how angry sociopaths/psychopaths get started, Elizabeth. I would have thought this obvious.
The Hansens claim that the boy was “violent and ha[d] severe psychopathic issues” and “saying that he drew pictures of him burning the family house down”
Were these allegations about the boy either proven or refuted? This could determine the ethical analysis.
How, Michael? Would you put your troubled child on a plane to Russia if he had problems? Kids aren’t pitbull puppies, and you don’t “return them”. It was her son. That’s it, she has to deal with the problem with love and sacrifice, not just throw the kid to the wolves. It makes no difference, absolutely none, whether her allegations are true or not. I always presumed they were.
Helen Keller was a handful too, I hear.
She claimed to have done this for the “safety of my family, friends, and [her]self”.
Again, so what? He’s her son. He’s her #1, not her friends. She has no excuses.
The key word is safety .
No. The key words are family and duty.
A duty taken on is a duty seen through.
Even if it was a safety issue, there are processes to get help for a dangerous child. The local school system is the first step in services. If the kid was as bad as claimed, full residential programs exist. There is absolutely no excuse for the actions this “mother” took.
And here the key word is absolutely.
Why is it that regardless of the issue our ethical reasoning has changed to be that it is not our issue and that we must deflect problems to other parties rather than deal with them. In most scenarios, this one in particular, there are no ethics applied, this despicable woman was simply wrong. Perhaps more importantly she is an example of the behavior of our larger society. I heard a brilliant Pastor preaching last week and one of the things he said caught my attention, “even in prayer Americans ask for problems to be removed from their backs to be given to other people as they consider their burdens and issues not theirs but items that others should be required to deal with. In the rest of the world, during prayer rather than removal from their backs people ask for stronger backs to be able to deal with their problems”. We need Ethics back, and quickly.