TN Woman Sends Adopted Son Back To Russia (Update)

Trafficking in children is one of the greatest underground tragedies of our modern age. Politics, the lives of entertainers, sports, and the general background noise of our daily lives buffers us from the tragedies taking place literally in front of our eyes.

In April of 2010, a Tennessee woman, Torry-Ann Hansen, pinned a note on her adopted 7-yr old Russian son’s shirt and put him on a plane back to Moscow, Russia [HuffPost].

Her rational was the boy arrived from Russia suffering from severe mental problems. During his time in Torry-Ann’s life, the boy apparently made an attempt to set a fire, drew pictures of burning his house down, and is said to have attacked Torry-Ann’s aunt. According to her reports, the boy’s behavior was immediately a problem, “hitting, screaming, spitting, and threatening to kill family members,” rapidly escalating into uncontrollable outbursts which made her fearful. After six months of his behavior, Ms. Hansen bought the boy a plane ticket to Moscow, paying a man on the receiving end $200 to deliver the boy into the hands of the Russian Education Ministry (Ministries are not religious organizations, by the way, merely a word for “cabinet,” or “department;” like sending the boy to the offices of the Department of Education, in other words.)

Yes, a tragic set of circumstances. A single woman, wanting a child, and to take in a small boy, nonetheless, is admirable. Most people want babies, not older kids. And, hardly ever boys. Russia has enormous problems with orphans. Google “Russia” “orphan” “statistics;” see for yourself.

My google results yielded some interesting stats: only 1 in 10 Russian orphans will become functioning, productive adults. The remainder will commit crimes, become drug abusers, or commit suicide. I found numbers of Russian orphans ranging from 300,000+ to almost 1,000,000. One site stated “10,000,000” Russia youth are “at-risk.”

JPMorgan was once going to help Russian orphans [link].

Russia has many issues and also a history of not being honest. Putin and Medvedev cannot hold honest elections, jail political dissenters, harass journalists who speak against their policies. Police are notoriously corrupt, as are politicians, and many within the public service. In some circles, Russia is termed a, “mafiacracy,” meaning political influence and power is administered much like organized crime.

When Torry-Ann Hansen says she was lied to by both the Russian adoption agency and World Association for Children and Parents, I tend to believe her. I can completely believe Russian adoptions authorities would attempt to divest themselves of abandoned children, children born of drug-addicts, alcoholics, and abusive parents. No doubt those children are products of excruciatingly tragic environments and have suffered psychological damage. Russian authorities would not want to provide counseling services, and rationalize adopted children would have better lives abroad.

Problem children are then delivered abroad, facilitated by well-meaning organizations, into the hands of anxious, and naive, U.S. parents.

However well-meaning Ms. Hansen was, her life is now far more complicated than I’m sure she expected. Two years after sending the boy to Russia, she is being sued for parental support by the adoption agency. According to a recent article in the Tennessean [link], the boy is currently living in a group home for children not adoptable. A Russian custodian has been appointed to handled the boy’s financial affairs when and if the law suit against Ms. Hansen produces child support.

I have some questions. Why these children unadoptable? Do they suffer from psychological problems? If so, Ms. Hansen’s position the boy had emotional issues seems substantiated. Secondly, knowing what I know about Russia, any child support she is saddled with paying will most likely end up in the bank account of the Russian custodian and the boy will never see a penny. Russia is corrupt.

Adopting children can be rewarding, satisfying, humbling experiences for all parties. The world is not like the United States. Children, while malleable and resilient, when raised in atrocious environments will suffer great emotional, mental, perhaps even physical damage.

If you are contemplating foreign adoption, or know someone who is, do your homework. Understand the politics of the home country, the home environment, and contemplate your commitment. Do not take any agencies word for anything. Simple Internet searches can help educate about host country conditions, political climates, social, cultural and physical environments, and even the experiences of others adoptive parents.

Educate yourself.

2 thoughts on “TN Woman Sends Adopted Son Back To Russia (Update)

  1. Finally! A subject that I am overly fluent in. You would not believe the uproar this caused. This was “supposedly” another reason for them to shut down adoptions to the US. Another nail in our coffin. On the other side of the spectrum many waiting families were left in a program with no solid answers as to when they would be bringing children home. They wanted an old fashion lynching of this woman. There are so many unanswered questions that we may never get the answers to. She would have had to make at least two trips to spend time with this child. She would have been with him daily and none of this ever manifested while she was in country? Then you have to look at the fact that there are no gaurantees with biological children. They are not returnable, so why the adopted child? She would have been subjected to numerous background checks and interviews over the course of at least 1 year (realisticly more) and should have been prepared for this. His age alone, clearly makes him special needs. Basically, there is her side of the story, Russia’s side of the story and then there is the truth, to which we may never know what exactly or how that all happened. No doubt we look bad in the Russian people’s eyes, but like you stated, the Russian country is corrupt and all that is ever reported in the media are the few atrocities that have unfortunately happened with children adopted from that country. They never report on all of the happy families that have been formed through adoption.

    • Thanks for the comments, Stacey!

      Adoption is a very hot-button issue. At the very heart are children in need of safe, protected, nurturing homes. Every child, adopted or not, should have such an environment and opportunity. In the United States, we have unscrupulous adults essentially selling babies. Outside the United States, many countries have such lax policing of adoption so as to essentially encourage the trafficking of children. Belarus and Ukraine, China, and I suspect most parts of Sub-saharan Africa look the other way, given enough money. And, the real victims are the kids.

      And, I appreciate your comment about media coverage. We rarely hear about the good side of adoption. Unless we know someone who has adopted, or has been adopted, or unless we hear about a personal story of adoption, like at church, we rarely hear about the positive side of adoption. Not just the media, but TV/Movies. How often do we see adopted children victimized on Law & Order, or Bones, or Criminal Minds, or some Lifetime movie?

      Conflict generates interest, though. Interest motivates people. Look at “The Blind Side,” for example. People love the tale of a black kid taken in by a white family, saved from his neighborhood and environment, raised to be a successful football player. Would people see a movie or read a book about a white kid adopted by white parents raised in a happy home and maturing to be a successful businessperson? Maybe; happened to Steve Jobs, right? I would say people appreciate his success not because of his adoption, but as a result of his creation, Apple.

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