This is cross posted from my Nikto Ne Zabyt (Memoriam for Russian Adoptees Murdered and Abused by their Forever Families) blog.Большое спасибо моим друзьям в Москве Свет и Кайл Китон (Windows to Russia) за эту статью. (Much thanks to my friends in Moscow Svet and Kyle Keeton (Windows to Russia) for this story.

Breaking news out of Russia!

Russian media reports that a 7-year old boy, adopted six months ago by an American couple, is now back in Russia after being “refused” by his Forever Family.

Artem (Artyom) Saveliev, adopted name Artem (Artyom) Justin Hansen, arrived in Moscow last Saturday on a flight from Washington accompanied only by a note from his Forever Mother, Torry Hansen, saying she’d been “mislead” by Russian authorities, the adoption was a “mistake” and she was abandoning–er–I mean, returning him. She asked that the adoption be “disannulled.” Artem’s situation was discovered at immigration control when he told authorities he had flown in by himself. The note was found in his pocket. You can read it here.

RT Russian Television reports:

That’s the letter the boy had with him, where his adopted mother says that she is disappointed, that she is sorry, that she sees that the child is unstable and in order not to ruin her own family, herself and relations with her friends, she wants to give up the child,” [Pavel]Astakhov said. “The American Consul confirms that there is a procedure to give up a child; it’s not that easy, it’s not a pet that you can take and then give away.”

Artem understands, but does not speak Russian. The boy was handed over to police and a local hospital. His condition is described as “satisfactory.”

Prominent Moscow attorney and Presidential Commissioner for the Rights of the Child (Children’s Rights Ombudsman) Pavel Astakhov, has spoken with Artem. He told RT that he plans to ask the Russian government to suspend Russian-US adoptions:

We must tighten the control over candidates for international adoption. I will raise this question now as it is possible that we must even suspend American adoptions to clarify how many similar cases we have there,” the Russian official said.

Astakhov, barely containing his disgust, told RT (video, not print) that Artem’s orphange records indicate he had no health or psychological problems and was “normal” when he left Russia. He said the boy’s adopters decided to make their lives easier by shipping him to Moscow alone rather than following US legal procedures for disrupting an international adoption. Russian authorities have attempted to contact Artem’s adopters, but the Forever Family has failed to respond.

Artem was born in Vladivostok, but no other information has been released about him.

According to RT, (no source cited) as late as two weeks ago, the unnamed placing agency reported that Artem was “doing OK.” which indicates that the agency and the adopters were in post-placement contact. I’ve done some preliminary sleuthing on the agency ID, too–so far unsuccessful. No doubt, Torroy Hansen has been scrubbed from its website if she were on it.

Svete and Kyle have linked several Russian and English language news sources about the case on their site. The complete RT video report is here:

How Artem was allowed to travel unaccompanied is another mystery surrounding this case. Was he really “unaccompanied” Could some adult (a Hansen or hired help) have pulled a fast one at the gate in Washington or even gotten on the plane and then breezed on through immigration on arrival? Or maybe an airline just fell down on the job.

Apparently airlines make their own policy on lone child travel, but general rules can be found here. They include:

Most airlines have a minimum age for unaccompanied children, typically five, and a maximum age, typically 12. Children younger than the minimum age have to travel with an adult.

If Artem flew Aeroflot, anything could go, I suppose. All of my really “interesting” flights, in fact, have been on Aeroflot; the most “interesting” between Baku and Moscow where about 25% of the seats were booked by watermelons.

If leaving a kid in a car for 5 minutes while you run into the convenience store for a carton of eggs can constitute child abandonment, certainly putting a 7-year old on an international flight with no authorized adult supervision does, too–especially when the intent to abandon in clear.

We can’t wait to hear the Hanson Forever Family’s excuse.

When I know more about the situation, I’ll post it here.

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  1. What is wrong with these people who adopt and older child, internationally, and then get miffed when they have adjustment problems? Poor kid. He might not know it, but he is well rid of these arrogant child purchasers. I’ll never get used to the mind-set of people who treat a human child like a dress that is the wrong color or size. At least I didn’t read anything in that note about them wanting their money back.

  2. If Artem flew by Aeroflot, then it’s a provocation.
    He should have had an accompanying adult…

    I believe this is just another provocation…
    No details in Russian mass-meda but hysterical articles (both printed and online).

  3. What do you mean provocation and hysterical articles? What kind of provocation? Who is being provoked?

    I only mentioned Aeroflot because I’ve had so many weird experiences with it–usually domestically. I don’t think it’s an airline that most Americans ever think of using, even dumbasses like Torry Hansen. I like it myself, for what was (at east then) it’s weirdness factor.

    izhkul says United Airlines was the carrier. (Tied with Delta for my most unfavorite airline) I find it close to impossible to believe Artem got through security alone. There had to be come kind of “assistance” Reports say he flew out of Washington. I don’t know if that means Dulles or Reagan or Baltimore, but I know all those airports, and they are tight and I can’t imagine security letting a little kid through by himself. You can bet there’s more to this story.

  4. There’s also the question of his passport. Artem is a Russian national and would have a Russian passport. I’m not sure how that operates with a kid whose adoption isn’t finalized yet. It it were final, his passport would be entered with the adopters. Oh, yeah, There’s a lot of questions here. The whole thing reeks.

  5. Provokation?Most feeling, compassionate people would see this as a cruel case of inflicting further trauma on an already traumatised child.While we may feel sorry for the adopters who for some reason didn’t seek appropriate help or act in an appropriate way, the buck stops with agency doesn’t it for inadequately preparing them?
    Discussion of which airline accepted the child, children can travel on an assisted passage usually and are supervised by airline staff, is scarcely relevant.What is, has to be the child’s trauma and his future life. Don’t you think that people have good reason to be hysterical over this, it’s appalling?

  6. I just found a whole lot of information on this case, but it’s too late to write. Damn! I have a ton of stuff to do, and now this.

  7. The only Torrey Hanson I found was an actor in Milwaukee. He’s unlikely to be the same person, I imagine…

  8. I don’t know about international flights, but on a domestic flight you can bring a child to the gate and fill out some papers about who is picking them up, then the flight attendants are responsible until the child reaches his destination. I helped one of my Mom’s friends take her grandkids to the airport to send them back to CA and that was the procedure we followed.

    Those shithead adopters may have followed proper procedure in the US and said the kid was going to visit grandma or auntie in Russia who would be picking him up there. Then he got there and there was nobody.

    I truly hope those creeps are prosecuted and get some jail time. Poor little boy! Interesting too that he lost his ability to speak his language in just 6 months. I bet he was shamed, maybe beaten, for speaking Russian.

    I have a half-Russian niece who at five is proudly bi-lingual, and spent all last summer visiting her Russian grandparents with her Mom who is married to my brother.

    This whole thing is so upsetting, I just can’t stop thinking about what that little boy must have suffered. I hope he is safe now and in good hands.

    Suspending international adoption from Russia seems the right thing to do.

  9. BD, I’ll be interested and watching for the new info. All I can think about is the feelings of rejection this child must be experiencing. Screw any judgements of “provocation.”

  10. Yes, an adopted Russian child must re-enter Russia on his Russian passport even if he has US cit. This is true of any adopted child from Russia. I guess they just packed him with it.

  11. Ive nailed down Torry Hansen and a lot more from Russian-language sources. I’m spending this morning writing it up. It’s pretty straightforward so hopefully it won’t take too long.

  12. I want to know what legal action will be taken against this mother? This child was considered a U.S. citizen the minute he stepped on U.S. soil and the adoption is considered as legal and final by the U.S. She should be put in jail for child abandonment.You can’t just put your child on a plane by himself with a note and think that it’s legally ok to do that! The U.S. has to show Russia that they think it’s a serious situation. They have to bring charges against this women.

  13. This is going to have a devastating impact on people adopting from Russia. The U.S. doe not do bi-lateral agreements. So if that’s what Russia wants to continue adoptions to U.S. citizens, anyone adopting from Russia is doomed! Russia has wanted this agreement for a long time and our government just won’t do it. My heart goes out to anyone in the process right now.

  14. Hey, anon, my heart goes out to this poor little boy and kids like him that Americans took for a trial run and did not like. At least he wasn’t killed like some of Russian adoptees. I am sure he was abused, just look at the pictures in Marley’s latest post.

    Adoption from Russia has been rotten for a long time and stopping it it a good thing.

  15. This hurt alot to see from the UK story:

    “The child’s real mother Ekaterina was deprived of her parental rights because she was an alcoholic, officials said yesterday.
    She gave birth to the child at 19 and cared for him until he was six.”

    The agency involved, as we’ve now learned, is WACAP.

    I find it totally intriguing that the one case the Russians focus on every time a death or disruption occurs is the Chase Harrison case. That one sticks in their craw like no other –

  16. I noticed the name difference, too, but that’s the picture that’s being published in KP as his “photo listing” so I went with it. Names change.

  17. @Anon

    Yep the Chase case (Dmitry) was very well publicised here and did make many people very angry. Part of that was due to the judge not passing down any penalties – they felt someone should be responsible for Dmitry’s death and wondered if the same would have happened for an American child?

    The other part was the reaction from American’s online. Some suggested that at least the father was offering Chase/Dmitry access to the land of milk and honey. As if the best option little Dmitry had in life was 3 months in America and 9hrs roasting to death in a car.

    The truth is that everything is a commodity in Russia. Corruption is widespread. 10yrs ago Americans could pick up any child they wanted but now many are priced out of the market. Poor US families are paying a few $$$$ and getting an older child or one with problems. Older children are always difficult adoptions, let alone international ones.

    Outside involvement/money in the Russian adoption industry pushes the prices up for Russian families. An investigation into Russian adoption needs to happen on both sides. Money should not be part of the equations.

  18. “”Money should not be part of the equations.””

    Money has always been a part of the adoption equation…internationally and domestically. Without money there would be no Adoption Industry. Adopters fuel the demand and the money.

  19. “Money has always been a part of the adoption equation…internationally and domestically. Without money there would be no Adoption Industry.”

    @Mandy Lifeboats

    I wasn’t aware that U.S. had a similar level of corruption to Russia. So in America adopters bribe officials and orphanages to get the ‘best’ children too?

  20. @Mandy Lifeboats

    Or do Americans pay for adoptions in the US as standard? I’m not familiar with the American system so would be interested to know more?

    I’ve heard Americans have trouble finding white/Caucasian babies, and that they worry about the legal rights of the birth parent(s). I didn’t know anything about the financial savings in coming to Russia?

  21. This story is so sad. And I question putting the boy unassisted on a plane back to Russia. But this situation of having Russian orphans with behavioral problems is out of control.

    Please see this PBS movie that came out this year called “This Emotional Life: In Search of Ourselves…and Happiness” by Dr. Daniel Gilbert. Here’s a webpage about Alex, the boy adopted from Russia:
    It talks about how lack of physical comfort to babies and small children causes a lack of attachment.

    Watch episode or part 1. It aired on PBS, is available to watch instantly if you have a Netflix account, or you can buy the disk on Amazon:
    It explains how the orphanages in Russia are overcrowded and understaffed, with each nurse in charge of over a dozen children apiece. They barely have time to change and bottle the infants, and no crucial early bonding takes place.

    This is with physically healthy children. Imagine the exaggeration and complications of the scores of orphan children in Russia who have been adopted by Americans where the babies are already born with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)!

    Richard Gere, Katie Couric, Alanis Morissette, and other celebrities speak out in this movie. I can’t say if what the adoptive mother and grandmother of Justin Hansen (birth name Artyom Saveliev) is right or wrong. But before jumping to conclusions and making a witchhunt out of it (which as a devoted mother was my knee-jerk reaction), please look at the bigger problem. How heartbreaking it must be to just want a child to love, be unable to have one, and then when you finally go though the process of adoption, they don’t love you back. And on top of that are dangerously violent. It’s definitely not the childrens fault, its the terrible hand of cards they were dealt with before they even had a chance to start life.

    But stop to consider how you – as an adoptive mother – would react to receiving hate instead of love. It must be devastating. I have a greater appreciation for what the mother must have gone through. And even more so…I feel so sorry for the boy. And all the children in this situation.

    Those children need parents. But obviously the prospective adoptive parents need to be educated in what they are undertaking. Not everyone may be cut out for such a hard path, and they should be prepared with real-life application of psychology and child development to reduce unrealistic expectations. There are so many childless couples in America looking for a child to take into their home and love. What a sad thing it would be if that option was taken away.

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