[Guest post by DRJ]
A Tennessee woman’s decision to return her 7-year-old adopted son to Russia and the unorthodox way she did it could halt all American adoptions of Russian children:
“Russia threatened to suspend all child adoptions by U.S. families Friday after a 7-year-old boy adopted by a woman from Tennessee was sent alone on a one-way flight back to Moscow with a note saying he was violent and had severe psychological problems.
The boy, Artyom Savelyev, was put on a plane by his adopted grandmother, Nancy Hansen of Shelbyville.
“He drew a picture of our house burning down and he’ll tell anybody that he’s going to burn our house down with us in it,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “It got to be where you feared for your safety. It was terrible.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the actions by the grandmother “the last straw” in a string of U.S. adoptions gone wrong, including three in which Russian children had died in the U.S.”
The adoptive family claims they were misled about the boy:
“The Kremlin children’s rights office said the boy was carrying a letter from his adoptive mother saying she was returning him due to severe psychological problems.
“This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues,” the letter said. “I was lied to and misled by the Russian Orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues. …
“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.”
The boy was adopted in September from the town of Partizansk in Russia’s Far East.
Nancy Hansen, the grandmother, told The Associated Press that she and the boy flew to Washington and she put the child on the plane with the note from her daughter. She vehemently rejected assertions of child abandonment by Russian authorities, saying he was watched over by a United Airlines stewardess and the family paid a man $200 to pick the boy up at the Moscow airport and take him to the Russian Education and Science Ministry.”
The U.S. State Department expressed concern, not only for the boy but also because it could impact pending and future adoptions. The Russian government indicated it may require a U.S.-Russia treaty governing adoption issues before further adoptions are approved.