Postcards from Mommywood: When An Adoptive Mother Rejects Her Child

A Russian adoption goes awry-and affects thousands of other kids.
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Postcards from Mommywood: When An Adoptive Mother Rejects Her Child

A Russian adoption goes wrong—and affects thousands of other kids.

-Diane Clehane


What in God’s name was Torry Ann Hansen thinking when she shipped her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia last week?

“I no longer want to parent this child,” read the note Hansen tucked into the boy’s backpack, along with cookies and some crayons, when she put him on a plane bound for Moscow. “He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues.”

This story is heartbreaking on so many levels that I barely know where to begin.

Torry Ann Hansen and her former adopted son
Torry-Ann Hansen with her adoptive son Artem at the Vladivostok orphanage last year.

We don’t know all the details of the story because the Shelbyville, Tennessee woman has yet to speak publicly about it, but the facts that have emerged are alarming. Hansen, reportedly a 34-year-old single mother with one biological son, adopted Artyom Savelyev last September from a Siberian orphanage. She renamed the child Justin and brought him home to live with her and her mother, Nancy. Last Thursday, the boy, who made the 11-hour flight from Washington D.C. to Russia alone, was brought to the Russian Education and Science Ministry by a man reportedly paid $200 by Hansen’s family to meet his flight.

As an adoptive parent, I’m sickened by this story.

My husband and I adopted our daughter, Madeline, from China in 2005. The experience leading up to the moment she was placed in my arms in a hotel conference room in China was fraught with anxiety.

 We worked with a well-known adoption agency whose policy included attending mandatory classes to discuss (ad nauseam, I thought at the time) the complexities of adopting a child, particularly a child of another race from another country. There were countless workshops on possible medical and developmental issues.

Then, in the home stretch, we attended a lecture given by a young woman who had been adopted from Korea. She spoke of the fact that she was not really close with her adopted family because they had done little to foster a connection to her heritage.

“Why did they pick someone who isn’t close to her parents?” I wailed to my husband that night. “I don’t know if I can do this!” Thank God I chose to move ahead with the adoption because, if I hadn’t, I would have missed out on one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Read Postcards from Mommywood: Why Can’t We Just Get Along?

I see now that our agency was doing the best possible thing for prospective parents and the children they would adopt. They were advocates for the children; their process was not for the faint of heart. A few couples in our group did drop out. But by the end of it, if you were on that plane to China, you knew exactly what you were getting into.

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0 thoughts on “Postcards from Mommywood: When An Adoptive Mother Rejects Her Child

  1. I don’t know. Really, this is the only article I’ve read on it & I have no idea what actually went on in her home so I’m in no place to judge the situation.

  2. Nyet! Goodbye and good riddance. This woman adopted Damien and he’s probably got the three 6’s barely concealed under his hairline.

    It sounds like a case of the Russian gov’t puttin’ one over on this woman and she’s right to get out of it now, before that demon seed destroys her whole life!!

    Let the Russians deal with rehabilitating him. It ain’t her problem.

  3. I read a few different articles on this one.

    None of them go into great detail of the kid’s behavior. NOR should they have to!

    She really should have gotten herself some counseling, and talked with people who deal with adoptions, who might have some options for her. Her family and the boy could be in a much better situation right now.

  4. I don’t think this mom should have sent this boy back. She should have given him over to the state if she could not keep him. I read that the grandmother caught him trying to burn the house down. He said he had burnt a building down in Russia. He also said he was going to kill them and other relatives.

    Having said all this, the agencies and orphanages do lie! My sister adopted 2 children from Russia. The 14 year-old girl has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and has the mind of a 5 year-old. She is also almost blind. She is a handful, but usually not mean. I know my sister was lied to about her condition.
    Also, I know 2 families that adopted demon children from overseas. The first boy was very violent. He went after his step-mother with a bat and ended up in Juvenile. He attacked one of the workers and was thrown to the ground and is now permanently paralyzed. The second boy threatened his parent and would leave an axe under the bed pillows. He ended up killing a neighbor and is in jail.
    I think this lady was overwhelmed. Some of these poor kids are damaged mentally and/or physically and can never be helped. It is a sad situation.
    We were strongly warned at our International Adoption Clinic about the Fetal Alcohol problems in Russia and Ukraine so we adopted from Guatemala. So far, so good, although my son is in the terrible 2’s!

  5. I don’t blame her at all. I think she did the right thing.
    IF she had hurt him. IF he had hurt her or her family (he said he would burn the house with everyone inside)….people would have said, “Why in the world didn’t you do something…ANYTHING…end the relationship, anything, rather than….(fill in the blank).”
    Okay, so she sent him back. It was better than what could have happened. I would have done the same thing. He must have been hell on wheels.

  6. Really? Would you guys feel the same way if he were her biological child? Becoming a parent is no doubt a huge, huge responsibility. Isn’t it (and shouldn’t it be) more binding than buying something from a store, or even getting married? I know 99% of parents would not give their children up even if psychotic beyond help. And isn’t that what she chose to be — a parent?

    Second, what kind of professional help did she ask for? If the boy is really sick, wouldn’t it make sense to seek help from a doctor? She wasn’t helpless or desparate; in fact, there are plenty of courses she could have taken better than the one she chose. From all of her options, she chose to return the child, like a pair of shoes the wrong size.

  7. what bothers me the most about this is SHE FOUND THE DUDE ON THE INTERNET WHO SHE SET UP TO MEET THIS CHILD IN RUSSIA! he could have been a child molester, murderer, anything! Who DOES that? and since this child is LEGALLY hers, shouldnt she be going to jail for CHILD ABANDONMENT. ENDANGERMENT, ETC???

  8. Yeah the only thing that bothered me was that he was sent back alone, and met by a stranger who could have been a child molester. She should have went with him and explained the reasons why she could not keep him. In any case it is a sad story.. I hope the little boy gets the help he will need..

  9. As a parent of an adopted child and also a physical therapist who works with disabled children in the school system. I say “do not judge a person until you have walked a mile in her shoes”.

  10. you are so fat u should die and go down to china to eat some rice you big poopy head you you are just so fat i just think you are pregnant but u arent

  11. i also dont know all of the details on this story either, but i can say that this child is not her biological child. so that doesnt matter. if i was in her situation, and i think anybody in their right mind were in her situation, i wuld have shipped him back 2 russia in a heartbeat also! there is a difference in something being wrong with someone that u can fix and something that is beyond repair. he has BIG problems 4 a child. matter of fact the day i caught him trying 2 burn my house down or the day he threatened 2 kill not only me but my whole family (including my biological son) he wulda been on the 1st plane back then and there. it makes no sense 2 me that a child could have those types of thoughts. havent u all seen the orphan b4? lol. just kidding. but come on, we live in America, arent there enough kids here that need homes?

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