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Violent Boy Adopted From Russia Sent Back to Russia By Adoptive Mother

April 13, 2010
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The adoptive mother is being blamed in this case:  she sent  a 7-year old boy back to Russia after adopting him and finding out he was prone to violence. I mention that the mother is being blamed in this because media reports and adoption reports previous to this article have covered this woman’s story about her adoptive son, about his violent behavior, but CNN has a more complete picture of the situation:

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Video: Adopted Boy Sent Packing//

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Nancy Hansen, the Tennessee woman who put Justin Hansen on the plane in Washington, insisted she did not abandon the child, but was following instructions from a lawyer she found online.

Hansen told CNN that she was concerned about her family’s safety after a series of violent incidents and threats.

“I still have energy and I love children,” Hansen said. “It wasn’t that he was just energetic and wearing us down. It was the violent tendencies and he had to be watched at all time.”

When her daughter, Torry Hansen, adopted the boy from a Russian orphanage last year, she asked the doctor there if he had any physical or mental problems, Nancy Hansen said.

The doctor answered “‘He’s healthy,’ and turned and left,” she said.

Once the child learned enough English, he told his new family about the horrors of his previous life, including being beaten at the orphanage after his mother abandoned him, she said.

He also told of an incident in which he burned down a building near the orphanage, she said.

Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov said the child was “completely healthy, physically and mentally” before the adoption.

“Nobody withheld anything from her [Torry Hansen],” he said. “It’s a lie.”

Justin told Russian officials he was abused by the American family, Astakhov said.

“There was a grandmother who was at home with the boys,” he said. “She used to shout at [Justin] a lot. When I asked how the mother treated him he burst into tears and said she used to pull his hair.”

Hansen said the child had a “hit list” of people he was targeting, including her daughter, who he said he “wanted to kill for the house.” He threatened to kill her grandson for a videogame, she said.

The final incident that convinced Hansen she should send the boy back to Russia was when she caught him starting a fire with papers in his bedroom last Monday, she said. She feared the child might burn down the house and kill her family, she said.

Now the adoptive mother, Torry Hansen, who may have been guilty of getting legal counsel on-line, is being targeted for sending the boy back alone. This story highlights the fears uppermost in adoptive parents’ minds, that they might adopt a child who could hurt their family, with psychotic tendencies like violence, threatening to kill family members and starting fires, early indications of true sociopathic behavior, and then be blamed for not wanting to take that child into their homes.  Sociopath adults began as sociopathic children, but there is something inherently disturbing to many people in labeling a child as mentally ill and dangerous.  So what to do when the adopted child is psychotic?  Well, ambassadors to both countries say sending him on the plane was the wrong idea, but then again, who would take him back if the adoptive mother showed up with him?

The boys’ comments: iterations of abuse, threats to kill, threats to use fire to intimidate or harm others, allegations against every caregiver, fits of violence with hitting and spitting, threatening violence over routine disputes (remember the Alabama Univ. prof who shot her brother after an argument that was never investigated and went on to kill 6 more people as an adult), are clear indications of psychiatric problems that weren’t acknowledged or disclosed by Russian officials.  So now who is to blame?  The mother.  Yeah, same old, same old.

Realistically, my first response is that Russian officials are quick to assign blame and not so quick to examine the allegations that the child states the Russians abused him first.  I also would say that whenever a country institutes an adoption ban that perhaps that is for the best–why take on children from other countries when the government wants to keep the children in their own countries?  Does it really serve anyone to say that the adopted children were adopted under governmental duress?  And, while it’s not clear that the adoptive mother broke any laws, there will be plenty of blame to go around, with all of it centered on the mother and none on the Russian agencies.

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