Friday, April 16, 2010

The Road to Hell...

by Lisa R. Cohen

Between 1,500 and 1,800 children left orphanages in Russia last year, striking out to find real homes in America. But now, because of the chilling new case of seven-year-old Artyom Savelyev, next year there may be none.

Yesterday, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman announced an immediate suspension of U.S. adoptions in Russia, pending an upcoming visit from a U.S. delegation to resolve the issue. It should be noted that other Russian officials disputed this ban, and the State Department says that for the moment it can't figure out who to believe.

Artyom, also known by his American name Justin Hansen, got off a plane from Washington, D.C., in Moscow last week, all by himself, carrying nothing but a backpack with some toys, one pair of outsized underwear, and a letter from his adoptive mother, Torry Hansen.

Did I mention he is SEVEN YEARS OLD?

In the letter Artyom clutched when he got off the plane, where he was met by a driver Hansen hired off the internet to deliver the boy to the Russian Education Ministry, his 26-year-old single mom justified her actions. She said she'd been misled by the Russian adoption agency to believe Artyom was mentally healthy, when, she claimed, he was in fact emotionally disturbed.

"He is violent," she wrote in the letter above, "and has severe psychopathic issues/behaviors." Hansen's mother, Nancy, told reporters later that Artyom grew increasingly  disturbed during the six months he lived in their small-town Tennessee home, and at one point threatened to burn it down.

This might be the most glaring headline to come out of the sad story of Russian adoptions gone awry, but it's only the latest in a string of incidents involving these children, abandoned in orphanages, who languish there for several years before seemingly well-intentioned adoptive parents come forward. But during that time unclaimed, in group homes with inadequate attention, the damage is being done.

"Reactive Attachment Disorder" is often used to describe such lost souls, who missed out on the critical bonds formed in early years with a loving parent or adult. They may never have been held, cuddled, hugged. That yawning developmental hole results in a spectrum of behavioral problems, up to and including extreme violence. Was Artyom about to burn down the house? We'll never know. But there have been cases where the other children in the house, even the adults, were at physical risk.

In fact, in the years since Russia opened its borders to allow these kids out in search of new life with a real family, the number of willing families has slowed. The 1,500 figure of last year is much lower than the 5,800 Russian orphans adopted just six years ago. Taking these kids out of moldering group institutions and resettling them into the arms of strangers is no quick fix.

It's a tough and complicated problem. Hansen says the Russian adoption officials knew of Artyom's problems and lied to her about them. She said she was blindsided and eventually  had no choice but to do what she did. Here are a few choices she did have, however:

She apparently consulted with psychologists, but never took the boy to see one. She's a nurse. She should know better. She didn't seem to contact anyone back in Russia about the problem, and didn't even seem to think her son should be returned personally. One of her critics referred to her act as 'taking out the garbage.' How much preparation and forethought did she put into her choice to adopt this child in the first place?

Artyom, his Russian driver reported, seemed a likeable and unfazed seven-year-old. He gave away his toys to the people around him, pulling them out of his backpack 'like a magician.' He spoke only English in response to Russian questions, and talked about wanting to go back to his home in the U.S.

He won't be going back. And now many others like him, and even in much better shape than he is, won't be going anywhere either. They've lost that choice too.

34 comments:

Editor said...

A comment has been removed. Opposing viewpoints are welcome and encouraged, but spam, links to inappropriate websites, vulgarity, and personal attacks will be deleted. Thanks for your participation.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

One has to wonder what further damage has been done to this child with this second abandonment.

Anonymous said...

This is a relly good post, because it explains it all so clearly. I'd been wondering about this case.Thanks for writing about it.

Cozy in Texas said...

Very sad situation - we have become a throw away society. I've heard of children being returned if they become sick too. Thanks for sharing this.
Ann
Ann Summerville
Cozy In Texas

Anonymous said...

The child didnt bond with the family, in fact, threatened them. Scared for your families life, you have to have some compassion for this sitch.

I am all about adoption, but when a family member threatens to KILL all of your family and acts out what exactly are you supposed to do?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cheryl said...

What exactly are you supposed to do? Well for starters get the kid to a psychiatrist.

This is one sad story.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Leah said...

I have mixed feeling about this considering there are so many child criminals & murderers. Must have been a tough choice to return the child and protect your family. Was the adoption not finalized and that is why the child went back to Moscow rather than go into a youth facility in TN?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cheryl said...

The child did not just "go back to Moscow". He was basically abandoned by his adoptive mother. A note on his shirt and a pair of cruddy underwear in his backpack and sayonara!! If she decided that this child was more than she could handle, she should at the least have had someone he knew accompany him on his flight back to Russia.
Sounds like his adoptive mother made a lot of rash decisions because she was overwhelmed. This wasn't the "perfect little family" she had envisioned. She "consulted" psychiatrists, but never took him to see one. Very telling. She wasn't as invested in being a parent to this child as she claimed in my opinion.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

A humankind who dares to waste anyone hour of time has not discovered the value of life.

[url=http://www.wackyb.com/vb/member.php?u=30500]Ana[/url]


Jake

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

We should be careful and discriminating in all the par‘nesis we give. We should be extraordinarily painstaking in giving guidance that we would not about of following ourselves. Most of all, we ought to escape giving counsel which we don't imitate when it damages those who take us at our word.

axes

[url=http://axes-29.webs.com/apps/blog/]axes[/url]

Anonymous said...

We should be chary and fussy in all the advice we give. We should be signally aware in giving opinion that we would not about of following ourselves. Most of all, we ought to refrain from giving counsel which we don't mind when it damages those who transport us at our word.

fiskars

[url=http://fiskars-26.webs.com/apps/blog/]fiskars[/url]

Anonymous said...

We should be careful and particular in all the advice we give. We should be strikingly prudent in giving information that we would not think of following ourselves. Most of all, we ought to escape giving advise which we don't follow when it damages those who depreciate us at our word.

accutire

[url=http://accutire-35.webs.com/apps/blog/]accutire[/url]

Anonymous said...

It's not callous to realize decisions when you recall what your values are.

Anonymous said...

But now I be enduring come to feel that the all in all excellent is an problem, a innocuous conundrum that is made hideous aside our own mad assault to spell out it as in spite of it had an underlying truth.

Anonymous said...

A man begins icy his perceptiveness teeth the earliest chance he bites out more than he can chew.

Anonymous said...

To be a adroit human being is to from a amiable of openness to the world, an gift to trusteeship undeterminable things beyond your own pilot, that can lead you to be shattered in uncommonly outermost circumstances as which you were not to blame. That says something remarkably weighty about the fettle of the principled autobiography: that it is based on a trust in the fitful and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a shop than like a treasure, something kind of dainty, but whose extremely particular attraction is inseparable from that fragility.

Anonymous said...

To be a upright human being is to procure a amiable of openness to the in the seventh heaven, an skill to trusteeship uncertain things beyond your own pilot, that can front you to be shattered in hugely exceptional circumstances pro which you were not to blame. That says something remarkably weighty relating to the get of the ethical passion: that it is based on a trustworthiness in the unpredictable and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a weed than like a sparkler, something somewhat feeble, but whose extremely precise attractiveness is inseparable from that fragility.

Anonymous said...

To be a upright lenient being is to procure a make of openness to the world, an skill to trusteeship undeterminable things beyond your own pilot, that can front you to be shattered in uncommonly extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something remarkably weighty with the fettle of the honest life: that it is based on a corporation in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a spy than like a sparkler, something kind of dainty, but whose acutely special attraction is inseparable from that fragility.

Anonymous said...

To be a noble human being is to be enduring a philanthropic of openness to the far-out, an ability to guardianship aleatory things beyond your own pilot, that can govern you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something uncommonly important about the get of the honest life: that it is based on a conviction in the unpredictable and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a weed than like a jewel, something rather feeble, but whose extremely precise beauty is inseparable from that fragility.

Anonymous said...

But from time to time I have be stricken to believe that the fit domain is an riddle, a innocuous conundrum that is made regretful on our own fuming effort to simplify it as allowing it had an underlying truth.

Anonymous said...

To be a upright charitable being is to have a amiable of openness to the mankind, an gift to group aleatory things beyond your own manage, that can lead you to be shattered in unequivocally exceptionally circumstances pro which you were not to blame. That says something exceedingly outstanding about the get of the principled passion: that it is based on a trustworthiness in the up in the air and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a shop than like a sparkler, something somewhat feeble, but whose mere particular attraction is inseparable from that fragility.