What Happened to the Russian Orphan Returned to Russia by His American Mother?

Remember the heart-crushing story of the Russian boy who was adopted by a woman in Tennessee, only to be put on an airplane bound for Russia, with a note that said the boy was a violent psychopath and she didn’t want him anymore?

I do, and I also remember thinking I had never heard of such a heartless act. Recently, I followed up on this story to see what happened to the little boy in this heart-wrenching story.

You may recall that Torry Hansen from Shelbyville adopted Arytom Savelyev, who she renamed Justin Hansen, from a Russian orphanage. In April of 2010 her mother, Nancy Hansen, delivered 7 year-old Arytom to the airport for a flight back to Moscow. The Hansens’ conduct spurred international anger, but no criminal charges were ever pursued.

A month later Washington adoption agency, the World Association for Children and Parents, filed a civil lawsuit against the Hansens for child support and sought to be appointed as temporary guardians of the young boy. They became involved out of frustration that no one was investigating the abandonment and endangerment of Arytom.

Local officials said there was no crime committed in their jurisdiction and therefore, no criminal charges. A Russian Court later pronounced an order that Ms. Hansen pay $2500.00 a month in child support.

The civil lawsuit brought by the adoption agency came to light when Judge Lee Russell in Tennessee ruled in November 2011 that the media could have access to the trial proceedings after the Hansons’ attorney tried to obtain an order barring the media and requesting a sealing order.

The trial is scheduled for May 2010. Meanwhile, Arytom was without a stable home until recently. He is now living with his new foster mother, teacher Vera Yegorova and her 16 other foster children under the auspices of SOS Children’s Villages. The Villages are in 133 countries and began in Austria in 1949.

His mother reports he is now doing well in school and has adapted to his new home and siblings. Ms. Yegorova learned of Arytom’s plight through the media noting that her foster son has never mentioned the traumatic events to her or acknowledged that he speaks English.

After this incident Russian barred American adoptions and has only just recently opened the door again for Americans to adopt Russian orphans.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang


7 thoughts on “What Happened to the Russian Orphan Returned to Russia by His American Mother?

  1. So what caused the kid to have behavioral problems in the first place? Was it a mental/ emotional issue? Autism? ADHD? What sort of support did the woman receive?

    1. East European orphanages are notoriously bad. Of course I’m not implying the young boy himself was bad but children in orphanages are neglected and very often abused; by the way, there’s no way these funds ($2500.00) would have gone towards the boy.

  2. I admit I haven’t read anything about this matter outside this blog entry, but have the child’s “behavioral problems” ever even been confirmed? I would certainly not trust the claims of the “parents” given their actions. Unmanageable behavior or no, you don’t stick a kid on an international flight with no arrangements made for his well-being.

    I do think there is probably more to the story, but I genuinely cannot conceive of a situation which would make it okay for anybody to do what these people have done. There is just no way that this was the only option available.

  3. Mary The child’s new foster mother has not mentioned any behavioral problems, in fact, to the contrary. I will blog again on this once the trial commences. Thanks for your interest.

  4. We adopted our son from Russia when he was 9 months old. He is now 9, he is now…a delight. He has an incredible mind, charisma, empathy, looks and is finally a good friend to others, but has required the strenght of 10 men to get him to where he is now. And he’s still quirky, but now quirky is cool ;). Behavior problems, wow, he was very agressive, fight or flight, unpredictable, life was and still is, a bit – lived on pins and needles, but he has come soo far, still never had a playdate away from home…no matter how much I researched, brought in assistance, and worked with him, his reputation was set. He is turning into the fine young man I hoped for, and I suspect will have the last laugh. He finally has a group of friends.

    My son deserved to have a chance at a better life, and I thank god I have had the determination and resources to be there 24/7. Parenting always is challenging and rewarding, but sometime one must work harder then others to pull out the rewards -a given, of course . There are time I want a plane ticket – for me, but never to send off one of my kids:). Just saying, he has been way harder then my others to parent, but I sneak into his room at night and watch him sleep – and my heart melts.

  5. Life is too short to spend it dealing with this kind of child. Better that your life be free, go any where you want, spend your money as you want.But if you really want the trouble of a kid, go to china, you’ll have less trouble. Whyyyyyy would you want a kid, at the end, you will be alone in a nursing home and your kid will neverrrr visit you!

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