An American woman who adopted a 7-year-old Russian boy and then later sent him back to Moscow on a one-way flight has been ordered to pay damages of $150,000 and cough up an additional $1,000 a month in child support.
Torry Hansen was ordered by Tennessee Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell to pay damages of $150,206 for breach of contract, legal fees and back child support for Artyom Saveliev, plus make child support payments starting June 1 until he turns 18.
In April 2010, Hansen sent the boy back to Moscow alone on a one-way international flight with a note that partially said: “I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends, and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child. As he is a Russian national, I am returning him to your guardianship,” according to CBS News.
“He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues,” she added.
Torry Hansen’s mother, Nancy, told the Associated Press that the boy was violent, saying that he drew pictures of him burning the family house down. She said they feared for their safety, and said that the Russian orphanage lied because they wanted to get rid of the boy. While the Hansens sought counseling about the issue, she never brought Saveliev to see a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Hansen’s adoption agency, World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP). filed a lawsuit in May 2010 against Hansen and her mother Nancy, seeking child support in Bedford County, where she was living at the time.
The child recently celebrated his 10th birthday in Russia. Hansen did not appear in court Thursday, but had hired a court reporter to document the hour-long hearing.
“We are pleased and overjoyed that justice has finally been done on behalf of this little boy, whose only desire was to become a U.S. citizen,” WACAP’s attorney, Larry Crain, said following the hearing.
The awarded judgement was based on the breach of the contract Torry Hansen signed in August 2009, when she agreed to provide all costs for care of the child, including medical expenses, if he was ever removed from the home.
“It was her decision to breach that contract and return the child to Russia … and it triggered that obligation,” Larry Crain said. He also explained that $1,000 per month would go into a special account set aside for the boy “to provide for his future.”
Judge Russell heard testimony from WACAP president Lillian Thogersen, who explained that adopted mother Torry Hansen applied for the adoption in August 2008, which was followed by a “home study” of the family, with the adoption approved on Sept. 29, 2009. When that occurred, Artyom automatically became a U.S. citizen, and remains one, Thogersen explained.
Thogersen said they learned of that Torry Hansen had abandoned the boy when he arrived at the Russian orphanage alone with a note tied around his neck. At first, there was talk of bringing the boy back to America and a foster family was even set up, but then the media storm over the incident erupted, bringing that plan to a halt.
The Hansens never appeared in court over the charges. Nancy Hansen, Torry’s mother, told reporters that her daughter has no legal obligation or duties for the child, claiming that the Russian Federation Supreme Court had annulled the adoption.
According to an Associated Press update on his story in April 2012, the adopted, but returned child Artyom Saveliev, now lives in a village made up of foster families outside of Moscow. When asked if he wanted to return to America, he shivered and yelled “No!” He refuses to speak in English, and has had to go through extensive counseling and speech therapy to start communicating again.
Last month, Torry Hansen asked a California Superior Court judge to enforce the Russian court ruling that annulled the adoption. She is currently suing 2 individuals representing the Russian orphanage where the boy was, with the complaint stating that enforcing the judgment of the foreign court would allow her to avoid paying child support in this country.
Below is the news report from April 2010, when the child was first returned to Russia: