Torry Hansen says the 7-year-old boy she adopted from Russia last September was too much to handle. Describing him as a “wild child” and claiming he suffered from “severe psychopathic issues,” she made arrangements to return him to the orphanage from which he came. Unfortunately, those arrangements did not involve actually telling Russian officials that she was sending him back.
According to officials, the boy’s adoptive grandmother, Nancy Hansen, flew with Justin from his home in Tennessee to Washington, D.C. There, she bought a one-way ticket, paid the airline a fee to keep an eye on the child and put him on a plane to Moscow. Alone. With a note in his pocket and a photo of a man she hired through the Internet to meet him at the other end.
What could lead a parent to send a young child away so abruptly and cruelly? Nancy Hansen says the problems began at the Russian orphanage long before Justin was adopted by her daughter. According to her, as Justin learned to speak English with his new family, he began to describe the abuse he says he suffered while living in the Russian orphanage. Claiming he was beaten by the orphanage staff, Hansen says Justin told of an incident in which he burned down a building near the orphanage.
This, the Hansen family claims, was news to them. They say they were unaware of any problems with Justin prior to his adoption and claim Russian authorities lied to them when they said he was a normal, healthy child.
Nancy Hansen tells the Associated Press that within months of arriving in America, Justin’s behavior became worrisome. She says he was prone to hitting, screaming and threatening family members. She says he had a “hit list” of people he wanted dead, including his adoptive mother and brother.
While it isn’t clear whether the family asked for help from Wacap, the agency through which Justin was adopted, they claim to have done all they could to help the troubled boy. According to Nancy Hansen, that help involved seeking advice from a psychologist, although she admits that he was never actually seen by a mental health professional.
The last straw, she says, was when Justin was discovered lighting papers on fire in his bedroom. Worried about their own safety, she and her daughter decided that it was time for him to go.
While it is unclear if Torry and Nancy Hansen broke any laws, officials are investigating. But regardless of what happens to them, the damage has been done — to Justin and quite possibly other Russian children waiting to be adopted. In response to the incident, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a Russian TV channel that all future adoptions by Americans have been banned pending a new agreement with the United States to regulate them.
As for Justin, he is now claiming that his American family abused him. Through tears, he told Russian authorities that his adoptive grandmother regularly shouted at him and his mother pulled his hair.
There are at least three sides to every story and somewhere in there lies the truth. But I think it is safe to assume that this child had some issues and needed help. But even if Russian officials kept Justin’s psychological problems a secret and the Hansens found themselves with a damaged little boy on their hands, he was now their damaged little boy. And it was his new family’s responsibility to get him the help he needed. Not get rid of him.
Image: Daily Mail
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