I remember having mixed feelings when I read that Tennessee mom Torry Hansen had returned to Moscow the 7-year-old boy she adopted in 2009 with a note that said he was violent, unbalanced and that she no longer wanted him.
She put her son, Artyom Saveliev, on a flight with a backpack full of clothes, his Russian passport, a U.S. visa and the note canceling the adoption.
There have been times when my son 2-year-old son, Jonathan, has taken the last good nerve I had left and stomped on it, pulled at it, yanked it, twisted it, bended it and tossed it in the trash. And it was usually because he was having a bad day: teething, catching a cold, gas or simply not getting his way.
At those moments (which I know are far from over) I remember praying he would feel better and then go to sleep so that I could have a moment to regroup, re-energize and figure out how to better care for him. There has never been a moment of regret or where I thought, I can’t handle this, let me give him up.
Even though Hansen and I became mothers in different ways, we both made a conscious decision to do so. I, however, could never walk away from my son.
I also realize that my bond with Jonathan began long before he was born: the first time I heard his heart beat, the first time I felt his love taps which later became painful kicks, and the first time I saw his face in a 3-D sonogram. By the time I had given birth I was bursting at the seams with love for him.
While I’m happy that Artyom did not become the victim of abuse and suffer a fate far worse than being returned to his native Russia, where he is now living in a group home outside of Moscow, I feel like Hansen gave up. But what do I know, I didn’t live in their home.
Unfortunately for Hansen, she will have ties to Artyom for far longer than she anticipated. On May 15, a Tennessee judge ruled that she must pay $150,000 in various fees, including $58,000 already spent for the child’s support and medical care, $29,000 to the adoption agency and nearly $63,000 in attorney fees. She must also pay $1,000 a month in child support until Artyom, who is now 9, turns 18 years old.
Do you agree with the judge’s ruling? Should Tory Hansen be financially responsible for the adoptive child no longer in her care?
Picture: Artyom Saveliev, 9, in a recent picture taken at the group home where he lives outside of Moscow.