Russian boy abandoned: U.S. mother who sent boy back to Russia must pay child support
An American woman who sent the Russian boy she adopted back to Moscow on a one-way flight has been ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in child support.
Torry Hansen will have to pay a lump sum of $150,000 to the child she named Justin but later abandoned, as well as $1,000 per month until he is an adult.
On Thursday a judge in Bedford County, Tennessee ruled that she must begin making the child support payments in June and continue to pay until the boy, who is now 10 years old, turns 18.
Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell said the $150,000 Hansen must pay includes damages for breach of contract, legal fees and support for the boy.
Tennessee nurse Torry Hansen took a trip to Russia in 2009 and met Artem, who she renamed Justin, in an orphanage. Their meeting is pictured here
Hansen sent Artem Saveliev back to Russia in April 2010 with a letter saying the child was disturbed and violent and she did not want him anymore.
The case created an international uproar and prompted Russia to temporarily halt its adoption program with the U.S.
The World Association for Children and Parents, which helped Hansen adopt the child, then filed a lawsuit seeking child support.
Hansen has since moved to Redding, California and has failed to show up at any of the hearings, said Larry Crain, an attorney for the adoption agency.
She has hired a series of three Tennessee lawyers to represent her but the most recent one, he said, has been granted permission to leave the case. She did, however, hire a court reporter to attend the hearing.
Artem, who is now nearly ten, lives in a suburb of Moscow with his foster parents and other children who are having difficulties finding adoptive parents
Hansen filed a lawsuit last month in California against representatives of a Russian orphanage saying the Russian Federation Supreme Court annulled the adoption.
“In doing so, it denied defendants the ability to recover a sum of money in the form of child support from plaintiff,” the suit says.
Hansen wants the California court to recognise the Russian decision.
Adoption advocates hailed the Tennessee court order as a measure of justice for the boy, and said the judge”s decision would show there are consequences to abandoning adopted children.
Hansen apparently never told social workers that she was having problems with the boy.
The agency sued Hansen to deter others from doing anything similar and to show the Russians that “you cannot do this in America and get away with it,” Mr Crain said.
“It has certainly caused concern on the part of Russian officials that unless there are consequences when a parent abandons a child placed in their home, there”s a need for safeguards to make sure this never occurs,” he added.
The judge said in his order that when Hansen adopted the boy she signed a contract acknowledging that it was possible the child could have physical, emotional or behaviour problems that were unreported and even unknown to the adoption agency.
Lee said $58,000 of the $150,000 will pay for the past two years” worth of support and medical fees for the boy in Russia.
Court documents say the boy was hospitalised for three weeks after he returned to Moscow, but they do not say what he was treated for.
He was later moved to an orphanage and then sent to another institution.