Russia Furious Over Adopted Boy Sent Back From US
The country threatened to suspend adoptions by U.S. families after the seven-year-old was sent back to Moscow on a one-way flight.
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"Child abandonment of any kind is reprehensible," said Chuck Johnson, acting CEO of the National Council For Adoption. "The actions of this mother are especially troubling because an already vulnerable, innocent child has been further victimized."Skip to next paragraph
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The boy arrived unaccompanied in Moscow on a United Airlines flight on Thursday from Washington. Social workers sent him to a Moscow hospital for a health checkup and criticized his adoptive mother for abandoning him.
The Kremlin children's rights office said the boy was carrying a letter from his adoptive mother saying she was returning him due to severe psychological problems.
"This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues," the letter said. "I was lied to and misled by the Russian Orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues. ...
"After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends, and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child."
The boy was adopted in September from the town of Partizansk in Russia's Far East.
Nancy Hansen, the grandmother, told The Associated Press that she and the boy flew to Washington and she put the child on the plane with the note from her daughter. She vehemently rejected assertions of child abandonment by Russian authorities, saying he was watched over by a United Airlines stewardess and the family paid a man $200 to pick the boy up at the Moscow airport and take him to the Russian Education and Science Ministry.
Nancy Hansen said a social worker checked on the boy in January and reported to Russian authorities that there were no problems. But after that, the grandmother said incidents of hitting, kicking, spitting began to escalate, along with threats.
She said she and her daughter went to Russia together to adopt the boy, and she believes information about his behavioral problems was withheld from her daughter.
"The Russian orphanage officials completely lied to her because they wanted to get rid of him," Nancy Hansen said.
She said the boy was very skinny when they picked him up, and he told them he had been beaten with a broom handle at the orphanage.
Joseph LaBarbera, a clinical psychologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said adoptive parents are many times not aware of the psychological state of children put up for adoption.
"Parents enter into it (foreign adoption) with positive motivations but, in a sense, they are a little bit blindsided by their desire to adopt," said LaBarbera, who specializes in the psychological evaluation of children and has worked with a number of children adopted from Russia and other foreign countries. "They're not prepared to appreciate, psychologically, the kinds of conditions these kids have been exposed to and the effect it has had on them."
Russian state television showed the child in a yellow jacket holding the hands of two chaperones as he left a police precinct and entered a van bound for a Moscow medical clinic.
The U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, said he was "deeply shocked by the news" and "very angry that any family would act so callously toward a child that they had legally adopted."
Anna Orlova, a spokeswoman for Kremlin's Children Rights Commissioner, told The Associated Press that she visited the boy and he told her that his mother was "bad," "did not love him," and used to pull his hair.