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Russia suspends American adoptions, the adoption industry tries to pretend the Artem’s case is not part of a broader pattern

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The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. Obviously events are unfolding more quickly than even those who update far more often than I can keep up with, let alone my little blog.

The big news tonight is that Russia has put a freeze on all US adoptions until Russia and the US can come to an agreement on terms relating to those inter-country adoptions, (most likely adding additional follow up for Russian children, who remain Russian citizens after adoption) and sign a treaty to that effect.

To those of us who have been following the circumstances leading up to this suspension over the course of years now, none of this comes as a surprise, particularly since Russia had come right up to this brink in the last major US/Russian adoption related incident, (see my posts on Dmitry Yakolev.)

To understand the process by which things came to this critical point, one first has to understand the broader context.

Marley Greiner/Bastardette has been tracking some of the Russian adoptee murders and other forms of abuse, such as the high profile case of Masha (“Allen”) who was adopted by pedophile Matthew Mancuso on her blog “NIKTO NE ZABYT — NICHTO NE ZABYTO/Nobody is forgotten. Nothing is forgotten. A memoriam for Russian adoptees abused and murdered by their forever families.”

Be certain to see her overview Cases: Forever Family, Forever Dead.

Scrolling back through the posts and cases provides a great deal of background to how this level of frustration and anger has built over time.

Also be sure to see her overview of the consequences (and lack thereof) to the adoptive parents, The Russian Adopted Dead: a review of killers and sentences.

I have also done a scant few posts about some of the Russian Adooptees: Masha, Dennis Uritsky here in Maryland and somewhat more in-depth coverage of essentially the last major international incident concerning American adopters of a dead Russian adoptee, the sad death of Dmitry Yakolev/ Chase Harrison.

With that as backgrounder, we then come to the events of the last 24 hours.

Start with this lengthy video segment from Russia Today,

Clearly, each and every system in place to prevent such failed one by one, falling like dominoes.

After the 11 hour flight from DC back to Moscow he was brought to the Russian Education and Science Ministry Thursday afternoon by a man who had apparently been paid $200 by the adoptive mother to meet the boy’s United Airlines flight when it arrived. He had been adopted a mere 6 months ago.

While it’s unclear what Artem had been told about the trip, we have details such as these beginning to emerge:

The online website said the child had almost completely forgotten how to speak Russian during his time in the United States, and answered questions posed to him in his native language in English. He said his adoptive grandparents were “good” but his mother was “very bad”, claimed the website. During his time in the US, he had been given a new name – Justin Hansen.

Allegedly he was told by his adoptive mother, from Shelbyville, Tennessee, that he was going on an excursion to Russia and would return home to the US in a couple of weeks. “His adoptive mother beat him and pulled him by the hair,” said Pavel Astakhov, the Russian president’s human rights ombudsman. “Reminding him of her makes him cry.”

At the orphanage in the far eastern town of Partizansk, where the child lived before he was adopted, teachers denied that he had psychological problems. “He’s a smart, clever kid,” said Svetlana Glukhovtseva. “He took in everything we taught him very well.”

Anyone with a shred of empathy can sympathize with the betrayal he must have felt upon realizing that far from some kind of “excursion,” his new “forever mommy” had decided to ship him off as if taking the boy to a returns department.

The Russian media is running with the “returned purchase” meme and I’m convinced, it’s a very valid analogy. They, like many of us Bastards, recognize the American adoptive mother is attempting to pass Artem off as nothing more than ‘defective merchandise’, and are furious at the callousness of her these actions.

There have been promises of an investigation here on the American end to see whether or not any laws were broken, I can only hope such would take into account not merely the actions of these individuals, but the entire system that enabled this human rights travesty.

Children are not objects.

They should not be treated as such.

They should not be purchased, nor purchase-able.

Artem was not treated as a family member, he was treated as little more than an allegedly ‘broken item’ shipped back to the manufacturer.

Now that he’s back in Russia, the Russian media are reporting he will likely go back into the child welfare system after first receiving physical and psychological examinations and some counseling. The language barrier alone may make him feel all the more isolated in his home country.

Bastardette blogged about Artyom Saveliev / Artem Saveliev /Artem Justin Hansen’s flight last night,  LEAVIN’ ON A JET PLANE: RUSSIAN ADOPTEE DUMPED ON PLANE, SENT BACK TO RUSSIA

Throughout the day today, she has posted several updates:

First an initial update that includes a variety of images relating to the case: Artem’s official adoption listing profile on the Russian government website prior to the adoption, and “after pictures” both with his “Forever Family” adoptive Mommy, Torry Ann Hansen and upon arrival back in Russia at the Domodedovo Airport. Bastardette also includes the image of the note that was sent with Artem on his journey to the ‘returns department.’


Later on, she added a second update about the Renton Washington agency that placed him, WAPAC, World Association for Children and Parents. WAPAC is Council on Accreditation (COA) accredited and a Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) and National Council for Adoption (NCFA) member. Earlier today, the Russian government suspended WAPAC’s Russian operations.

She also points out the possibility that Torry Hansen may have been elligible to adopt the boy at a greatly discounted price at the time.

As WAPAC was in Washington State (and ultimately responsible for the placement) and the Hansens live in Tennessee, there have been some questions as to who did the home study.

See Bastardette’s post:


I don’t have video up at the moment, but Bastardette also appeared on Russian Today this afternoon to speak about the case. Other American adoptees are also speaking out about this case.

In this link’s video segment you get a feel for the American Home the boy was placed into.

Meanwhile on the American end, pieces such as this are appearing attempting to put forward a bit more of the adoptive Mother Torry Hansen and Adoptive Grandmother, Nancy Hansen’s perspective on the incident:

Russia threatens to suspend US adoptions after woman sends 7-year-old boy back to Moscow alone

The article also contains preposterous nonsense such as this from adoption industry lobbyists, NCFA, desperately trying to maintain Russia as a sending country:

“Child abandonment of any kind is reprehensible,” said Chuck Johnson, acting CEO of the National Council For Adoption.

NCFA associated individuals have been key to how the baby dump laws, (often call “Baby Moses Laws” or “Safe Haven” laws) legalizing child abandonment came to pass here in the United States. For this latest incarnation of NCFA to decry child abandonment is for them to deny their own organizational history!

But clearly there’s another, more pertinent reason NCFA and JCICS are issuing releases and working hard behind the scenes on this case right now, even above and beyond their desires to keep Russia a “sending country”, WAPAC is one of their own.


Neither NCFA nor JCICS mention that WAPAC is their own member agency (see here and here), as they desperately run around try to sell the it’s an “isolated incident” line, pretending that this latest outrage is not situated firmly within a vast pattern of ongoing history of cases pertaining to what Russian adoptees have suffered at the hands of their American adopters: abuse, starvation, beatings, murders, being adopted by a pedophile, left to die in hot cars in summer, and now sent back alone on an international flight.

“Isolated incident” my ass.

Well, in yet another instance of details coming in faster than I can blog, let me add a brief postscript of sorts to my above post.

Go see this piece from CNN in which the adoptive granmother claims she was following online instructions from a lawyer:

Nancy Hansen, the Tennessee woman who put Justin Hansen on the plane in Washington, insisted she did not abandon the child, but was following instructions from a lawyer she found online.


When the lawyer she found online advised her the adoption could be reversed, Hansen booked the flight and paid the fee for a steward to escort Justin through the airport, she said.

She hired a driver in Moscow she found online to pick the child up from the Moscow airport, she said. She found “safe references” for the driver online, she said.

She then prepared a letter for Justin to present to Russian officials, which included a photo of the driver, whom she identified as “Arthur,” she said.

and we hear from the agency, World Association for Children and Parents for the first time:

The Seattle-based agency which Hansen said her daughter used to coordinate the adoption said it found out about Justin’s return only Friday.

“We were alerted to this situation by our branch office in Moscow, Russia, and are shocked and saddened by this turn of events,” said a spokeswoman for the World Association for Children and Parents.

In the 1 percent of the cases where the dissolution of an adoption has been needed, the agency “has always supported and worked closely with [adoptive] parents to assist the child in moving into a new adoptive family,” she said.

See this comment left over on Bastardette’s blog by an anonymous commenter for more details.

3 Responses to “Russia suspends American adoptions, the adoption industry tries to pretend the Artem’s case is not part of a broader pattern”

  1. Sheila Says:

    Wow, thank you VERY much for being so indepth about the background and history of this problem. It was a very hard thing to swallow with the NPR news saying it was very rare to have such a case, etc. But for Russia to all of a sudden freeze adoptions to the U.S. for this story is odd. Like you said, there is more to it and there has been a pattern/history. Thanks for being so well read and willing to post what you know! Do we know what will happen to Artem’s adoptive mom?

  2. Baby Love Child Says:

    Thanks Shelia. Put simply this has been a long time coming.

    If readers look through my link to my writings on Dmitry, they will see how up to the brink Russia came to closing the last time a Russian adoptee died as a result of the actions of his American adoptive father.

    Perhaps it was due to the ‘accidental’ nature of the death, but Russia held off and gave America another chance. Artem’s case then has been a “last straw.”

    As for his adoptive “mommy” and “grandmother,” authorities are currently trying to determine whether or not American laws were broken and whether or not they will be charged.

    My personal GUESS would be that charges would be brought, if for no other reason than to try to show the Russians that America believes it can handle these cases without a treaty.

    The odds of Russia buying that though seem slim to none. They’ve tried repeatedly to get better follow up without an inter-country treaty only to end up with more dead children.

    In short, they’ve tried it the way America is pushing for, it hasn’t worked.

    I don’t think they’d even consider trying again without a treaty at this point.

    That’s just my opinion, based on what I’ve seen.

  3. Baby Love Child Says:

    Update on WACAP and NCFA:

    In the above post I linked to pound pup legacy’s listing of WACAP as a NCFA member as the NCFA agency membership directory portion of the website was down yesterday when I wrote this post.

    Sure enough, apparently NCFA was busy scrubbing WACAP out of the online directory.

    Fortunately, longtime NCFA watcher JoAnne Swanson managed to capture “before” and “after” screenshots before WACAP’s listing as a NCFA member came down off the site.

    Bastardette has a full post on the incident, Rub-a-dub-dub: WACAP scrubbed from NCFA membership page. Her post contains the screen shot images.

    No other announcement of WACAP being removed from the NCFA directory has appeared on the NCFA website.

    Interesting to note, the clean-up took place just as the AP article with the Chuck Johnson quote was hitting internationally.

    Chuck and others at NCFA may want to make their history disappear, but Bastards have an uncanny knack when it comes to reminding the industry of its own history.

    Just like the sealed adoption records system NCFA was created to preserve, Bastards continue to ferret out the uncomfortable truths.

    JoAnne and Marley have once again, fought to ensure genuine history, not propaganda carries the day.

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