Saturday, July 14, 2012

Adoptive Mother Ordered to Pay $150,000 for Child She Abandoned

Torry Hansen
 Before I get to the massive amount of child support Torry Hansen now owes for the care of Artyom Avaeliev, I need to give you a little background on this story. Artyom was adopted from Russia by Hansen and apparently the novelty of being an adoptive mother wore off. Hansen wrote a note saying she no longer wanted to be Artyom’s mother, gave it to the 7-year-old boy and put him on a plane, alone, back to Russia. This incredibly callous move turned out to be detrimental not only to Artyom, but to other children in Russia that were awaiting adoption, as Hansen cruel actions contributed to a decision by Russia to delay adoptions by parents in the United States. Russia recently approved a new agreement with the United States that gives the country greater power to regulate international adoptions.

Artyom Avaeliev
The adoption agency Hansen went through to adopt Artyom, The World Association for Children and Parents, sued Hansen last year for child support. Hansen has been doing her damnedest to contest the child support, while also neglecting to respond to summons to appear in court or show up for depositions. It appears Torry Hansen believes she shouldn’t be held responsible for the care of Artyom because he was a flawed and allegedly violent child. According to Nancy Hansen, Torry’s mother, Artyom was returned because he developed serious behavioral problems, claiming he hit, screamed and spit at Torry. She also claimed the boy threatened to burn down the Hansen home and kill family members. In court, Torry Hansen herself said, “Without going into depth, I can say he was very violent. I can say he wanted to kill me and he tried to kill my sister.” She said Artyom threatened to stab her mother to death and then turned on the tears while describing how the violent threats had sent her mother to the emergency room.

What I find funny about all that, is that Hansen then said, "That was when my parents decided to take him, because he was so violent.” Now, didn’t this kid’s supposedly horrid behavior and threats just drive her mother to be admitted to the emergency room, but now her parents are taking the child in? That doesn’t quite add up, but okay. Hansen also said it was her parents’ decision to send Artyom back to Russia alone on a plane, but that she agreed with the decision. She must have, right, since she wrote that lovely note declaring she no longer wanted her adopted son. In court, Hansen tried to claim her precious lawyers did not keep her informed about the goings on in the case and told her she didn’t have to go to court. She also used the birth of her daughter as an excuse, saying she couldn’t come to court because of the pregnancy.

During cross examination, Hansen admitted she had never called the police or Tennessee’s Department of Children’s services about his behavioral issues. She said she “called numerous psychologists and was told there would be a 6-week wait to get in.” She was asked if she knew a Russian court determined her actions constituted neglect and abuse. Her answer was that she was “aware that they felt putting him on the plane was emotionally disturbing,” but also claimed she has “never mistreated or abused him or any child.” Apparently, Hansen doesn’t understand how horribly she traumatized this child by making him feel unwanted and unloved and sending him on a flight alone to Russia with a note saying she didn’t want to be his mom. Larry Crain, the attorney for the adoption agency, said Artyom spent six weeks in a psychiatric hospital when he was returned to Russia due to the trauma he experienced.

The good news is that the Judge wasn’t buying Hansen’s bullshit, saying she had not cooperated with the court, and upheld the judgment against Hansen, ordering her to pay the $150,000 in child support. Her attorney, Edward Yarbrough, said Hansen has been making child support payments and will continue to, but that his client still has options, like appealing the order or requesting a modification to it. What I found funny was the comments left on the articles for this case. Some people bitched about the amount, while others said the money should go straight to Artyom. What they don’t seem to understand, is that Artyom is living in a group home now and the child support pays for the expense of caring for him. Hansen legally adopted him, which makes him her son by law and since she abandoned him, she is financially responsible for him. If she had given birth to him and abandoned him, she’d be facing criminal charges, which she’s avoided in this case, and once he became a ward of the court, she’d be paying them child support. So either way, she would have to pay, but unfortunately she got away with the abandonment. Hopefully, her new baby girl turns out perfect or we may hear about her writing a note and dumping that child off somewhere, too.

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