Russians Want Woman to Support Adopted Child She Sent Back

Filed under: Adoption, In The News

Hey, you break it, you buy it.

Or, at the very least, you pay child support. This could be store policy when you treat a kid like a Blue Light Special at Kmart.

Torry Hansen of Shelbyville, Tenn., adopted a boy from Russia and made national headlines in April when she stuck the boy on a plane by himself with a note saying she didn't want him after all.

Hansen handled the adoption through the World Association for Children and Parents. Now, the Associated Press reports, organization officials have gone to court, with the support of Russian authorities, demanding that Hansen pay $2,500 a month to care for the 8-year-old boy.

Her attorneys say forget it.

The demand for child support was filed with the juvenile court in Shelbyville. Hansen's attorney at the time, Trisha Henegar, argued in court documents late last month that the juvenile court lacks jurisdiction to order child support because Tennessee is not the boy's "home state," adding that termination of Hansen's parental rights is being handled by a Russian court.

Henegar further argued that Tennessee state law defines the "home state" as where a child lived with a parent for at least six months. The boy, who was named Justin Hansen but is known as Artyom Savelyev in Russia, reportedly lived with Hansen in Shelbyville less than six months before he was sent back.

The National Council for Adoption, an adoption advocacy group that joined in the petition against Hansen, has been trying to persuade a court in Moscow to postpone terminating Hansen's parental rights.

Her client "will not have to pay child support in Tennessee once her rights are terminated and will not be held criminally liable," Henegar writes in court documents.

However, the case is complicated. Russian authorities claim it is Hansen gumming up the process of terminating her parental rights.

The Moscow Times reports Russian children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov says Hansen is delaying the process with "cynic slyness" aimed to avoid making child support payments.

He adds the boy can't be adopted by another family until Hansen gives up her parental rights.

Since filing her arguments in December, Hansen has hired a new attorney, Jennifer Thompson. Thompson is not speaking with the press.

For now, the boy lives in a Russian orphanage. The note Hansen sent with him in April said she couldn't handle him because he had psychological problems.

Neither Hansen or her mother, Nancy Hansen (who put the child on the plane), have been criminally charged.



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