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Sheriff Says Family Was Afraid of Russian Boy

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Do you think this gives her the right to send him back?

russian boy

As the controversy rages on over adoptive mother Torry Ann Hansen sending her son back to Russia, the town sheriff appeared on CBS's "The Early Show" today and explained that the family had been scared of 7-year-old Artyom Savelyev.

Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce said: "What we're getting mostly is that he had violent issues and that they were more or less afraid of him, as far as trying to burn the house while they were asleep. I think he threatened some of these things. But it's still early. We're not exactly sure what the whole deal is."

Artyom's adoptive grandmother, Nancy Hansen, told CBS: "He drew a picture of our house burning down and he'll tell anybody that he's going to burn our house down with us in it. It got to be where you feared for your safety. It was terrible."

Meanwhile, ABC reports that Russian officials say Artyom has shown no signs of the violent, psychotic behavior that Torry Ann cited as among the reasons she returned him.

No charges have been filed yet against Torry Ann Hansen or her mother, Nancy, but authorities are investigating.

Do YOU think she should be charged with a crime?

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83 comments so far | Post a comment now
Suzanne April 13, 2010, 11:59 AM

Yes, I think she did the right thing by returning the boy. If things weren’t working out, the boy would suffer and so would the parents. I think every person has a right to their own choices and who are we to condemn.

Orlena Hart April 13, 2010, 12:28 PM

I would like to think that the adoption agency should have told these people about the child’s behavior. If the adoption agency did and they still adopted him than that is on the adopted parents however if they didn’t than it is on the adoption agency.

Anonymous April 13, 2010, 12:45 PM


Melissa April 13, 2010, 1:15 PM

Sorry Nina but I completely disagree with you. And no one is saying that this child doesn’t need a loving mother/family but he does need MORE than just that. If it were your child wouldn’t you seek help that goes beyond just family? And as a parent we may be 0% certain when it comes down to our own kids, but in this case there was certainty and the mother should have been told so that she could have made the proper choice for herself and her family beforehand. Adoptive parents should have a choice. Afterall, it is their money, the future of their family, and that child. I’m sure you would want to know what you were getting yourself into and if you had to make any type of lifestyle changes to accomodate the child you plan on adopting. For example, would you adopt a child that was handicapped and not have a home that was handicap accessible or at least have the means to take care of that child to the fullest extent? While I do not believe he should have been sent back in the manner that he was, I do believe the mom had every right to make that decision. All information about this child should have been fully disclosed.

RB April 13, 2010, 1:55 PM

She should have taken the flight to Russia with him and taken him back to the orphanage in person and explained to them that he is troubled and that she cannot care for him. It was horrible to send him alone on a long flight and leave it up to the airline to figure out what was going on with an unacompanied child flying from such a long distance with no one to collect him at the airport. That was terrible! She could have also brought the orphange copies of his medical records here from the US so that they could understand. If she had thought about returning him in the right way then it would not have caused such an embarrassing and shameful international incident.

I wish she was able to keep him and could have afforded to get him professional help. All adoptive parents should be prepared emotionaly and financially that if they commit to adopting an orphan, they should stick through treatment and recovery for a child with psychological troubles - not just give up and return them like an unsatified purchase from a store. What would biological parents do with a sick child - give back the child to the hospital and say “sorry but we only wanted a healthy one, you didn’t inform us that there was something wrong with him”?

Grandy April 13, 2010, 2:27 PM

Would she have sent back a child born to her? I think the way it was done was dreadful and a crime. Also, spineless adoptive “mother” didn’t do anything herself, she let her mother do it for her. After she is charged with the crimes, she ought to be put over someone’s knee and get a paddling!!!

Jill April 13, 2010, 3:30 PM

I am an adoptive mother. Our adoption was a domestic adoption. The birthmother is from our state. This is just one reason why we would have NEVER thought about adopting from another country! This child had been in an orphanage all his life! Who truly knows what could have happened to him while he was growing up there? Or what happened to him BEFORE he came there? I have to laugh at those of you who refer to this child as “that sweet little boy”!! DO YOU KNOW HIM??? It is really not fair to anyone to make any judgements without knowing ALL the facts!

Kim April 13, 2010, 4:33 PM

I just wanted to write and say that I totally second and support everything that Kristi said! Thank you Kristi for saying exactly what I was going to write. Those of you that agree that it was fine what they did - shame on you!

FRIEDA April 13, 2010, 5:12 PM

I think it was shocking the actions this woman took with the child. If he needed some sort of help she could have found that for him instead of GIVING UP and sending him back. Says very little for her ability to raise children. I was adopted at the age of 3 and was blessed with a couple who in the elder years gave me love and raised me with values. I would never give a child up because I was SCARED of him/her. Get help for them - or is it possible the woman herself needed HELP.

Allison April 13, 2010, 6:15 PM

It wasn’t right of the family just to stick a note on him and ship him back to Russia, but if he was a little psycho, they had to remove him from their lives. I would never adopt a child from overseas, their ophranages are very questionable, they do not treat the children well, which makes them unstable.

Anonymous April 13, 2010, 6:40 PM

the kid is “defective”, case closed

lydia April 13, 2010, 9:04 PM

I think she should have engaged a big,diplomat/security guard or a legal official/designated guardian —
and, the three of them should have taken him back together…
I believe that the boy had horrendous issues but dropping him off on a plane seems wrong no matter what…

Alex Rubin April 13, 2010, 9:48 PM

Dear american women,
When you’re saying about “family in danger”, you’re forgetting that adopted child should be a part of YOUR family, not the kind of dog on a leash.

Best regards.

Pauline April 14, 2010, 9:14 AM

I think that a child who is already mentally damaged, is sad but why should this couple have to deal with the mental health of an adopted child in the first place, they are trying to do a good thing by adopting, the authorities should be held accountable for these children before they are adopted to anyone

Kathy April 14, 2010, 2:13 PM

I don’t care if the kid had mental issues. A mother does not put a child on a plane by himself and just abandon him. She took on a legal responsibility to care for him. I hope she is never allowed to adopt again. She gave up that right when she so callously dismissed this child. Yes, she should be charged with a crime. It was irresponsible and stupid.

K April 14, 2010, 2:25 PM

I find it sickening that so many people are calling this child a monster and saying they’d have done the same thing if they thought their family was in danger. My very own birth child has mental issues. He was born that way. I would never, ever give up on him and abandon him out of fear. He’s in counseling. This kid needed love, affection, and help- not being abandoned. Is it only okay because he was a Russian adoptee? Parents get no guarantees with children- birthed or adopted. If one isn’t prepared to put forth the effort to raise them into responsible adults, then one doesn’t deserve the honor of having them in the first place.

Kathy Christensen April 14, 2010, 2:32 PM

None of us know what is going on in that poor child’s mind, or with the parents and grandparents involved. We don’t live with them, and we don’t know what happened to him prior to arriving in our country. If she was treatening him, the state would take him out of the home. What happens when it is the child doing the treatening?

Joe April 14, 2010, 7:13 PM

All of the people here concluding that the mother acted wrongly need to do two things. First, they need to get all of the facts, which are sorely lacking in this brief article. Second, they need to do some research about attachment disorders. These kids can be extremely violent and extraordinarily manipulative. It’s no surprise whatsoever that he’d be evaluated and come off as a perfectly normal, innocent child. After years in orphanages, these kids learn to excel at getting glowing reviews from people they spend only a few hours with. It’s only when they’ve settled in with a new family that the real behavior comes out. Study RAD, and prepare to be shocked at the sort of behavior that’s commonplace with RAD kids, and terrified by the more extreme cases.

Anonymous April 15, 2010, 4:57 PM

YES!!! she adopted him!!! therefore he was HER child and she should be charged with neglect! i mean really! come on! ever parent goes threw tough stages with their children but that doesnt give them the right to send them off!

Amber April 16, 2010, 7:21 AM

I feel bad for the little boy. I don’t have any children myself but I do have a 7 year old little sister and I would NEVER send her ANYWHERE by herself. I honestly wish I could have been the one to adopt him. It’s really sad that Russia has halted any US Adoptions. There are lots of people that are going to suffer from that. We aren’t all unfit parents and I think the other children deserve the chance to find a good loving home and parents that will appreciate their blessings in spite of any conditions the child may have. We all know that adoption can be overwhelming for the children. You never know exactly what that child was put through.

And to Fathertime..You honestly just compared adoption to buying a car? I really hope you’re not a parent. That “animal” is a child with emotions that are most likely running wild. I can’t imagine being put through what he’s gone through and you just want to judge him? Plus, you actually think that She is a smart lady? Just shipping HER CHILD off by himself to some stranger in another country does not seem like the most intelligent thing she could have done.

I really hope she gets what she deserves,(whatever that may be) and anyone like her.

I always want to wish every parent going through the adoption process luck. I hope you find your Bundle of Joy and give and get the love that most of us…deserve.

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