Parents of troubled boy adopted from Russia reach settlement with Bethany Christian Services
March 31, 2011
By: John Agar
GRAND RAPIDS – A Virginia couple who accused Bethany Christian Services of misrepresenting severe medical problems of a Russian boy they adopted have reached a settlement with the agency, federal court records showed.
The settlement, which awaits a judge's signature today, is confidential. A judge had earlier dismissed claims by the child.
Julie and William “Chip” Harshaw say their son, Roman, 9, suffered fetal-alcohol system. They said he is prone to anger and violence and requires around-the-clock care. The couple, with two biological children, have said he turned their lives upside down.
“He has no understanding of cause-and-effect and consequences,” Julie Harshaw told The Press last years. “When they don't understand that, you're basically having the same day, over and over again. Nothing is retained. Nothing is understood.”
While he had some good days, others were “an all-out war.”
The couple, who adopted the boy on Jan. 27, 2004, when he was nearly 2, worked with Grand Rapids-based Bethany's Virginia Beach office. They said they agreed to accept a child with very minor medical problems, and were led to believe that the boy was healthy.
They said the boy will need help all of his life.
Bethany maintained that its international adoption process is a "rigorous program that includes substantial, mandatory training and counseling for the adoptive parents."
The Harshaws were told that children from other countries can have problems because of institutionalization, medical conditions and abuse, the agency said in the lawsuit.
Attorneys for both parties signed a settlement that awaits approval by U.S. District Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody.