Russian Adoptions Slow but not Stopped a Year after Uproar

[This article referes to the Artem Justin Hansen (Artem Saveliev) case, and adoptive mother, Torry Hansen.]

By Blake Farmer

April 7,2011 / wpln.org

It was a year ago this week that a small town nurse in Shelbyville put the international adoption world into an uproar. Fearful of her newly adopted son, she sent the 7-year-old back to Moscow on a one-way trip.

 

Russian adoptions had already been on a steady decline. Russian officials threatened to suspend placements with U.S. families altogether. But the adoption pipeline was never completely shutoff.

Children like Anastasia Tomlinson still made their way to the U.S. Her placement with a family in Brentwood was very nearly ruined by that other family in the state.

As a woman named Torry Hansen was sending her son back to Russia, saying he had psychological problems, Wayne Tomlinson and his wife were finalizing Anna’s adoption.

“Before we caught the plane from Moscow to her city of Novosibirske, that’s when we got a call from our agency saying you’re not going to be heard,” he says.

Russian authorities had suspended the license of their agency, the same organization working with the Hansen family.

“Well it was crushing,” Tomlinson says. “Anna had her suitcase packed. She was ready to come.”

Aware of the Risks

Because of the adoption-gone-wrong, the Tomlinson’s had to start at square one with another agency. Still, they completed the process by year’s end. And along the way, Tomlinson says, they were made well-aware of the risks.

“We had been through the same coursework,” he says. “You were trained and you were taught about all the behaviors that are possible, and a lot of them are not pretty.”

Linda Ashford is a psychologist and says anyone savvy enough to adopt internationally should be able to find her International Adoption Clinic at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, especially if a child is threatening to burn the house down, as the Hansen family has indicated.

Ashford says Russian orphans come from a hostile environment.

“Love is not enough to fix and repair these attachment, psychological issues that in some ways can scar some of these children for life,” Ashford says.

Still, there’s never an excuse for turning your back on a child, she says.

Never Charged

While the Hansen case seems straightforward, law enforcement has been unable to charge the woman with a crime. It’s difficult to say if the boy was abandoned in a legal sense, and if so, where.

Until she’s charged with something, Torry Hansen won’t talk to investigators, much less the media, like CNN, who’ve tried staking out her house.

“It just amazes me that someone can place a child, their child, on an airplane and to another country unaccompanied, and that that’s not a crime,” says Chuck Johnson, president of the National Council for Adoption.

Johnson has all but given up on criminal charges. His group is helping Russian authorities seek child support from the mother. Johnson says it’s the least she could do to help the U.S. mend relations with Russia. The two countries are working to finalize a new intercountry adoption agreement now.

“I think we’re close to being back to normal,” he says. “Of course, it will be the new normal. I don’t think we’ll ever see a return to the glory days.”

The glory days were in 2004 when nearly 6,000 children were adopted from Russia. Because of the Hansen incident and others, that figure was down to roughly a thousand placements in 2010.

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The role of the adoption agency, and adoption advocates

In another thread, we discussed the value of good parenting classes, and why adoption agencies need to care about little things, like the effects of stress, abuse and neglect on a child.  These agencies are being paid to help prepare the PAP for what adoption may bring them. These PAP's need to be warned, educated and given the option to accept the challenge put before them, or remove their name from the adoption pool, before a child is placed in their care.   [See:  Child abuse permanently modifies stress genes in brains of suicide victims ]

Unfortunately there are those agencies/AP's who think learning how to scrap-book is more important than brain chemistry, and future home-life with a traumatized/culture-shocked "orphan".

But look how Chuck Johnson, useless token adoption boob president of National Council for Adoption (NCFA) , responds to this sensitive adoption subject-matter, one year later:

“It just amazes me that someone can place a child, their child, on an airplane and to another country unaccompanied, and that that’s not a crime,” says Chuck Johnson, president of the National Council for Adoption.

Johnson has all but given up on criminal charges. His group is helping Russian authorities seek child support from the mother. Johnson says it’s the least she could do to help the U.S. mend relations with Russia. The two countries are working to finalize a new intercountry adoption agreement now.

“I think we’re close to being back to normal,” he says. “Of course, it will be the new normal. I don’t think we’ll ever see a return to the glory days.”

Chuck, for the sake of adoptable children and their new parents, I pray to God you never see your glory days ever again.

<shaking head in disgust at America's adoption policies/interests>

The Glory Days?

What appears to be a slow shake of the head, is taken as a satisfactory response to an appalling situation?

And a statement like this, "“I think we’re close to being back to normal,” means that all is well in Adoptionland...?   I see the decline of adoptions in Russia as a sign that the sending country doesn't think so. 

SOMEONE needs to step back and take a closer look at what happened.  I feel this situation, where an AP can just put a child on a plane and send them back to their birth country, may become a landmark case, where others may latch onto and do the same. 

It just shows the rest of the world that Americans are not to be trusted; but hasn't the rest of the world been saying this for years?

Teddy

the Sending message

a statement like this, "“I think we’re close to being back to normal,” means that all is well in Adoptionland...?   I see the decline of adoptions in Russia as a sign that the sending country doesn't think so. 

Sending countries try to shut their doors, but what do angry "entitled" American adopters do?

They write letters, and send petitions to local politicians, religious groups/leaders, and of course, people like Hillary R. Clinton (awarded by the NCFA, and member of CCAI ).  [See:  Letter of congress to Secretary of State Clinton regarding adoption from Guatemala ]

<exasperated sigh>

Meanwhile.... what's the underlying message, when a (sending/receiving) country, like the USA, refuses to ratify a trade agreement?

Hint:  Article 21, of the UNCRC.

There's too much money to be had in ICA... too much.  This is why radical change and adoption reform will not happen in the USA.

<long disgusted shake of my fed-up mind>

I appreciate...

All the attached information that comes within Kerry and Niels posts.  Sometimes I have no clue what is being inferred without reading the information so easily accessible. I may think one way, but after reading the older posts and tie-ins, I go away with more to think about; sometimes maybe not seeing it exactly their way, but assured that ALL the information available on this subject is right there for my reading.  I also appreciate the fact that all these subjects pertaining to children and their God given right to be safe and loved and cherished, are stated from many points of view.  This is not a RANT session here, folks, but a down to earth and genuine quest to find the right answers, and getting something done.  Thank you.

Teddy

[sad nod]

People have every reason to be angry.  At PPL, we try to show why. 

I'm not the crazy cat-lady, trying to convince people to believe I'm a good smart decent person. I just happen to know a thing or two about corrupt politics and messed-up Afamilies with a lot of power and influence. I'm "lucky".  For some reason, this difficult path was chosen for me.  [I don't know why....]

I am grateful for the AP's, and those not affiliated with the adoption industry, who take the time to follow our links. THEY [the Good Guys] are the ones who will take what we have collected here, and digest what it all means.  (After 13+ years trying to educate adoptees and birth parents, it seems my stories, and the facts I find, all fall on partially blind and deaf ears.)

I actually have faith, that one day things in Adoptionland WILL get better.  I just hope I live long enough to see it, myself.

a grain of mustard seed...

Faith the size of a grain of mustard seed... plus ad that to one more and then another, until it rolls down the hill as a snowball and becomes HUGE!  That's what is needed.

When attempting  "For some reason, this difficult path was chosen for me,"  you need to remember where you started, and compare it to where you are now.  How much knowledge have you gained?  An ENORMOUS amount.  Would you have thought Teddy could eventually have "seen the light" those 8 years ago when we "met?"  No one understood why I was here a few years back... and the things I had to say, to UNDERSTAND for myself how abuse can happen.

We come at this situation from both sides of the equation.  And we have met in the middle of understanding and acceptance, that not ALL AP's are abusers, and not ALL adoptive children are the problem.  And as I join my "faith" with yours, we become stronger in the effort to believe that "one day, things in Adoptionland WILL get better."

Teddy

Word from Russia is....

Russia may sign an agreement with the United States (to ensure the safety of Russian children adopted by U.S. families), next month.

According to published reports,

"This issue is under the personal control of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton," Pavel Astakhov said a news conference on Friday.

[From:  Russia-U.S. adoption treaty to be signed in May, April 8, 2011 ]

It's interesting to note what "official reports" have to say about the care and treatment given to foreign adoptees, when placed in American adoptive homes:

Astakhov said in January that 17 Russian children have died in the United States as a result of child abuse since the adoptions started more than 15 years ago.

The latest official figures show that about 60,000 children born in Russia have been adopted by families in the United States.

A child's death is, of course, the ultimate final offensive result, in terms of a particular parent's act (whether that act be negligence and/or abuse), but what about physical and mental abuse, sustained in the adoptive home?  Where's the "official report" on any and all of that? 

Does either "bargaining party" care what actually happens in the adoptive home, after the reports have been sent and the sale adoption has been made final?

<crickets chirping>

17 dead out of 60,000 sure doesn't sound bad enough to stop the ICA gravy-train, does it?  That's the worst part about foreign trade agreements:  they're based on numbers.

MANDATORY CHILD ABUSE REPORTERS:

All States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have statutes identifying persons who are required to report child maltreatment under specific circumstances.

Professionals Required to Report

Approximately 48 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands designate professions whose members are mandated by law to report child maltreatment.1 Individuals designated as mandatory reporters typically have frequent contact with children. Such individuals may include:

  • Social workers
  • Teachers and other school personnel
  • Physicians and other health-care workers
  • Mental health professionals
  • Child care providers
  • Medical examiners or coroners
  • Law enforcement officers

Some other professions frequently mandated across the States include commercial film or photograph processors (in 11 States, Guam, and Puerto Rico), substance abuse counselors (in 14 States), and probation or parole officers (in 17 States).2 Seven States and the District of Columbia include domestic violence workers on the list of mandated reporters, while seven States and the District of Columbia include animal control or humane officers.3 Court-appointed special advocates are mandatory reporters in nine States.4 Members of the clergy now are required to report in 26 States.5

Reporting by Other Persons

In approximately 18 States and Puerto Rico, any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report. Of these 18 States, 16 States and Puerto Rico specify certain professionals who must report but also require all persons to report suspected abuse or neglect, regardless of profession.6 New Jersey and Wyoming require all persons to report without specifying any professions. In all other States, territories, and the District of Columbia, any person is permitted to report. These voluntary reporters of abuse are often referred to as "permissive reporters."

Standards for Making a Report

The circumstances under which a mandatory reporter must make a report vary from State to State. Typically, a report must be made when the reporter, in his or her official capacity, suspects or has reasons to believe that a child has been abused or neglected. Another standard frequently used is when the reporter has knowledge of, or observes a child being subjected to, conditions that would reasonably result in harm to the child. Permissive reporters follow the same standards when electing to make a report.

Privileged Communications

Mandatory reporting statutes also may specify when a communication is privileged. "Privileged communications" is the statutory recognition of the right to maintain confidential communications between professionals and their clients, patients, or congregants. To enable States to provide protection to maltreated children, the reporting laws in most States and territories restrict this privilege for mandated reporters. All but three States and Puerto Rico currently address the issue of privileged communications within their reporting laws, either affirming the privilege or denying it (i.e., not allowing privilege to be grounds for failing to report).7 For instance:

  • The physician-patient and husband-wife privileges are the most common to be denied by States.
  • The attorney-client privilege is most commonly affirmed.
  • The clergy-penitent privilege is also widely affirmed, although that privilege usually is limited to confessional communications and, in some States, denied altogether.8

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report

Most States maintain toll-free telephone numbers for receiving reports of abuse or neglect.9 Reports may be made anonymously to most of these reporting numbers, but States find it helpful to their investigations to know the identity of reporters. Approximately 18 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands currently require mandatory reporters to provide their names and contact information, either at the time of the initial oral report or as part of a written report.10 The laws in Connecticut, Delaware, and Washington allow child protection workers to request the name of the reporter. In Wyoming, the reporter does not have to provide his or her identity as part of the written report, but if the person takes and submits photographs or x rays of the child, his or her name must be provided.

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity

All jurisdictions have provisions in statute to maintain the confidentiality of abuse and neglect records. The identity of the reporter is specifically protected from disclosure to the alleged perpetrator in 39 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands.11 This protection is maintained even when other information from the report may be disclosed.

Release of the reporter's identity is allowed in some jurisdictions under specific circumstances or to specific departments or officials. For example, disclosure of the reporter's identity can be ordered by the court when there is a compelling reason to disclose (in California, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Guam) or upon a finding that the reporter knowingly made a false report (in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia). In some jurisdictions (California, Florida, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and Guam), the reporter can waive confidentiality and give consent to the release of his or her name.

Kept from "official" view

Great outline, unfortunately, those Aparents who choose to home-school fall under an odd category that relies heavily on "the honor system".

There's a biiiiiiiig problem in home-schooling adoptive homes, especially when you read an article like this:

The U.S. Department of Justice knows how many crimes occur at school, on the way to school and at home. Statistics show that, despite the events at Columbine, public school buildings remain among the safest places for a child.

But the department keeps no records on children schooled at home.

Consequently, crime experts can't answer the question: Are home-schooled children more or less at risk of violence than other school-age children?

Many school officials and social workers believe that a growing number of parents are operating under the guise of home schooling although they have no interest in educating their children, may have psychological problems, or, worse, are a threat to their children.

Home schoolers respond that the overwhelming majority of families in their movement are law abiding and loving, and that existing laws are sufficient to catch criminals.

The dispute between the two sides goes unresolved because little is known about the safety of the approximately 1.1 million children schooled at home.

In a year long examination of home schooling and in an attempt to address safety issues, the Akron Beacon Journal combed through more than 5,000 newspaper articles from around the country.

From the beginning of 1999 through last month, criminal acts led to 116 deaths of parents and children in U.S. families identified as home schooling, the Beacon Journal found. Almost all the cases involved family members killing each other.

Of those, 41 were murders of children 5 to 16 years old -- an age range covering the vast majority of home-schooled students.

After comparing the number of deaths with FBI crime statistics, the newspaper found that the number of home-schooled children killed by a family member raises questions about some homeschool students' safety within their homes.

The Beacon Journal's study of home schooling began in mid-2003 after Akron received national attention when starving children were discovered wandering a city street in the early morning.

They had escaped confinement in a closet where they were made to eat from a cat litter box.

[From:  Home Schoolers May Be No Safer in Their Homes Than Other Children, 2008 ]

Now, you take forced confinement cases, like found here, http://poundpuplegacy.org/posts?cid=42697 .... and a whole new bag of unmonitored problems takes over. 

[Hint: parenting instruction tips from "authorities" on troubled children, like oh, I dunno...... "specialists" like  um..... Nancy Thomas, or those similar to her.]

The simple easy-to-follow rules don't seem so simple anymore, do they?  Especially when "the vast majority of adopters" make the same claims "the vast majority of  home-schoolers" claim:

Home schoolers [insert AP here] respond that the overwhelming majority of families in their movement are law abiding and loving, and that existing laws are sufficient to catch criminals.

Ah, yes... the safety measures... the checks put in-place to keep the good guys in, and the bad guys out.  Heaven forbid an adoption law be created where post-placement monitoriing, was actually mandatory.  Nooooooo.... too many adults/parents will go up in arms over this type of intrustion.  After all, the vast majority of Americans want LESS government oversight, not more.

Crazy stuff, this ensuring adoptee safety....

Sure wish we had some numbers to look at.  Oh, that's right... people like A. dad  Adam Pertman over at the Adoption Institute has them!

<rolling eyes>

BIG SMILE...

Kerry said:  "Sure wish we had some numbers to look at.  Oh, that's right... people like A. dad  Adam Pertman over at the Adoption Institute has them!" 
Are you wanting numbers of abused children in adoptive homes who were home schooled?
All I can give you are the numbers in my home; alongside how it is not always both parents who abuse.

I'm smiling BIG because of the knowledge the DHS and police have about my home and children is very positive:  home schooled until Junior Year of High School; went into the public school and became HIGHEST honor students those two years (even my daughter who was abused by my husband and is home)  My two sons are now almost through their third year of college; the first two years were here in town at the community college where their pictures and names were in the paper both years as HIGHEST honor students, along with the rest in their class who made that achievement.  The people in this town have NOTHING to worry about as far as how well I taught my children.  The proof is right there in front of them.  But I will say this, if I had it to do over again, I would NOT have home schooled my children.  I believe, if my children would have been in the public school, the abuse would have come to light a whole lot sooner.   I urge ALL adoptive families to make themselves more prominent in their communities.

So when my family is put  beside the AP's who CHOOSE to be totally depraved and get by with it, I feel very small and insignificant... but we aren't!  There has to be more of us out there who are committed to our families and are willing to stand-out.  THIS is one of the reasons why I am here; and there needs to be MORE of us taking a stand against those who CHOOSE to abuse and neglect their adopted children.  WHERE ARE YOU???

Teddy

Ironic, ain't it?

In your case, it seems the single-mom does enough good parenting for an entire brood.  The best thing for all turned-out to be quite simple:  get rid of the abusive male in the family.  [And yet how often is the unwed/single birth mom deemed "unfit" to parent?]

Meanwhile, there are other single adoptive parent stories out there not as good as your improving outcome.  Why?  Simple; the unreported predator is left free to beat and sexually abuse, as per adult whim, without any oversight or criticism.  [See:  Father of the Year recipient, Kodzo Dobosu, and read the comments that follow... TYPICAL responses from those who claim to know the AP (and the kids) so well, don't you think? ]

This is one of the hugest problems when it comes to reporting Aparent abuse -- few believe the victim, because victims are known to confuse facts, memories, and are therefore viewed as manipulating liars. [Nothing like re-victimizing the victim...]

I for one remember when my memory was coming back (years later, when I was away at school)... it was horrible.  If I was put in a certain triggering situation, PTSD would kinda kick-in, and the face I saw looking at me was NOT the person with me, but a person who hurt me, in the past.

I was given the nick-name, Psycho.

Nice, isn't it?

Numbers of successful adoptions won't help... it will simply confirm all is right and good in Adoptionland.  What's needed is a new approach... a second look needs to be given... we must look at all the information that is missing from adoption studies and reports.  I really believe a lot of pro-adoption advocates just might get enough of an eye-full to see what passes as "a child's best interest", is in fact, shameful and not at all acceptable.

IMO...

In reading about :  " Father of the Year recipient, Kodzo Dobosu"   I feel this man set himself up TO fail.  Enough said.

Teddy

Bottomline....

Says volumes about the lack of oversight after the child arrives and is with their "forever family". Imagine if SW did PPV (post placement visits) and interviewed teachers for any insight and interviewed the child? There is no oversight after the child is placed with most ICA cases...and in some cases...none!

With that said, very little info is given to prospective parents about the child and very little training is given in respect to post adoption issues and the manifestations of loss in a child. How does one expect a child to act in a new country, a new home, a new language which the APs fail to learn the child's language. How do you comfort and encourage a child if you cannot talk in their language? The loss is tremendous and most APs think that the child is happy to leave the orphanage and be with them...surprise they aren't. That is all that they have know and are comfortable with, they are not going to thank you!

Bottomline...The orphanages are not going to share with APs what problems the child has, there is too much money involved for that to happen.

15 days and a Telex later...

It was 15 days and a Telex from Korea later that I learned why my adopted son of almost 4 was acting out sexually.  It was OBVIOUS to the foster family in Korea that he had suffered horrendous sexual abuse and neglect;  but they chose not to tell it to Holt, because they were "afraid he would not get a home."  And to be honest, I would not have even considered him for our home if I had known the details. 

After the Telex, which told of the foster mother coming to the office to inform them of his "acting out sexually."  (after he had left for the USA)  The SW at Holt Korea sent the SW in the USA a Telex:  "Inform the family that they should keep him away from his little sister..."  BUT, the SW in the USA Telexed back that we had fostered many such children and could handle the situation.  We didn't know s--t about how to handle the situation!  And at age 13 he was found, by me, sexually molesting the younger siblings.

Would I do it again?  NOT on a bet.  When you mix children with various backgrounds and care, from a foreign (look up the word foreign) country with diverse customs and religions, you're in the middle, and can not possibly sort through it all by yourself. 

Most of us think we can just love them enough, or teach them enough of OUR customs and religions to melt us all together and become a safe, happy family.  IT DOESN'T work that way!  Each child is due a great amount of time and care before they can even understand what has happened to them (I doubt if they ever understand being jerked from their homes and countries was for their good, because it probably wasn't).  PAP's need to get their heads on straight; this is no "stop and smell the roses;" these are LIVES that have been torn apart, and we think we can "fix them?" 

SW's in other countries are no different than the ones I've had contact with here in the states; they all want to hurry up and get the child placed before SOMEONE finds out there are some problems.  There are always problems.  Even the babies know there are problems; and crying has NOT made the problems any better; so why would people think a baby is the way to go in adoption?  Those little babies have FRESH pain from their losses; older children have it festering for awhile.  There are NO easy adoptions.

Teddy

The role of the SW

SW's in other countries are no different than the ones I've had contact with here in the states; they all want to hurry up and get the child placed before SOMEONE finds out there are some problems.  There are always problems.  Even the babies know there are problems; and crying has NOT made the problems any better; so why would people think a baby is the way to go in adoption?  Those little babies have FRESH pain from their losses; older children have it festering for awhile.  There are NO easy adoptions.

I could never understand the reasoning behind the professional preference given to SW's within the adoption industry. 

Other than a few corrupt midwives, (who would do just as their MD partners in crime would do -- tell the mother the child was dead, but trade it through a lawyer, instead...) most maternity nurses already know the science and the biology behind the maternal-child bond.

[There's a lot of studies on the newborn, stress, and maternal deprivation/separation anxiety -- why are these studies not used or read by "authorities on adoption"?

<shrugging shoulders; shaking head>

Greed sure is a funny beast.

Show enough money can be made by playing God... and well, pure evil will be afoot.

Love is NOT enough... parents (ALL parents) need to be educated about the birds, the bees, and what happens when a baby has unmet needs.  It's not just a study in social dynamics; it's a study in hormones (chemistry), biology, and a little A&P (Anatomy and Physiology), on the side.

home schooling not all bad

really public school are a very abusive setting for many children;  I have seen some great home schooling situations;  I have seen so many abusive horrific public school situations...   if you are different at all your time at pubic school will most likely be awful

I have 2 children who don't go or didn't go for some time because of being bullied to the point of wanting to die.

I don't think most public schools do a good, even fair job of catching abuse situations at home...   gee I know plenty of people and it is usually something extreme before anything is done about it...

when I fostered it was 100% of the case that came through my home were brought in by police... not social services...  police were the ones who finally took my son into care from his birth home as well...  his bio-mom had something like 72 "hotlines" on her...

system is way broken...  

homeschooling is a great option for some families I'd hate to see them loose.  It is not something they can do when the child is in public foster care...  

 

Pound Pup Legacy