Artyom Savelyev has a home
By BRIAN MOSELY
Russian boy finds adoptive family
Artyom Savelyev, the boy sent back to Russia by his adopted mother from Shelbyville in 2010, has finally found a home.
According to the Russian State News agency RIA Novosti, the 9-year-old has joined 16 other children who are being cared for by a woman that has raised several generations of abandoned children.
In April 2010 Nancy Hansen placed the boy, who had been known as Justin Hansen while living in the United States, on a flight back to Moscow with a note from her daughter Torry, his adoptive mother, saying she no longer wanted to keep him because he was violent and had severe "psychopathic" problems. The case sparked outrage and an international incident.
But nearly two years after being sent back to his homeland, Artyom is now living in an SOS Children's Village in Russia, cared for by teacher Vera Yegorova.
Yegorova told RIA Novosti that she had always wanted a big family but nature did not give her a chance. But 15 years ago, she learned that Russia was launching a project to build social support villages for 12 or 14 houses, with each house intended for one SOS mother and six to eight children.
The villages, first formed in Austria in 1949, are active in 133 countries and territories.
The managers were recruiting mothers who could also educate social orphans and last November, Artyom Savelyev joined Yegorova and the other children.
"Counting Artyom, I have 17 children," Yegorova told RIA Novosti. "He is so exhausted by plane flights and going back and forth between orphanages and parents," she was quoted as saying.
Artyom was accepted as a family member "in no time at all," the state news media outlet stated, and made friends with the other children. He started attending school, likes it there, and is bringing home his first good grades. The boy is reportedly very respectful of his adoptive parents, calling Yegorova 'mom' on the second day.
However, RIA Novosti states that Artyom "is still afraid of leaving the village," explaining that nothing can lure him away.
"He never deviates from one path -- the one leading from home to school and back. But he is fond of village life as it is. He is reluctant to recall his past experiences in America and says he has turned over a new leaf," the story from RIA Novosti stated.
Yegorova said they learned from the media that Artyom lived in America, but that the child "said nothing about that. He even claimed that he knew no English when we were buying textbooks for school," she said.
RIA Novosti stated that prior to his American adoption, Artyom lived in the Primorye Territory with his mother who was subsequently stripped of her parental rights. Artyom was confined to an orphanage, where he spent several years, the state news media claimed.
The Hansens were sued by the World Association for Children and Parents, a Washington-based adoption agency in May 2010, a month after Artyom was sent back. The agency asked that they be appointed as a temporary guardian for the child, stating they went to court out of frustration that no one was investigating claims that the Hansens abandoned and endangered the boy.
Last year, a court in Russia demanded that the Hansens pay $2,500 a month in child support. Documents obtained by the T-G show that a judge for Moscow City Court asked for Hansen "to pay alimony for the maintenance of a minor amount of 75,000 rub(les)."
When the Hansen family's actions first became public, local authorities were unable to file any charges against the Hansens because there was no evidence that any crime had been committed in Bedford County. Sheriff Randall Boyce said at the time that if Nancy Hansen abandoned the child, it didn't occur in the county, and therefore he could not press charges.
The incident brought attention to the plight of Russian adoptees. Russia temporarily suspended adoptions by American families, finally lifting the ban last June.
In November, Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell ruled that the news media could have access to the trial after the Hansens' attorney attempted to seal records in the case and bar the media from the proceedings. No trial date has been set in the matter and depositions are still ongoing.