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Woman who sent adopted boy back to Russia must pay $1,000 a month

By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — An American woman who set off an international furor when she sent a Russian child whom she had adopted back to Moscow has been ordered to pay $1,000 a month in child support and $150,000 in various fees.

It was in April 2010 that Artyom Saveliev, then 7, arrived in Moscow by plane from Washington, with a note from his adoptive mother, Torry Hansen, saying she was returning the child she had adopted in 2009 because the boy was unbalanced, violent and that she no longer wanted him. The child arrived with a backpack full of clothes, a Russian passport with a U.S. visa and the mother’s letter canceling the adoption.

The move set off international complaints from Russians, already unhappy with an adoption process that sent children to the United States. Russia is one of the largest sources of foreign adoptions for U.S. families, with about 400 children sent abroad each year.

Russians were also angry at how the boy was treated and abandoned. He now lives in an orphanage in Tomilino, a Moscow suburb.

The World Association for Children and Parents, the agency that helped Hansen adopt the child, filed a lawsuit against Hansen.

“We are satisfied that this ruling finally offers some justice for this boy,” Lillian Thogersen, the group’s president, said in a statement posted on its website.

“Adoption is a legal, lifelong commitment to a child. Adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities as they would to a child born to them,” she stated, adding later: “Sending a child alone on an international flight back to their birth country is not an option for any parent.”

“It doesn’t matter if this case was presented in the United States or Russia, whether a biological or adopted child, or that the child was adopted from the United States or internationally. What is important is that parents should never be able to do this to a child, and if they do, they should expect consequences,” said Ray Stoner, attorney for the National Council for Adoption, which was a party to the lawsuit against Hansen.

On Thursday a Bedford County, Tenn., judge said Hansen must begin making the child support payments in June and continue to pay until the boy turns 18. He is currently 9.

Hansen, who lives in California and did not attend any of the hearings, was ordered to pay the boy $58,000, money already spent on the child’s support and medical care, in addition to the monthly support. Hansen was also ordered to pay the adoption agency $29,000 and attorney fees of nearly $63,000, according to Nashville’s WTVF-TV, which first reported the on ruling.

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