When it All Falls Apart: Torry Hansen

This story is hot in the adoption community today:

Anger Over Mom Who Sent Adopted Son Back to Moscow Alone

Russia furious over adopted boy sent back from US

The adoption community is irate that Torry Hansen chose to put her son, Justin Hansen, on a plane and return him to Russia.  Is it horrible?  Yes.  Is it child abandonment?  Yes.  Was she desperate?  I can only imagine.

Maybe this single mother tried to get help and nobody listened to her.  Maybe she was so desperate and alone and frightened that she didn’t know what to do.  And just maybe she feared that she was becoming a monster who might snap; maybe she was afraid that she would hurt or even kill this little boy.

This is terrible and tragic, but it could have been worse… much, much worse for this little boy.  Have we already forgotten Lydia Schatz who died only two months ago?   Another internationally adopted child who was beaten to death by her parents.

I don’t know  Torry Hansen’s story, and maybe she is a vile, wicked, selfish woman – but maybe she is not so different from me or you.  Perhaps she was reduced to somebody that even she could no longer recognize.

Please don’t think I am making excuses for her… I’m just glad that the boy is alive.

My mind is swirling with sad thoughts about this situation; I think it is time to take a breath and walk away from the computer.  I have plenty of dirty dishes to wash.

If you have more emotional energy to think about adoptions that don’t make it, go to the blog, Is There Any Mommy Out There to read the post, Differences.

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. heather Antoine
    April 9, 2010

    Thanks for sharing this, Lisa. I hadn't heard of it yet. It seems that failed adoptions are becoming more and more prevalent. I even have a sister who has been through one.

    Is it wrong taht even though your post has such a sad topic, that I was still encouraged by it? It made my heart leap a little when I hear you have dirty dishes piled up, too. Mine has been screaming at me all day. 🙂

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      April 9, 2010

      Heather,

      Disruption, dissolution, it all breaks my heart.

      Washing dishes and folding laundry calm my heart; it's a good thing I have an endless supply.

      Reply
  2. Given Much Momma
    April 9, 2010

    Thank you for this, and the link to "Differences".

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      April 9, 2010

      The writer of Is There Any Mommy Out There?, is new to Grown in My Heart. I think I'm going to like her a lot.

      Reply
  3. Laurel
    April 10, 2010

    I read this story earlier today.

    While I don't know the whole story … while all I've read is a short news article … my heart goes out to this woman.

    Yes … she may be "horrible … unfit to be a mother … " and any number of things that I'm sure are being said about her. But … what I can imagine is that she was a desperate woman, looking for answers, not finding the help that she needed, and knowing that SOMETHING must be done.

    My heart aches for her because I, too, was a mother with an adoption that failed. I am not a failure. My son was/is not a failure. But, the adoption failed. There was no way that we could keep our son in our home, and protect our 5 younger children.

    We didn't get the help and support that we so desperately needed. We got judgement and condemnation, even from those within our own church … even from those within our church small group … even from those in our church's "adoption support ministry".

    We were desperate, and YES, the thought of sending our son back to Africa crossed our minds. It was actually seriously discussed. Our son was a teenager, had older 1/2 siblings there, and wanted to return. We discussed whether it would be better for him to return to his homeland. In the end … we didn't send him back. (And, we wouldn't have unless we found a legal way to do it.) In the end … we found a new family, a family without any younger children in the home.

    But … my heart aches today as a mother that understands the desperation of knowing that "I cannot continue to parent this child, and I don't know what to do."

    If any of your readers are interested in reading the perspective of a mother who truly sought the Lord before disrupting her adoption, I would encourage them to hop over to my blog and read about "The Crisis" in the archives.

    Thanks, Lisa, for not judging this mother. Yes, I too am thankful that he is alive …. unlike little Lydia Schatz (who's situation I have also discussed in length on my blog this past week).

    Looking forward to getting together with you on our next trip your direction.

    Laurel 🙂

    Reply
  4. dawn
    April 10, 2010

    I read it and read all the anger surrounding it, yet I think both sides have been deeply hurt by things they didn't expect and weren't prepared to cope with. Little Justin wasn't ready for this family, and this family wasn't ready for him. So, so sad. And so thankful he is alive. 🙁

    Reply
  5. Jan J.
    April 10, 2010

    Really beautiful post you shared. People are too quick to villify when an adoption is disrupted. While I do think the mother who put her son on the plane could have made a better solution, I do know the desperation and hopelessness that can come from parenting a child who refuses to attach despite your best efforts. No one should judge because they can never know unless it is them what is going on.

    Reply
  6. Plain Speaking
    April 10, 2010

    I am simply stunned by the degree of rationalization here for what was clearly an immoral act: A seven-year-old child was abandoned by this woman Torry Hansen, aided and abetted by her mother Nancy Hansen. I believe they should both go to prison and I suspect that if they do not then the United States will be especially reviled in the international community for letting adopting parents return children as if they were ipods that didn't do what the salesman said they did.

    There is no other way to explain it. Nothing can excuse this. When you become a child's parent by whatever means, unless and until someone else legally and officially relieves you of this responsibility, you must not abandon that child.

    No excuses. No rationalization. This is or should be illegal, it is immoral and it is contrary to everything we know to be true and good. FULL STOP.

    Reply
  7. Suzanne
    April 10, 2010

    I couldn't agree less. Beautiful posts? Gone wrong? RUBBISH! THE LITTLE BOY WAS SEVEN! NOONE SEEMS TO CARE ABOUT DEMONISING HIM IN THE ATTEMPTS TO SHOW THEY ARE "SO NOT JUDGEMENTAL"
    What would we do if our children had some kind of unexplained psychotic behavior or e.g. schizophrenia that told them to set fires (it's not uncommon)…..seems like an adoptive child can be returned. What would this woman have done had it been her biological son….kept the receipt perhaps?

    Reply
  8. Gail
    April 11, 2010

    To put any child on a plane alone to travel so far and hire a person (sight unseen from the internet) to pick him up at the other end. Something is seriously wrong with this plan.
    I hope this boy gets the care he needs in Russia, this whole experience cannot have helped him whatever his situation..

    Reply
  9. Lisa H.
    April 11, 2010

    I agree with recent comments that said that this mother chose an unacceptable way for dealing with this child. Absolutely. But what I'd like to hear is what others propose SHOULD be done in this situation. I'm not sure that the Russian government would have received him, should she have brought him in person. And here in the US, my understanding is that our foster system would only receive him if the mother were to sign over parental rights, however I know from the experience of a friend in this situation that this often can create issues with CPS regarding bio. children in the home , or leave a record as an "unfit parent" on the parents. It is very difficult to find an institutional setting for these children, and such private care is unaffordable for most parents. I agree with you, Lisa, that unless you have walked this road, you've no place to judge so harshly. After my own experiences with a child adopted at an older age, who has been no where nearly as violent as this child was reported to be, I can understand how a parent could reach a place of such desperation that actions that one would NEVER have previously considered, such as returning the child, would be carried out.
    Unfortunately, this type of situation is occurring increasingly in the adoption community, and I think adoption advocates, agencies and the countries involved MUST work together to create a plan for this type of situation if international adoption of older children is to continue long-term.

    Here's another interesting blog today on the topic:
    http://allmybeans.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  10. Suzanne
    April 12, 2010

    The point I was trying to make is that when we adopt children we are responsible for them. We do the same as we would do if they were our own because they are our own. If we don't like the outcome of facts we have no control over (the children have been without parents and display the consequences or manifest disturbed behavior) then we shouldn't adopt them in the first place. Regarding the "biological" children in the home…..well, if we are to draw a distinction then we really shouldn't have adopted…..either we accept them as our children or we don't, but there shouldn't be any "conditional" status or rank. We have no right to play games with children's lives. Once you have a child, biologcal or not, you are committed. People choose to adopt and no one is forced to. It's a child not a library book. I worry about how these parents will deal with their "biological" children when problems arise.

    Reply
  11. Lisa H.
    April 12, 2010

    As a follow up. I just read that the agency with this adoption was WACAP. I had previously just assumed that this adoption had been thru a smaller agency that wasn't prepared or willing to help in this type of situation. However, we've adopted twice through WACAP and I know them to be a very reputable agency. I was appalled when I read that this family had NOT contacted WACAP prior to taking the action of returning the child to Russia.. I'm sure that the agency would have done all that they could to find a new family for this child and this little boy could perhaps have received the help he needs. I SO agree that the actions taken by this parent were wrong, but was previously expressing that I could see how she could have reached a point of desperation if she was without options. But when I find out she hadn't even contacted her agency for help, I really can't understand her actions…..

    So sad! And now, WACAP's program is on hold in Russia, impacting lots of other kiddos and families….

    Lisa H.

    Reply
    1. OneThankfulmom
      April 12, 2010

      Lisa, that is a question I had as well. I hadn't yet heard that she never contacted WACAP; that is so unfortunate for everyone. I wonder why she didn't call them?

      Reply
  12. Hanna
    April 15, 2010

    Torry Hansen was lied to and tricked into believing that the son she wanted was normal and just needed lots of love. Her dream turned into a night mare and nobody seems to care what Torry went through. She had the priveledge of paying around $30,000 to the lying Russians and getting a violent valcano that threatened her home and her life.

    Reply
  13. Hanna
    April 15, 2010

    Oh grant that I not judge my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his shoes

    Reply
  14. Michelle
    April 19, 2010

    I am simply stunned by the degree of rationalization here for what was clearly an immoral act: A seven-year-old child was abandoned by this woman Torry Hansen, aided and abetted by her mother Nancy Hansen. I believe they should both go to prison and I suspect that if they do not then the United States will be especially reviled in the international community for letting adopting parents return children as if they were ipods that didn’t do what the salesman said they did.

    There is no other way to explain it. Nothing can excuse this. When you become a child’s parent by whatever means, unless and until someone else legally and officially relieves you of this responsibility, you must not abandon that child.

    No excuses. No rationalization. This is or should be illegal, it is immoral and it is contrary to everything we know to be true and good. FULL STOP.

    Reply
  15. Paul
    May 28, 2010

    I am from Poland, so perhaps you will not understand my point of view. You rationalize abandoning a 7-year old child, sending it away to another country and leaving it in care of somebody you don't even know…
    would you do that to your own children ?
    Besides, that woman claims that the child has mental problems- because he does not speak English, perhaps ? Because he freaks out in a foreign country, foreign culture and foreign people ?
    There is a small novel in our country called "A good Lady" by Eliza Orzeszkowa. It describes a similar situation- a lady wants to help a child from a poor family, so she adops her and treats like a puppy- once she is bored with her she sends her back to the child's poor family- sounds familiar, right ? There are many good people in America, but there are also quite a lot of fools like Torry Hansen- just read other comments ! Have you forgotten that children are humans, too ?

    Reply

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