Russia reacted with horror today over the heartbreaking story of a seven-year-old Siberian boy adopted by an American family who was sent back to Moscow alone
- because his U.S. mother didn't want him any more.
Little Artem Saveliev was last year taken from a grim orphanage and given a new life in Tennessee last year.
But his adoptive mother Torry-Ann Hansen
, a 26-year-old nurse, yesterday put him on a ten-hour flight as an unaccompanied minor with a note 'to whom it may concern' saying: 'I no longer wish to parent this child'.
In his rucksack, she had placed sweets, biscuits and colouring pens for the journey.
She did not tell him she was rejecting him. Instead, she and a grandmother said that he was going on an 'excursion' to Moscow.
In the typed note, which the blond boy was clutching when Moscow police picked him up, she said she wanted the adoption annulled and accused the Vladivostok orphanage of misleading her about the child's behavioural problems.
The Russians angrily denied this, saying he was stubborn but that his only disability was that he was 'flat-footed'.
Officials said they have never witnessed such cruelty to a child after promising a 'new life'.
Unwanted Artem, eight next week, looked confused and bewildered as he was taken into care by Moscow social services.
It appears the child was also alone when he flew from Tennessee to Washington before boarding the flight to Moscow.
The official, who said he played with the child and talked to him, said the mother had another son called Logan.
'Artem said he made good friends with Logan,' he said. 'He was talking quite calmly about the family, but when he started to talk about his mother he began to cry, showing how she dragged him by the hair.'
She claimed he is 'mentally unstable' and that his problems were hidden from her by Russian orphanage officials before she adopted him.
'He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues/behaviour. I was lied to and misled by the Russian orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability,' she wrote.
'They chose to grossly misrepresent those problems in order to get him out of their orphanage.'
Having bought a ticket and put the child on the plane, it seems Hansen found a Russian tour guide on the internet who agreed to meet the child at the airport
This man, called Artur, passed him to the authorities in central Moscow. Hansen agreed to pay Artur $200 for meeting the child, said officials.
They deny her claims about him having severe behavioural problems and being mentally unstable.
'Artem is normal for his age,' said the official. 'He is a little stubborn child, but this is not a problem for loving parents.
American psychotherapist Joe Soll told Russian media that the boy's rejection from his adopted family would have a serious impact.
'When you remove a child from a family, no matter what the circumstances are, it's a trauma,' he said.
'We don't look at children who have been adopted as tramuatised, but they are. I don't think people are educated at all to understand what adoption is really about.'
The child's real mother Ekaterina was deprived of her parental rights because she was an alcoholic, officials said yesterday. She gave birth to the child at 19 and cared for him until he was six.
He was adopted by Hansen on 18 September 2009 in Russia and eleven days later she formally changed his name to Artem Justin Hansen.
Astakhov said the boy told him that neither he nor Logan went to school, but played at home in America. The boy spoke of a grandmother who shouted at him.