On Saturday, Torry and Nancy Hansen remained silent. They live side by side here, in modular homes with vinyl siding, connected by a wide white fence. Each had a car in front on Saturday, but neither answered the doors when reporters began knocking at 8:30 a.m. In the late afternoon, the shades were still drawn.
On the stoop of Torry’s home, muddy sandals sat beside a toy missile — perhaps a favorite plaything suddenly left behind.
Messages left for the Hansens’ lawyer were not returned, and the county sheriff’s office said it would have nothing to say until next week.
Their neighbors’ sympathies seemed to be with the boy.
Mr. Bailey said he used to see him playing outside, riding a bicycle, running around with another boy around the same age. “It was typical kid stuff,” he said. He added that a wave and a quick hello were as close as he got to knowing the family.
Several other neighbors said the Hansens seemed somewhat disconnected from the community. The boy appeared to be home-schooled and the family did not go to the churches close by. It was hard to relate when so few details were known, they said, but even if Justin threatened violence, as the Hansens claimed, residents said he should have been dealt with here, not shipped home like a faulty product.
Some here said they were glad the Hansens seemed to be outsiders, or at least newer arrivals — it helped some of the longtime residents disconnect from the satellite trucks and reporters, many of them representing foreign media, that had descended on their neighborhood.
Adoption experts generally agreed that an abrupt return was cause for concern. The adoption agency that worked with the Hansens, Wacap, the main office of which is in Renton, Wash., released a statement on Friday that said in the 1 percent of adoptions that do not work out, the agency focused on moving the child to a new family, not returning the child. It was unclear whether the Hansens had asked Wacap for assistance.
But, Adam Pertman, executive director of Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, said the Hansens had a responsibility to seek help.
He acknowledged that adoptive parents often have incomplete histories for the children they bring into their homes. And he said that for children like Justin, born Artyom Savelyev and raised in a Russian orphanage for much of his early life, the challenges can be immense.
Institutionalized children in particular tend to act out, he said, with the worst cases involving verbal abuse or children striking parents with heavy objects. “Kids who are beaten and neglected in foster care; kids whose parents drank heavily when they were pregnant; kids with severe disorders — they can cause real disruptions in a family,” Mr. Pertman said.
“You need help if you’re having problems,” he said. “There is this weird lingering myth that love will conquer all. Guess what, it doesn’t in biological families and it doesn’t in adopted families.”