Apr 11, 2010

Artyom Savelyev & Torry Hansen’s Case

This is a very sad case for the child, first and foremost, for the family, and for the adoption and child welfare systems. It speaks to a gross failure on many levels.

The Case:
A few days ago Artyom's adoptive mother, Torry Hansen, sent Artyom Savelyev back to his native Russia. Seven year old Artyom had been adopted from a Russian orphanage about one year ago, around the age of six. The story has been featured in every major news outlet in the US and is the subject of great attention and outrage in Russia and throughout the world. Russia has suspended the license of WACAP, the adoption agency.

While the facts we do know, sending the child back to Russia on a plane, are unacceptable, a rush to judgment is also not called for. There is too much we don't know. For example:

What was the nature and quality of the homestudy and what were the qualifications of the provider?

What were Ms. Hansen's expectations and motivations regarding adoption.

What was the content and scope of education Ms. Hansen received regarding adopting an older child, and the potential for various psychological, emotional, and behavioral problems?

Who provided post-placement supervision?

What help did Ms. Hansen seek and from whom?

We do know that Ms. Hansen never brought Artyom to a Psychologist or other mental health professional (This from Ms. Hansen's mother as quoted in an Associate Press article, see for example, page A4 of the Buffalo News or similar material in the April 11, 2010 New York Times). "Hansen said her daughter sought advice from psychologists but never had her adoptive son meet with one." What advice was given?

Did the family seek help from the TN child welfare system, if so what was their response, if not, why not?

This case calls for a thorough and detailed gathering of all the relevant facts, followed by a thorough critical review of what happened and why.


Brenda said...

This is such a trauma for the child. I assume he is back in an orphanage. If the family did not seek counseling before I hope they do now.

Arthur Becker-Weidman, PhD said...

I hope the investigation can also report on what advice they did receive from the psychologists they did consult. I am curious to know whether they advised bringing Artyom into see them, which is what I'd expect.