American Morning

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April 12th, 2010
02:00 PM ET

We Listen – Your comments 4/12/10

Editor's Note: Monday’s American Morning audience was disturbed by the story of the adopted Russian boy returned to the country by his adoptive parents.

  • Eileen: What a monster this family was. I don't care if the kid was "Damien" he is a child, a seven year old child. They adopted this child; they are his legal parents, with all the rights and "responsibilities." Not only was it cruel, it was reckless endangerment of a child and these people must be brought to justice. The poor child. I wouldn't care what he said, he was probably defending himself out of his unfortunate fearful past. No doubt these people abused him for him to make those threats. Russia is right, it was a monstrous act and they need to be held accountable. The poor precious child, what he must have endured. I hope that our Country and Russia will reach out to this wonderful kid and see to it that his wounded life is healed and he is allowed to be a child, a happy one.
  • Charles C: Adoption of the Russia returned child, it's not the fault of the child did parent have a chance to get spend time and know the child, we have many children in the U.S.A. that need to be adopted, I hate that people are going to foreign country like an exploited animal.
  • Anna Lee: In the story regarding the 7 year old sent back to Russia, the response by John and Carin was so weak, almost uncaring. What airline would transport this American Citizen without question. Should criminal charges be looked into for a mother who would do this. Where did the child end up and where are Federal reps that should be looking after his rights. More investigation should be taken, and probably would be if this child was not disabled. Who will speak for him. I hope it will be CNN.

What do you think? Continue the conversation below.

Filed under: We Listen
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Katrina Ross

    This so called mother has labelled this innocent boy. Before anyone can jump on her band wagon lets see the proof. I am a single mother that had to struggle to get help for a child with mental illness. It was a long hard battle, but a must for any good parent. Motherhood comes with many rewards, but the work must be done before the rewards. Can this child get a lawyer and charge Ms. Hanson with deflimation of character? Lets print his side of the story.

    April 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  2. L.Nickel

    I was adopted, growing up my biggest fear was that I might do something that would make my parents return me, even though they constantly reassured me...been years since I had a nightmare about that happening, last night they came back. I have no way of expressing my shock and disgust, not because he was returned, sadly it happens but in the way in which it was done. My prayers go out to this young child, I'm so sorry. Think I'll go have another cry now.

    April 14, 2010 at 8:43 am |
  3. DM

    Thadeus wrote: What wasn’t given to the adoptive family was the truth...They’ll think before they put one of their problems in someone else’s hand.

    I agree. The Russian authorities are acting so indignant. Why didn't they get this little boy the help he needed? In my opinion, they didn't for two reasons. One, they didn't want to deal with him, so they farmed him out. Two, Due to their deplorable health system, they probably don't have anyone qulified to help him. Had they fessed up to that, perhaps an american family with extensive knowledge and resources would have adopted him.

    The Russian government is mad because now they have to deal with a very disturbed little boy that they helped to create.

    April 13, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  4. DM

    In response to nancy K's comment: Now, they are refusing to talk unless they are charged with a crime. Does that sound to you like a family that had the child’s best interests at heart?

    To me, it sounds like a smart person who knows that whatever they say will be taken out of context and used as a sound bite by every news organization in the world.

    April 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
  5. MJ

    I have two adopted children from Kazahkstan. Before adopting, I read lots of books on the issues that adoptive children, particularly overseas can experience. We also talked to a phycisian who specialized in treating children adopted internationally. All the resources tell you the same thing, that children who are raised in these countries can be exposed to alchohol which causes permanant damage, that orphanage living can have a profound effect on their development, nutrition is lacking, nuturing is sparce, etc. There are risks to adopting or having biological children. For a family to just give a child with problems back, is dispicable.

    April 13, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  6. C Mac

    Why worried about nuclear bombs, we didn’t worried about planes flying into building until it happen.

    April 13, 2010 at 10:56 am |
  7. Delicia, child mental health therapist

    I am a child mental health therapist who has worked with many foster care and adopted children as well as their families.

    Most adoptive parents are not trained or informed about the challenges of adopting a child, especially one from an international agency where the child's developmental history may be sketchy at best. There is an abundance of research that shows that children with disrupted attachment are at high risk for the development of symptoms related to Reactive Attachment Disorder. There is also an abundant amount of research showing how the chances of difficult behaviors increasing if there was any trauma or abuse in the child's life. (See the works of Dr. Bruce Perry and Dr. Daniel Hughes) Of course, these troubles are in addition to any genetically passed on pathology (psychological disorders) or other diseases like fetal alcohol syndrome, etc.

    The bottom line is that it is not unlikely or rare that children coming out of foster care or orphanages will have difficulties above and beyond that of average developing children. Using only typical parenting strategies is often not enough. One needs to work with a child therapist or psychologist, sometimes with a psychiatrist, and developmental specialists for at least a few years to assist in the adjustment process and to develop more skills as well as support to work with some of these children.

    For more understanding, I strongly recommend "Attachment-Focused Parenting" by Dr. Daniel Hughes. DVDs by Dr. Bruce Perry are also very helpful in understanding how early traumas affect the brain's development and thereby impact behavior.

    April 13, 2010 at 8:52 am |
  8. Dan

    Wouldn't it be great if we could pick our parents too?

    April 13, 2010 at 8:32 am |
  9. Kimberly

    I agree with Anna.
    Who lets a 7 yr old child board a plane in our "state capital" heading for Russia! This is outrageous! Everyone concerened should be held "accountable". What does this say for online attornies? There is more here than we will probably ever has taken days for the "news" to get this crucial information!! Tiger Woods and his scandal received more coverage the entire weekend!!!!

    April 13, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  10. Bonnie

    After working many years within the "child protection" field, International Adoptions can be a nightmare. Countries such as Russia try to create a perfect society for themselves and eliminate children who are a drain on their own society.
    U.S. adoptions are difficult to obtain. US adoptions are a money making business. Talk with anyone who has attempted to adopt an US infant. Most middle income US families look to international adoptions as an alternative because of the costs in the US . Prospective adoptive parents...beware!

    April 13, 2010 at 6:10 am |
  11. Viking

    Totally irresponsible behaviour on the parts of many.

    Let's see...we have a 7 yr old taken to a strange country and immediately given a new name. Culture shock, and a new identity. In 6 months he is branded a "psychopath" and since there is not one psychological report taken or shown, we can assume this diagonosis was given by the adopted single woman.

    In this 6 mos, was this child seen by any pyschiatrist for diagnosis? Child therapist?

    The airlines. How can an airlines allow a 7 yr old American citizen on a plane to Russia without a legal guardian, and a note tacked on his back? Wake up airlines!

    An online attorney was contacted as to the legalities? ONLINE?

    A driver was found ONLINE to pick the child up in Russia? What if the driver was a child molester? What if the driver did not return the child to the proper authorities? What if the note was lost?

    I don't blame the Russians for ending American adoptions. Their president seems outraged, as he should. We should all be outraged.

    April 13, 2010 at 5:37 am |
  12. Nancy K

    They had this child for all of SIX months. They "homeschooled" a Russian-speaking child despite not being fluent in Russian. That alone would cause frustration in a young boy, don't you think?

    They failed to alert the follow-up agency of any problems. They failed to seek help from the services available in their area. They failed to follow the course suggested by the Russian attorney they contacted regarding the dissolution of the adoption. They FAILED. Miserably.

    Now, they are refusing to talk unless they are charged with a crime. Does that sound to you like a family that had the child's best interests at heart? I would think that people in their position would be anxious to tell the world how hard they tried to adjust to this child, but no. Not the Hansens.

    Yes, we probably haven't heard the whole story yet, but it would appear that the Hansens aren't too eager to tell us, are they? Hmmm, wonder why?

    April 13, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  13. Kari

    doesn't anyone else think it's odd that the little boy was sent back with only a backpack of belongings? this woman had this boy for a year! a normal parent buys their child clothes, toys, etc. and you would think that as many of the child's possessions as possible would be sent back with him, if the mother truly cared for him at all. what did she do with all his belongings after he was gone? i find this very odd, and as far as i am concerned, it is more proof that this woman did not care for the boy and probably was abusive.

    also, no matter her reasons, sending him back is does not come with a guarantee.

    April 13, 2010 at 1:35 am |
  14. Anna L

    Dear CNN,

    I had to create account, just because I cannot seat and watch the coverage of this story. I am deeply disturbed by the fact that the boy is being portrayed right away as an evil unmanageable child who drove his mother crazy to the point that she lost all rational way of dealing with him. What do you really know about him except of the allegations this women puts forward? Why does your reporter goes all the way to find a Florida family with a disturbed child (who, by the way has been adopted as a toddler, so his sweet-looking family might have something to do with the way he behaves)? Your panelists say that they do not know what the women was going through, yet it seems that nobody has problem in assuming that the child was driving her crazy. Also, I do not believe that the women IS OR WAS irrational. She did everything to avoid possible legal action. She shipped him at the moment when his visa was about to expire, she escorted him to DC so that the state could not persecute her and everybody is saying that, deplorably, nothing could be done... A lot more could be said about this coverage, CNN, I am ashamed for you! If it takes Russian diplomats to intervene to attract attention to this case, so be it, because it does not seem that anybody cares about the boy and are eager to dismissed him as "damaged" right away.

    April 13, 2010 at 1:06 am |
  15. Marc

    As the adoptive parent of a 14-year-old boy, I don't approve of what this woman did but I understand. This women did not adopt this 7-year-old boy with the intent of giving him back, nobody adopts with the intention of giving a child back but every year adoptions fail. What kind of support system did this woman have in place? Did anyone tell her what RAD (reactive attachment disorder) was? It takes more than love to save some of these children, it takes an understanding and some highly specialized counseling with a knowledgeable therapist. Some of these adoptive kids are very broken and strike out at the persons who are trying to help them and it takes more than love to put them back together. If you find the right therapist with the specific knowledge that you need to put these kids back together and if your insurance company will pay for treatment (very expensive) the adoption has a chance of success. Without the right support and counseling, adoptions will end like this one, badly for all involved.

    April 12, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  16. C. Susan

    A cruel fact of life is that some children need professional care. These adoptive parents were most likely under severe stress that very few can probably imagine. They were most likely undergoing some kind of temporary insanity brought on by this stress which I am guessing included elements of fear. Most likely they planned on loving this child and giving this child everything they could, but found it unmanageable to the extreme. Do not judge them. They are probably going through hell right now. The fact is that this child may actually do better with professional care.

    April 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
  17. Susan B

    What a tragdy...Where was the adoption agency in all of this? There should have been close post-apotion monitoring of the case. Any older child international adoption should be considered high risk – the parents should be fully vetted and counseled. Chances are, the child was troubled by his past. Also, one can't understimate the trauma of moving to a new place – I think alot of Americans believe that a child should be happy, relieved and grateful to be in the states. Actually, during the adjustment, the opposite is often true. The child's whole life has been turned upside down – everything from the old life is gone, including (in this case) his name! Adult s in care of a child like this should expect the worst for a while. We are adoptive parents of a wonderful, bright Chinese girl, now 13. We adopted her at age 3 and went through two years of a rollercoaster of rages, tantrums, biting, kicking etc, with also periods of great calm and happiness. She is now an incredibly well-adjusted child, gifted in many ways. But we had a time of it and just had to hold her, be patient and create structure. It seems like this adoptive mother was in a fantasy world. And now has added to this boy's burden of abandonment – a totally unneccessary tragedy.

    April 12, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  18. Tammy B

    I think the Mother should be charged with child endangerment and even child abuse (for the emotional/psychological effect this will have on that 7 year old in years to come). If this child were her biological child and misbehaved, would she dump that child on the side of the road with a note pinned to his/her shirt to take the child to an orphanage, because he/she were unruly and misbehaved? How insensitive of this entire family, even the Grandmother.

    April 12, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  19. Jill

    I felt so bad I wrote Russia saying so. Poor little boy. There are US hospitals thst devote themselves to beavior therapy and such. The boy could have gone there. The boy needed HELP and LOVE. Not being returned like he was a sweater that didn't fit.

    April 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  20. DM

    Adoption agencies have a responsibility to both the children in their charge and the adoptive parents to give ALL medical and psychological history, but they all too often choose not to.

    I do not know all of the facts in this case and neither does anyone else at this point, so I think it is very unfair to crucify this mother. I would not be surprised to learn that she tried to get help only to be told it was her problem to deal with.

    April 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  21. Janice

    I haven't heard all the information about this case, but my questions are: Is there any verification of the child's behavior and was his school involved? If he had such serious behavior issues surely the school was aware and involved.

    April 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  22. Holly

    This story is getting a lot of bad press but..only the adoptive parents of this child know what was going on, and none of us can even fathom what that family went through before the child was sent back. I think people should stop judging these people. I am sure that they tried the best that they could..but would YOU put the rest of your family in danger for a child that doesnt want to be part of your life? Think about it..would we judge them harsher if the child had killed family members? I have heard about other people adopting AMERICAN children and once that child is out of the system and legally adopted all goverment and agency help is withdrawn and the family is on their own with a disturbed child..sorry but I seriously think people should think a little before they judge these people what would YOU do if you couldnt sleep for fear the child would kill you or your family?.I am sure this isnt something considered lightly,

    April 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  23. Rhonda

    As an adoptive mother of 11 U.S. foster children and 3 biological children, I think this family should be treated the way any abusive, neglectful parent would be treated. Jail time. How was she even allowed to bring him home? I am at a loss for words it is so upsetting! We have children of all races with all sorts of special needs. Adopting children is like giving birth!! These children became OUR's as soon as we signed the papers. NO RETURNS!! No matter their special needs. I hope she goes to jail for a really long time. Her mother also.

    April 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  24. Agrippa

    Lets get real people. Fact: Russia is facing a severe population decline. In fact Putin has implemented a number of programs aimed at INCREASING the Russian birth rate in order to increase the country’s dwindling population. If we accept the fact that Russian authorities are deeply concerned with declining population it makes sense to also accept the fact that the children being offered for adoption are all “compromised” in one way or another and Russia is pawning them off on the rest of the world. Russia has one of the highest rates of alcohol abuse and highest percentages of smokers in the world. It makes sense to expect that the children of drunken, drug addicted skells are going to be mentally and physically defective. Lets wake up and face the facts if anyone is to blame its the Russians.

    April 12, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  25. Amber M.

    I work in the mental health field and care for children with mental/emotional issues. I see how detrimental family issues are with these children and cannot stress enough how important it is for them to have someone to love them. I have a child under my care who was adopted and then "given back" because the parents couldn't handle him. I understand their feelings but they need to realize what this does to the child. It can be very harmful. There are ways to learn to cope and help this child with whatever issues may arise. I think they should've sought help before deciding to send him away. I'm sure that child felt a bit more rejected than he did before.

    April 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  26. Joan Fox

    Children should not be adopted unless they have been psychologically examined. Certain emotional damage cannot be cured with lots of love. They only sent the boy back out of fear for their lives and sanity.

    April 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  27. Thadeus

    I don't agree Eileen. Its easy for another person to stand self righteous yelling "monster." Where is your compassion? Knowing what you know now, would you personally consider raising this young boy. I doubt you would. There should be compassion for both child and the adoptive parents. Obviously, this family took this young one in with hearts ready to love. What wasn't given to the adoptive family was the truth. Hopefully this situation will serve as a lesson. I applaud the woman who had the courage to place that little one back on the plane and back to where the problems originated. They'll think before they put one of their problems in someone else's hand. America could learn from this woman. And her courage.

    April 12, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  28. Patricia Blenet

    I cannot believe we are even discussing whether this is "ok"!
    This is not a pet we are talking about! It is a CHILD!
    What kind of society can accept this?
    can you imagine the ramifications on this child?
    First, he or she is adopted. Then, he is returned?!?!?!
    That poor kid!

    April 12, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  29. Katrina

    No one said the child was "disabled" but the adoptive mother who obviously is acting rather suspiciously. Why are we all assuming this child is disabled? It's possible, yes, but not concluded as of yet. He could have been a scared 7 year old Russian speaking kid with a family that didn't understand him and didn't try very hard.

    April 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm |