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Foster mom sends adoptive son back to Russia

April 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Tennessee woman is stirring international outrage after sending a boy she adopted back to Russia on a flight solo.Just 7 years old, Artyom Savelyev is at the center of an international controversy. Adopted from Russia, he was returned to his native country last week, sent alone on a 10-hour flight with nothing but a note pinned to his backpack. His adoptive mother, Torry Hansen wrote that Justin was violent with severe psychopathic issues.

"All medical exams was done before the adoption procedure," said Russia's Children's Rights Minister Pavel Astokhov.

In an exclusive interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Astokhov denied the adoptive mother's claims.

"How can you imagine this 7-years-old boy can be dangerous?" Astokhov said.

Back in Tennessee, there is also an outrage over the extreme measures taken by the Hansen family.

"If I, as a parent, had put my 7-year-old on a plane, and sent him to Seattle with a note for somebody to take him to an orphanage, would I be charged with abuse and neglect? Probably so," said Debbie Robinson, an adoption counselor.

However, family friends are quick to come to their defense.

"I've never even seen them holler at the little boy. What they are saying cannot be true," said Linda Austin, a friend of the Hansen family.

Astokhov said Artyom seems happy now. Several Russian families have stepped forward to adopt him. The Hansen family did not want to comment to ABC News, but a Russian lawyer said she was contacted by Artyom's adoptive grandmother who was asking about legal options to annul the adoption.

The boy's story highlights long standing problems between the U.S. and Russia over adoptions.

Astokhov cited 16 cases where Russian children were killed in their adoptive American homes.


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