Monday, July 05, 2010

Ivan Skorobogtov/Nathaniel Craver Update

I have obtained new information on the Ivan Skorobogtov/Nathaniel Craver murder case.

Ivan/Nathaniel was adopted from Dom Rebyonka #9 in Troitsk, Chelyabinsk region. He was placed through Lutheran Social Services of the South, Austin, Texas. LSS lost its accreditation on May 20, 2005 and closed its Russian program. The adoption took place when LSS was accredited.

These changes are in the updated on Forever Family - Forever Dead.

On June 14, the Michael and Nanette Craver pled not guilty to all charges at their arraignment hearing. Defense attorney Gerald Lord says he has no idea when the case will go to trial. It may start as late as next year.

In May, the York County Senior deputy prosecutor Jennifer Russell, citing Vanya's age and the state's contention that his death constituted torture, said she would seek the death penalty.

The Russian government is watching the case closely.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

No Justice for Masha: Part 937

Masha Allen continues to pawned through the US justice system.

James Marsh reported today on his ChildLaw Blog that Masha Allen's federal lawsuit has been dismissed due to, of all things, "failure to properly plead a basis for federal jurisdiction."

I don't know the details but according to Marsh:

Despite the trenchant involvement of a reconstructed legal team consisting of much-sought after
guardian ad litem Cambria County bankruptcy attorney Timothy J. Sloan (who replaced Masha's former mother Faith Allen as lead plaintiff), Georgia attorneys David S. Bills (who blogs anonymously about Masha's case at, William Q. Bird and Darren Summerville (who were originally hired by Faith Allen who reportedly now lives in Georgia), and Pennsylvania First Amendment attorney Thomas Vecchio (who replaced renowned Philadelphia attorney Robert N. Hunn who withdrew under protest last year), Masha "did not oppose (and consents to) dismissal [of the lawsuit] without prejudice on ground of lack of subject matter jurisdiction." .

27 lawyers have been involved in this case, and still Masha can't get one splinter of justice. (Where are all those politicians who vowed to help her?) She turns 18 in August and will be out from under the thumb of the state then, with unfortunately, for what it's worth, no one to handle her legal affairs. We don't know what to expect. According to Marsh, Masha has vowed to keep her case going, but we have no idea where it may go. Or where she may go.

If Masha Allen, the victim of one of the worse child trafficking cases in US history, can't get justice, how can we expect justice for anyone "touched by adoption"?

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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Liam Thompson/Dmitry Sergeyvich Islankulov Update: Liam's Sister

In October 2003 Liam Thompson born Dmitry Sergeyvich Islankulov,was torture-murdered by his Forever Parents of six months, Gary and Amy Thompson of Galloway, Ohio. He died on his third birthday. Liam had a slightly older sister, adopted at the same time and from the same agency, Tree of Life in Portland, Oregon. We heard little about his sister then, not even her name, only that she had been placed in care and would probably be adopted by a new family.

On April 26, the Columbus Dispatch published a story about Liam's invisible sister, Ira: Russian girl survives awful first adoption to find love in a new home.

Once, a long time ago, Ira was Irina Alexandrovna Pavlova. Then she was Irina Thompson, neglected, but not abused, by Gary and Amy Thompson. Now she is Irina Elizabeth Jean Palmer daughter of Don and Nadine Palmer and sister of Jessica and Cache. She lives in Powell, Ohio, just north of Columbus. Ira likes Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, and she's a gymnast. Pink is her favorite color. She wonders about her family in Russia. She remembers Liam.

One of the key tools in the prosecution of Liam's death was Amy Thompson's computer diary where she wrote of her disappointment in the children and how they "sickened" her. They ruined her self-esteem. With their needs and problems, they caused her to doubt her formerly "good" parenting skills. Her 15-year old biological daughter, who knew what her parents had done to Liam, tipped police to the journal. Full contents of the diary have never been published, but police used the document in their investigation. A few excerpts were introduced in court and reported in the Dispatch:*

Columbus Dispatch, June 19, 2004: Mom says baby scalded because she disliked him; Mom pleads guilty in connection with son's death:
  • We discussed how much we would love to get rid of them like dogs at the pound, and even contacted a ranch in Montana about taking them to other homes.
  • I just want to leave him somewhere and walk away, just be free of responsibility for his kid I don't even like. He is so slimy He makes me ill.
Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 2004: Diary of an adoption tragedy:
  • While I am doing this (hitting children and screaming at them) it feels oddly good. I feel a sense of relief to get out some of anger, and I have to stop before I really hurt them. Afterwards, I feel somewhat guilty, but not as much as I should.
Columbus Dispatch, December 12, 2004: Russian adoption rules full of holes, little US oversight:
  • In a diary on Mrs. Thompson's computer, she wrote about how frustrated she was that Liam and a second Russian-born child they adopted had "no distinguishable personality."
Columbus Dispatch, April 26, 2010 (link at top):
  • I am mad at them for being so much damn work (angry) at them for not just fitting in and for having no personality.
The Thompsons apparently did not seek much professional help for the children or themselves, but even if they had...

In August, the Dispatch contacted Tree of Life for about the case:

Bianca Marcu, coordinator of international adoptions for Tree of Life, said her agency cannot be blamed for Liam's death. "Considering the adoption is completed, they are the legal parent," Marcu said. "I don't see how the adoption agency should be involved any more. It's easy to point the blame of the adoption agency."

She refused to comment later.

In 2000, Tree of Life placed Romanian 5-year old "orphan" Anton Nicolae-Danut, adoptive name Daniel Peckenpaugh, with pedophile William Delos Peckenpaugh, who videotaped his sexual abuse with the boy, and is now in prison. Prosecutors say he" adopted the boy to be a sex toy." To the best of my knowledge Tree of Life has made no comment on the case, so we can assume Marcu holds not fault there, either.

Tree of Life is Hague accredited through COA.

Before the Thompsons killed Liam, Gary Thompson worked for a credit union; Amy Thompson was an LPN. Gary pled guilty to one count of murder a month after Liam's death and was sentenced to 15 years to life. His first parole hearing will be in August 2018. Amy Thompson pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter. The judge recommended no early release. She will remain in prison until October 9, 2017. Amy's teenage daughter from her first marriage was placed in foster care; the Thompsons'son, close to the ages of Irina and Liam, last we heard, was living with relatives.

Irina seems to be doing well, and we are happy about that, but Nadine Palmer makes a troubling statement at the end of the article:

"When their names come up (the Thompsons) they try to focus on the good. "We always say that if Amy and Gary hadn't gone to Russia, we wouldn't have Irina."

We don't know anything about Irina except the story in the Dispatch. But... I hear a lot of this kind of talk coming from people trying to make sense out of disorder and tragedy, especially when they aren't the direct recipient of that disorder and horror themselves, but witness it in others. I guess it comforts them. We hope, the Palmers, through their positivity, are not forcing Irina to choke down the horror of Liam's death and of the Forever Thompson Family. To hold back her grief. Saying, virtually, that if it weren't for Liam's death, they wouldn't "have" Irina now, is not acceptable.

*I have hard copies of all articles from the Dispatch, but the originals have been moved to the paper's paid archives, so I'm linking them to Pound Pup's archives.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Ilya Kargyntsev/saac Dykstra Update: Brian Dykstra Waives Right to Speedy Trial

The trial of Brian Dykstra, charged with second degree murder in the death of his adopted son Ilya Kargyntsev/Isaac Dykstra  has been held off indefinitely. The trial was scheduled to start on May 10. The prosecution and defense filed a joint motion Friday requesting a new trial date due to the complexity of the case. According to their motion more than 130 witnesses may be called.

You can read about Isaac on my Summary of Cases page and a little about Brian Dykstra on my Summary of Cases - Killers page.

Comments from a member of the Dyskra family are here.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

UPDATE: APRIL 22, 2010

I've done some long-due updating on my Memoriam page, adding Nathaniel Craver born Ivan Skorobogatov. Vanya died August 25, 2009, the result of severe beating and malnourishment. After a 6-month investigation, on February 26, 2010, His Forever Parents, Michael and Nanette Craver were arrested and charged with felony homicide, conspiracy, and child endangerment. The Cravers are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 29. I've been trying to dig out agency information, but nothing so far.

I have also added the Cravers to my "Killers" page and done a couple updates and clean-ups in other cases.

Brian Dykstra, accused of killing Ilya Kargyntsev/Isaac Dykstra  is finally going to trial. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for April 29 and trial date set for May 10,2010. See the Memoriam page for details of the case.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

The Weird World of Torry Hansen: An Accusation from Hayfork

The Daily Bastardette and Nikto Ne Zabyt
is probably the only place you will find this!

Our quick-witted commenter "blueheron" caught the following comment on the Redding Record/ article, Russian boy case linked to Redding and added it to my Weird World of Torry Hansen comments (on the Daily Bastardette site.)

I'm posting it here because I think the comment deserves wider distribution and shouldn't just set as a comment.--especially since it has been disappeared from it's original site newspaper site.

We can't judge the veracity of the writer, but it's an intriguing clue to the Hansen puzzle. From what we know of similar abuse cases involving the Forever Families of Russian adoptees, social isolation plays is a key marker.

blueheron wrote:
Here is a comment from the article about the Hansens in Redding and Hayfork. I can't vouch for the truth, but it is interesting. Any errors are in the original. Here's the link to the article/comments:

southforkmom writes:
The other part of this story has no one questioning the mother's role in this picture. The real story here is that Torry is the one with the strange, controlling upbringing. It is known in Hayfork that Erik and Nancy would enroll their children in public school and then pull them out to homeschool after some issue and would do this frequently. Another daughter got pregnant and the parents feigned the disapearance of the girl because they didn't like the boyfriend. The boyfriend filed a missing person's report with the sheriff's department and was very concerned with her whereabouts and safety. It was determined by the d.a.'s office that she actually wasn't a missing person. A child was born and that father still to this day hasn't had any contact with that child. I believe that Russian boy isn't the one with the problem here. The fact that Torry put that boy on a plane to RUSSIA! alone instead of getting help from the appropriate athorities says alot more about her character. Maybe he was just stuck in a horrible situation and that was his only way to retaliate.

Thanks blueheron!

There is much more to this story from the Hansen AND the adoption industry side. We're doing our part to make sure it gets told.

blueherron posted this additional comment from on The Daily Bastardette.
I'm re-posting it here for wider distribution:

Well, just in case this one disappears, too, I'm posting it. The explanation of "gaming" public authorities is worth noting, I thought. From the comments in the same article, responding to SouthforkMom:

April 19, 2010
Poeschl writes:
Thanks to SouthforkMom's comment (April 17) regarding Torry Hansen's parents, their controlling upbringing of Torry and her sisters with repeated homeschooling, and especially Erik & Nancy Hansen's filing a false missing persons report with Hayfork law enforcement.

I also note Terra Kephart's comment (in the news article) that the Hansens were socially reclusive.

All this information is corroborated by the Hansen family's behavior in Tennessee (where they had moved from California) from 2006 onward, with the social reclusion of the entire family, the homeschooling, and their 'gaming' of public authorities by providing false information or by withholding necessary information.

The last trait, the 'gaming' of public authorities by withholding necessary information, is borne out by Torry & Nancy Hansen's returning Justin Hansen to Russia without giving prior notice either to the Russian government, or to the Washington State adoption agency that had arranged the adoption, or to the followup agency (Adoption Assistance Inc., of Danville, KY) that had contracted to monitor Torry Hansen's adoption.

It is not even clear that authorities in Bedford County, TN, where Torry & Nancy Hansen resided with Justin, had ever received formal notice from the Hansens that Torry Hansen had custody of a child. Thus no independent third party can verify Torry & Nancy Hansen's claims about Justin's threats and violence -- which is probably exactly what the Hansens intended.

It should also be noted that both Torry and Nancy Hansen did travel to Russia to meet Justin-Artyom and spend time with him before they decided to complete the adoption and take him back to the U.S. Also, the followup agency, Adoption Assistance, Inc., had previously educated Torry Hansen about the difficulties of Russian adoption and especially the difficulties encountered in caring for older institutionalized children and possible abnormal behavior. So, Torry and Nancy Hansen were not unprepared for Justin-Artyom and his allegedly difficult behavior.

The Russian government has already placed Justin-Artyom with a diplomatic family in Moscow who are well-informed about his history, are prepared to cope with his behavior, and plan to adopt him.

Note to Timbuk24U: Adoption is not like marriage. Marriage is between two consenting adults. Justin-Artyom is a child who did not consent be adopted by Torry Hansen. Also, once the adoption was finalized in November 2009, Justin-Artyom automatically became a U.S. citizen, and Torry Hansen lost the right to unilaterally terminate the adoption without the prior approval of an American court. Bedford County authorities will have to get a court order to unseal the adoption papers (which include whether the adoption was legally terminated). But if the adoption was not legally terminated, Torry Hansen could face charges of abandonment.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

JCICS Attempts to Flood 'Net and Russia with "Positive Adoption Stories"

Just like cockroaches under the sink, JCICS is all over the Internet today with its We are the Truth Petition and National Adoption Blogger Day--all meant to force Russia to shut up and to continue send their orphans to US Forever Homes--while, of course, decrying the Saveliev/Hansen case as an "rare" exception., not systemic rot.

I was going to write about this, but Baby Love Child has already done it (and- shameless plug-- also promoted by Russian work): Russian adoptees & an "Adoption Blogger Day" Ah! How Special

Today the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) an adoption industry trade lobby here in the U.S. desires to clog social media with “positive adoption stories” in other words, adopter spam, (and no doubt grateful adoptee spam as well) culled from its member agencies’ adoptive parents files and email lists in a last ditch desperate attempt to try to stop Russia from ending American adoptions in the wake of the one way flight that took Artyem Saviliev from his “forever family” in the United States back to Russia.

They’ve called for an “Adoption Blogger Day.” Note that it’s not an Adoptee Blogger Day, because some of what Bastards have to say doesn’t exactly line up with the industry’s program.

Each of those tweets or FB entries or blog posts are calibrated towards a specific goal, ensuring inter-country adoptions continue. In other words, astro-turfing up a blizzard of ‘adoption is wonderful’ aimed at international adoption policy and maintaining the import of Russian adoptees.

Followed by an important long critique.

How about adding your own "adoption story? Twitter: #AdoptionBloggerDay


Addenda, April 16: JCICS now has a We Are the Truth video using cute Russian adoptees to pimp the industry. No mention that JCIC's own (then) adoption ethics honcho Jeannene Smith sold Masha "Allen" to pedophile Matthew Mancuso and never lifted a finger to help her post-placement and midlead and lied to the FBI and Congress to boot.

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Russia Freezes Adoptions to US

The Russian Foreign Ministry has put a freeze on all adoptions to the US until an agreement can be made between the two countries to better protect the rights--and we presume bodies and minds--of children placed in US homes.

New York Times:
Future adoptions of Russian children by citizens of the United States, which are now suspended, are possible only if such an agreement is reached,” a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrei Nesterenko, (right) said at a briefing on Thursday.

Officials at the United States Embassy in Moscow said they had not received official notification of a suspension and were seeking more information from their Russian counterparts.

Fox News adds:
Today State Department sources were caught unawares by the announcement of a freeze. A U.S. diplomatic source told me "we don't know anything about it, the Russians have told us nothing officially".

The National Council for Adoption sent out a press release (not yet online) this morning which reads in part:

The National Council For Adoption (NCFA) has spoken with Russian officials in the Ministry of Education (the Russian department with oversight of intercountry adoption) and with those in the Russian Embassy and neither department has been able to confirm the announcement or issue a public statement regarding when and if it will go into effect.

JCICS posted a similar statement

There's nothing on the State Department Intercountry Adoption page yet.

I find it hard to believe that everybody just misunderstood Andrei Nesterenko

Your tax dollars at work:
A US State Department delegation is headed for Moscow to try to bail out the privately owned international adoption industry.

Addenda: This just in from NCFA (not online):
DATED 11:36am

NCFA has confirmed with officials from the U.S. Department of State that the rumor of a suspension of intercountry adoptions from Russia to the U.S. is currently false. Intercountry adoptions are still being processed by the Russian Ministry of Education

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The Weird World of Torry Hansen: An Incident

OK. We have officially entered the Weird World of Torry Hansen.

The Tennessean reports that back in 2006, Torry Hansen and a former neighbor Robert Abbott engaged in what it calls a "bizarre feud."

How bizarre?

The paper doesn't give us the run-up, but reports that at 4:19 AM October 7, 2006, Hansen called the cops on Abbott complaining he was on her property. He was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing. The charges were dropped later. At the time, Hansen was sharing a home in Chapel Hill with her parents, sister, and a young boy, who I assume is Logan.

Sheriff Randall Boyce, currently investigating Artem's case, says he has a vague recollection of the feud:

I remember they were putting cameras on each other.

Cameras on each other?

Fredia Smith, who purchased the 4,300-square-foot Chapel Hill home and 30 acres from the Hansens in 2007 remembers visible evidence of the feud well.

She keeps a picture of a trailer Hansen painted neon orange, green and purple and placed near the road, apparently to irritate her neighbors. It was loaded with video equipment and sensor-activated lighting facing the Abbott’s house. The Hansens insisted on keeping the parcel of land it sat on out of the sale.

“It was like — whoo! — football stadium lights all of sudden in front of their house,” Smith said. “I thought it was kind of odd that they would not even think about selling that piece of property to me and they insisted on having that trailer there.”

Smith finally told the Hansens she would not buy the property if the trailer was not painted a solid color or removed. They removed it months later, she said.

Did this show up in the home study?

Oh! I almost forgot. Hansen's lawyer Trisha Henegar... She was Robert Abbott's lawyer back then.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Getting Weirder and Weirder: New Developments in the Saveliev/Hansen Case

Like Laura Silsby, Torry Hansen and her mother Nancy just get weirder and weirder.

Unless otherwise cited, the following material comes from this ABC News article and video.

Another Adoptee for Torry Hansen
ABC News reported yesterday, using an unnamed source inside the Bedford County sheriff's office, that while Torry Hansen was getting ready to ship one adopted son back to Russia she was trying to adopt another child from the Republic of Georgia. And she wasn't getting any help from her agency, the World Association for Children and Parents, either:

She switched adoption agencies after the agency that arranged the adoption of her first child, World Association for Children and Parents, urged her to wait before adopting again, the source said. The association advised Hansen it would be best to settle in with the boy before adding to her family, the source said.

WACAP now has a FAQ on its page regarding Artem's case (much of which is "confidential" and cannot be released) and outlining international adoption procedures and practices it follows.

No more details on the alleged second adoption plan ..but in a related note...

...WSMV-TV Nashville reports that Artem was not Torry Hansen's first try at adoption.

An unnamed co-worker from the VA Hospital in Murfreesboro where Hansen works as a medical/surgical nurse says that a year ago Torry and Nancy Hansen spent two weeks in Russia to meet a child with mental and developmental problems Torry planned to adopt. Deciding she (or we bet "they") couldn't handle a special needs child, the two returned home empty-handed. The friend reports that six months later WACAP called Torry with a new child described as having "no serious problems." Ms and Mrs. Hansen made a quick trip to Russia and returned with Artem.

The friend told WSMV that Torry's decision to adopt from Russia was influenced by her sister's "successful" adoption from Russia of Logan, described in earlier news reports as Torry's biological son. Torry, the friend says, wanted the boys to "grow up together like brothers."

When I first heard about Logan last weekend I was concerned about his reaction to the sudden disappearance of Artem and the firestorm that followed. Adoptees are all too familiar with the Forever Family threat, "I'll send you back to where you came from." In this case, it happened. As a Russian adoptee himself, does Logan now fear he'll be sent back, too?

Speaking of the boys, you may remember that Artem told authorities that he had not attended school while living with Torry Hansen; suggesting a pattern of social isolation that is common amongst abused and murdered Russian adoptees (though hardly limited to that abused group). ABC reports that neither Artem nor Logan attended public school and that they are not registered in a home school program as required under Tennessee law. This report contradicts a claim by Nancy Hansen published the Toronto Star that Artem was working with an English-language home school program to prepare him for enrollment in a "traditional school "in the fall. If so, what was Logan doing?

A Helping Hand for the Hansens?
Despite Nancy Hansen's claim that the decision to deport Artem to whence he came was a last-minute decision, Karina Krasnova, the lawyer that Hansen claims advised her, says she was contacted by Hansen a month ago. You can read their correspondence,--which really consists of a free "ask a Russian lawyer entry--in yesterday's "lawyer identified" entry.

Krasnova actually gave Hansen succinct, but excellent advice, and...a-hem...warned her that Torry could be held financially responsible for Artem until he is 18 if he weren't re-adopted. Obviously a one-way ticket to Moscow is cheaper.

In an interview with RIA Novisti, Krasnova says that she offered to represent the Hansens in the Russian courts if they decided to disrupt. (I found this information last night off the Russian language and today can't locate the links to either article. I printed out the article, "American grandmother Artem Saveliev: for the daughter adoption was a tragedy . She became an outcast."

Krasnova appears briefly in the ABC video at the bottom of this blog (taken from the above ABC link). Speaking of Nancy Hansen, she says through a translator:

When this woman encountered a massive problem nobody lent her a helping hand. I think this was an act of desperation by the family.

Kransova says "nobody lent a helping hand." The New York Times reports that there is no evidence that the Hansens ever asked for that helping hand or that anyone was aware they needed one. United Way of Bedford County, the Tennessee Department of Children Services and an unnamed Shelbyville social service agency say the Hansens did not contact them for help.

The Toronto Star (above link) reports that Hansen (which one?) reportedly consulted a psychologist but never took Artem for an evaluation or session. Moreover, there is no evidence that the Hansens contacted the International Adoption Clinic at Vanderbilt University, only an hour away in Nashville. (Torry Hansen took her undergrad degree at Vandy).

WACAP says it had no report of problems, and actually received a happy family picture from the Hansens a couple weeks before Artem was dumped. They only learned about his return when the Russian Ministry of Education called them on April 8.

Adoption Assistance, Inc. in Smyrna, Tennessee (Lisa Mosley, casework supervisor), which did the home study and post-placement checks (WACAP's endorsement here) has released a statement saying the Hansens never discussed serious problems with Artem. I cannot find a copy of the statement online, but the NYT says:

And the agency that conducted home visits before and after Justin’s adoption, Adoption Assistance, in Smyrna, Tenn., released a statement Monday saying the Hansens had not told its social worker about the severity of their concerns. In January, the statement said, a social worker found that “the child appeared to be adjusting to his new home and family and his mother was enthusiastic about his accomplishments.”

Nancy Hansen has said the boy became a problem later. Adoption Assistance said, “If this mother would have contacted us when the adjustment problems began, we would have worked with her on the issues or arranged alternative placement.”

Which, of course, is right in line with Krasnova's unhappy legal warning.

Hansen Compound
Commenters on various forums have remarked on the oddity of Torry Hansen, as a new adoptive mother and her own mother Nancy living together. Actually they don't. It just seems like they do. As you can see from the picture (right) they live side-by-side, their modular homes connected by a high wide fence. There is no doubt, though, that Torry Hansen is henpecked and Nancy does all her talking. Torry (and probably the rest of the family) are inseparable and indistinct from Nancy.

ABC's Ashleigh Banfield, reporting across the street from the Hansen homes tosses this little grenade into the news hole and then walks away from it with no explanation or seeming curiosity. Explaining that the Hansens are avoiding the long arm of the media, Banfield stretches her own long arm out to what she calls the Hansen "compound":

They are in a very extensive compound behind me. Acres and acres of land, several buildings that the [Hansen] family members all live and work in.

Look over here real quickly. A very expansive system of fencing that goes for hundreds of yards and is 6 feet tall.

Neighbors say that's really unusual for this these parts, and the neighbors said they really don't know these people well. But we did find a friends who said they would never ever hurt Artum like this...

Say what? Fenced-in compound?

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon and evening trying to figure out what's going on--if anything-- behind the fence at 8973 Couchville Pike, admittedly difficult to do from behind a computer in Columbus, Ohio.

ABC and earlier the New York Times reported on the Hansen family's apparent isolation, a marker in a good number of abuse cases. Neighbors said that outside of bi-weekly yard sales, the Hansens had little interaction with them. One neighbor who lives "within eyesight of the Hansen's" believed the family came from California and had moved in about a year ago. She reported that during a rare neighborly discussion, an unnamed Hansen woman said she didn't like the area and was thinking of "going back." This same woman said she didn't remember ever seeing Artem. Other neighbors said they have no idea where the family went to church, which struck me very odd since church is central to most folks in that area. The area, known locally as El Bethel (or the El Bethel Community) was founded in 1837 when Primitive Baptists built a church there. The current El Bethel Baptist Church, which includes a rec center and social hall, is a couple minutes walk from Hansen's homes. So far, no connection has been made between the church and the family. From the look of things, there is none.

It's important to note that no neighbors, quoted in the NYT, at least any that made the cut, mentioned a mysterious "compound" where various Hansen family members live and work--a point you'd think would be taken. From the ABC video and and Google Maps satellite view, the area doesn't look like a farm where people might live together. It's more like a group of ugly modular buildings. It's all very curious.

The Hansens have spent a good part of their lives in out-of-the-way places like Mount Juliet, Tennessee (their actual location, not Shelbyville.) Places like Hayfork, Calilfornia (pop 2,315) Bandera, Texas ( pop. 957), Unionville, Tennessee (pop 6,532): close enough to larger cities to get things done, but far enough out of the way to be left alone. The largest cities I've found them related to are Madison, Alabama and Redding, California.

Neither Torry, Nancy, nor any of their known close family members: Erik Robert Hansen, Tammy Jo Hansen, Tracy L. Hansen and possibly Evelyn Ruth Hansen, Paul Hansen, and Anna Hansen appear in any local or nearby newspapers.

Bedford County, Tennessee public records (clerk of courts, auditor, treasurer, probate, etc.) are not available online nor are they available for Trinity County, California or Banderas County, Texas. Madison County and Shasta County, California records, however, are online. There are no listings for any of them in Madison County. I found entries for Erik Robert Hansen and the names Tracy Hansen and Nancy Hansen (not verified as "our" Hansens) in the Shasta County, California Superior Court database, but the court's "new and improved" system won't let me in to them. Perhaps somebody else will have better luck. I don't see online access for other public records in the county.

Except for recent news coverage, the Hansens are virtually absent from the Internet.

There is enough blame to spread around, but it should start with Adoption Assistance. The Hansen's unusual living arrangement and dysfunctional family relationships should have been noted during the home study. Certainly Nancy Hansen's overarching influence on Torry and presumably the rest of the family and what seems to be her role as primary caregiver for Atem should have been a red flag either then or during post-placement investigations. I've known people subjected to all kinds of absurd home study checks--the most absurd reported when a social worker stuck a thermometer inside a refrigerator to assure acceptable food temperature. At the opposite end, there's the phone-in (if that) home study of pedophile Mathhew Mancuso who adopted Masha "Allen" to be his sex slave. Home studies are the gateway, and it looks like in this case, the lock was pretty rusty.

The idea of a fenced-in compound where the family lives and works smacks of fundamentalism or survivialism or both. Especially so when linked to the Hansen's lack of community interaction, Artem and Logan's lack of formal schooling, the family's apparent refusal to seek help from local social service agencies, and their rejection of legal advice and services. So far, we've only got Ashleigh Banfield's word about the "compound." Local media should follow up on her report. It can't be that difficult to dig around on-site. If I were down there, I'd be out on Couchville Pike.

Sidenote: Imagine my surprise when during the video below, some pictures from my memorial page showed up. (2:53). I know at least some of them are mine because they are not available online and I got them from private sources, and edited them myself. That's, OK. I just wasn't expecting it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nancy/Torry Hansen Lawyer Identified: And No! That's Not the Advice She Gave!

I have found it difficult to believe that any lawyer, even online, would have advised the Hansens to stick Artem on a plane and hire a tour guide to escort him to the Ministry of Science and Education building on Moscow's main street. Hansen's lawyer has now been identified as St. Petersburg attorney Karina Krasnova. Despite Nancy Hansen's plea that she made a quick decision to send Artum back, Krasnova says Hanson contacted her a month ago about how to return the boy. Sending him to Tverskaya was definitely NOT the advice she gave.

Krasnova has a free Ask Russian Lawyer a Question feature on her (linked above) webpage. Guess what? That's where Nancy Hansen got her advice--actually good advice--which she promptly ignored. If the Hansens think they can plead ignorance of the law or get Krasnova to back them up, they're in for a real rude awakening.

Here is how the Q & A went:

Q: My daughter adopted boy from Russia (she is a single mother). My daughter was lied to about the child’s behavior by the orphanage caregivers. The safety of herself and others is a major issue. She is no longer willing to keep him in her home.

The child has stated many times that he wants to return to the orphanage and misses his friend. As the adoption has not worked, I would like to know what the Russian law is in returning him to the orphanage. Also, if the law allows this, how much you would charge to facilitate this matter.

A: Procedure for cancellation of adoption is regulated by Art. 140-142 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation. Adoption can be terminated only by court order and by serious reasons. Usually termination of adoption is a punitive measure applicable to parents who evade discharge of their parental obligations, abuse parental rights, abuse adopted children, or are alcohol or drug addicted.

However a court may also cancellation adoption by other reasons. According to Art. 141, par. 2 of the Family Code of the Russian Federation a court is entitled to terminate adoption of a child by other reasons taking into account child's opinion and if it is in the best interests of the child.

Thus, notwithstanding that fact that the wish of adoptive parents to cancellation the adoption is not a direct and unconditional reason for such termination it may be done “by other reasons taking into account child's opinion and if it is in the best interests of the child”.

If a court comes to a conclusion that return of the child to Russia is in his best interests a corresponding court order will be issued and it will lead to the following:

- reciprocal rights and obligations of the adopted child and the adoptive parents and their relatives (including grandmother) will be terminated by court order;
- the child will be returned to his parents by court order. If he has no parents or return of the child to the parents is not in his best interests, the child will be taken care of by guardianship institutions;
- the court will also decide whether the name given to the child after adoption will be changed.

You should also keep in mind that the court is entitled to lay an obligation to pay child maintenance over the former adoptive parent (your daughter) in accordance with the procedure established by the law. Therefore after termination of adoption in Russia your daughter may be obliged to pay child support until the child becomes 18 years old.

In interests of the child the court can resolve adoption of the child by other family, without returning the child to Russia. In this case I see an alternative way of dealing with your problem. Many families in America dream of adoption and your child may be adopted by another family, in this way he will be able to live in a family in the USA.

For any actions concerning this child it is necessary for you to receive approval of Russian authorities.

Could this caveat--not the alleged scary drawing--have been the real last straw?

You should also keep in mind that the court is entitled to lay an obligation to pay child maintenance over the former adoptive parent (your daughter) in accordance with the procedure established by the law. Therefore after termination of adoption in Russia your daughter may be obliged to pay child support until the child becomes 18 years old.

ABC News reports that Torry Hansen was trolling for a replacement, even while planning to return Artem to sender. No matter how many yard sales the Hansens throw, that won't pay for two kids.

How in the world did the Hansens think ugly cut-bait-and-run stunt, clearly illegal, would help Torry adopt another kid? Or that they'd even get away with it? You can't even pull that off with a cat shelter.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Artur Lookyanov: A First Person Account of Artem's Abandonment

Artur Lookyanov, the Moscow tour guide, hired by Nancy Hansen to pick up Artem Saveliev/Artem Justin Hansen at Domedovo Airport last week posted a message here yesterday. This morning I found his own long and very detailed account of the event on his webpage Moscow Driver." This is the fullest account of Artem's abandonment so far, and very important reading. It also clears up earlier stories that indicated that Artem was found wandering around the airport by himself. I've been in both Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo Airport Hell myself, and it's nothing adults, much less children, should be subjected to.

Below are excerpts from: Story of Artem Justin Hansen: How I Became Involved in an International Adoption Scandal (Part 1) (Follow link to Part 2 and other details) I suggest you go over to Artur's page and read the entire account.

From Part 1: Email exchange with Nancy Hansen. Booking transportation from airport Moscow city.

Note that in all of our correspondence she never once told me that she would not be the one to meet me at the airport. I was fully convinced that she would be the one meeting me! It was only after our meeting had been confirmed that she sent me more specific details. The e-mail came in the next morning, April 7, 2010 at 8:00 am Moscow time: Hi Arthur: The pick-up on Thursday will be for an 8 year old boy named Artem Hansen. A United Airlines Customer Service Agent will escort him to the hall to meet you (you will need to show ID). The United Airlines customer service agent will hand you an envelope. Inside the envelope are 2 envelopes. One is an envelope for the Ministry of Education, Tverskaya Street, 11, Moscow. The other envelope will be addressed to you. Inside will be your payment in US Dollars. I would like for you to please escort Artem into the Office of the Ministry of Education. If you could please give me your fee for this additional service, I will enclose it in your envelope. Thank you for your time. Warmest regards, Nancy...I was surprised to read this letter, because I was fully convinced that I was supposed to meet Nancy, not the child, but there was no time to think. Then it occurred to me that the boy was probably going to study or returning to school, and this made me feel better. I sent a confirmation and I asked her who I was to meet at the Ministry of Education...

After receiving another email from Nancy Hansen, Artur writes:

...I had no time to respond to this letter. I arrived home from work late that night tired but elated by the fact that the day was so sunny and beautiful, and that my clients were delighted by what they saw and the services I provided. I switched on the computer once again to check mail and read her letter (above). To tell the truth my good mood from the lovely day disappeared. It was too late for me to back out because of the time difference. If I did not meet the child at the airport, he would have been stranded. I work so hard to do everything the right way and to make my clients feel comfortable. I have a lot of great comments and friends from around the world, especially in the U.S. How could I refuse? I would not have survived thinking that the boy was left alone at the airport.

From Part 2: My rude awakening. I learned Artem Hansen had been adopted and was not expected back by the Ministry

We entered the main entrance of the building and I turned to the security guard, asking him to tell the people from the Ministry that we were there. I thought they were expecting us, but he looked at me as if I were crazy. At this point I realized something was terribly wrong. He advised me to call the Ministry directory-inquiry service. No one met us, and I dialed the Ministry directory-inquiry service with trembling hands and a bad premonition. I still did not understand what was happening. I called several different departments but nobody knew anything about Artem. It took us a while call the Department of the State Data Bank, and by this time the SDB employees could tell that I’d become nervous. They decided to come down and investigate. Five minutes later, three women came down to us. I tried to explain the situation to them and we opened the envelope meant for the representative of the Ministry. It contained the sad message which is now well-known. We were all shocked. The note stated that the foster mother of the child, Tory Hansen, refused adoption with regret and explained her reasons. The women of SDB understood the seriousness of the case and asked us to go with them to investigate further.

We proceeded to the department. I did not leave Artem Hansen for a minute, because by now I knew he didn’t speak Russian. I translated the questions he was asked by employees and the boy’s answers. The boy entered the country on a Russian passport, so SDB employees quickly found out where he was from. It turned out that he was adopted by an accredited agency in America from an orphanage in Vladivostok on Sept. 26, 2009. While the boy was drinking tea and eating cake brought by the staff, I told my part of the story. Realizing that I had been deceived I decided to call Nancy Hansen to ask for an explanation. I had her number written on the envelope that I was to deliver to the Ministry. At 14:11 I called Nancy. I asked her to clarify the situation and explain her behavior. There was a long pause; apparently she did not expect me to call. Then she told me she had not wanted to trouble me, and had thought I would not be affected. I gave her the number to the office where Artem and I were, and she spoke to the employee in English. The conversation didn’t last long. Soon they hung up.

Artur says he remained with Artem, even after authorities indicated he was longer needed, until the boy was transfered to the hospital:

Although I had not had anything to eat or drink since early that morning, I felt responsible and nervous for the boy. That is why I asked permission to stay and make sure the boy was ok until he was taken to the hospital. It was now the end of the day and the center of Moscow was paralyzed with traffic jams as usual, so we waited for an ambulance and Mr. Astahov (authorized representative of the President of Child Rights) for a long time. All of us were surprised at how calm the boy was. It had been a very long day without rest, but he continued playing and smiling even in the police department. We enjoyed his warm selflessness; he kept taking his toys from his backpack and offering them to us. He offered me a United Airlines badge. I saw that the boy had two identical badges, and understood that he was giving me this gift from the heart, that he wanted to thank me. So I took his little gift.

Here you can see the picture of this badge.

I am thankful that Artem had Artur on his side at at his back. His devotion to Artem is even more meaningful since his own Forever Family threw him away.

Спасибо, Артур!

Hansen Family Values: Selling Off Artem One Toy at a Time?

I need to spend today working on Illinois legislative matters, but wanted to get this out first.

A curious little piece on the Hansen family appeared Saturday on WSMV-TV, Nashville: Hansen women regularly held yard sales

When I saw the Google News headline my first thought was "stretching for a story."

Then I read it.

Though the reporter made no connection between last week's yard sale that featured "kids' clothes, toys, car seats and stuff” and Artem's quick departure for Moscow, I can't help but see one. Can you?

On Saturday, neighbors who live beside the women in Bedford County said the family kept to themselves and hardly anyone knew them, but the women did hold weekly yard sales.

Chelby Clark said she even went to a yard sale at the Hansen’s home last week. “The kids may have been running around,” she said.

On Saturday, several long tables were still sitting in the front yard of the Hansen's homes off Highway 41 in El Bethel.

Clark said their sale last week centered around kids' items. She recalled seeing “mainly, a bunch of kids' clothes, toys, car seats and stuff.”

Clark spoke to the women about a car seat. “I asked one lady if she could bring down a price and then she turned around and asked an older lady the same question. The older lady said she said she'd take it down by a couple of dollars,” Clark said.

She didn't notice anything unusual, “But I guess they were just too themselves more,” Clark said.

According to neighbors, yard sales are a common sight at the Hansen's homes.

Angeline Bailey said “they usually they had two a week.”

There was no activity at either house all day Friday and Saturday, and despite cars parked out front, there was no sign of the Hansens.

Neighbor Chelby Clark can't remember for sure, but says "kids may have been running around." If they were, that would probably be Artem and Torry Hansen's biological son, Logan. Now, kids "stuff" is a yard sale staple, but could the Hansens have been selling off Artem's "stuff" right in front of him? Erasing his "stuff" before they erased him?

We don't know the date of this garage sale, but Nancy Hansen, in an ill-advised (for her ) interview with the press said that "they" decided to ship Arem to Ul. Tverskaya on Sunday after he drew of a picture of the house burning down. If the garage sale happened before Sunday it could indicate an earlier decision. If it happened after, but before he was dumped onto the plane, it would indicate that they were selling him off little by little while he watched, though innocent of his soon-to-be fate.

Either scenario is extremely disturbing.

It reminds me of the closing scenes of the "adoption film classic and to me the scariest adoption film ever made, Penny Serenade.

After...oh say...about six weeks of mourning the death by unnamed-exotic-illness of their beloved adopted daughter Trina, (and almost getting a divorce) compassionate adoption agent Beulah Bondi offers Cary Grant and Irene Dunn a replacement. As the film ends, we watch the newly reconciled and once again happy couple paint over Trina's now empty room as if she never existed.

NOTE: For more on a local POV of the Hansens see the New York Times, In Tenn, Reminders of a boy returned to Russia. Of particular interest, since it suggests a pattern we have seen repeatedly in cases of Russian adoptee abuse, is the Hansens' reported self-imposed social isolation:

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.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saveliev/Hansen Case: Torry Hansen a No-Show for "Talk" with Local Sheriff

Adoptee dumpers Torry Hansen and her mother Nancy finally bought a clue and a real lawyer--and then failed to show up for a sitdown Friday with Bedford County (TN) Sheriff Randall Boyce. Here's the intro to a long article in Saturday's Shelbyville Times-Gazette about his area's international pariahs.

The mother and grandmother of a young adopted Russian boy sent by himself back to Moscow failed to make an appointment they had originally scheduled Friday to talk to Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce about the case.

Boyce told media representatives Friday that Torry Hansen would not be showing up at his department, but "may be here sometime next week."

"She called and said her attorney didn't think it was in her best interest at this point ... mainly because of the media being here," Boyce said.

Boyce told the press:

"This is an international deal ... and we're going to handle it a little bit at a time so we don't make a mistake," he said, adding that his department had never dealt with this kind of situation before.

Here is his interview:

Does Sheriff Boyce look like somebody who is flattered to chitchat with State Department and Russian Embassy officials? Does he look like somebody who enjoys a hundred media crews camping out in his town and chasing away "customers?" Does he appear to be somebody who will cut the Hansens slack?

I spent a couple years in South Georgia. Don't judge these good ol' boys by their cover.

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Rub-a-Dub-Dub: WACAP Scrubbed from NCFA Membership Page

Well, this is interesting!

n yesterday's entry on the World Association for Children and Parents involvement in the Artem Saveliev case, posted directly below this, I wrote that WACAP is a member of the adoption trade association the National Council for Adoption. NCFA's membership list, I noted, was not online when I checked right before posting. Actually, I was pretty sure I'd seen the roster a couple days earlier when NCFA's new webpage was launched. It turns out I was right. The membership roster was online. THEN. And it is online. NOW. But not yesterday afternoon, when it appears that a NCFAnoid was busy scrubbing the site clean of WACAP membership.

Super sleuth and longtime NCFA watcher JoAnne Swanson took screen shots of the NCFA Washington State roster before and after the cleansing. (Click on the images below to make them larger). And if you don't believe me, go to today's NCFA membership site.



This doesn't mean that WACAP (so far) is gone from NCFA, but that NCFA has sent if off the island to distance itself from their member. WACAP membership, as of this writing, is still posted on the JCICS site.

While we're at it, we were greatly amused by NCFA's press release on the Artem Saveliev/Artem Justin Hansen case; re: its statement on child abandonment (still not online):

"Child abandonment of any kind is reprehensible," says Chuck Johnson, acting CEO of the National Council For Adoption. "The actions of this mother are especially troubling because an already vulnerable, innocent child has been further victimized."

Oops! The country's baby dumping "safe haven" laws, which let parents "legally abandon" newborns with no questions asked, were godfathered by NCFA's founding president the late Bill Pierce while still at NCFA. I guess it's different when its your own. Thanks for the great quote, Chuck! We'll be using it.

Thanks to JoAnne Swanson for permission to post screenshots.

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