Thursday, April 29, 2010

An Update....

"The head of the American delegation Michael Kirby, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for consular affairs,  said the meeting had been "fruitful". "We agree we want to do the best for the children…," he said. But the main document is still not ready. Russia’s children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov  said that the document will be finished and handed to the US side shortly. Russia plans to include 8 new amendments to the agreement. According to Astakhov, the US delegation will stay in Moscow for another couple of days and continue to form a working group. Both Russians and Americans are ready for this, Astakhov said: "The US party has shown their readiness to continue negotiations and sign the bilateral agreement on adoption. Now it is important to work out this document as soon as possible. The US side understands the delay and Michael Kirby said we are on one side. "
Earlier Astakhov said the Russian side presented all the document’s provisions to the US . They are based on the Hague Adoption Convention  which was not ratified by Russia.The main talks on adoption are due on May 12. All the needed documents will be ready by that time.  
Report from Dmitry Borisov

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wall Art

Some cute stickers in colorful frames for the nursery (maybe the bathroom?)
Also, a close up of his rug with the gears.
I picked out some paint samples to duplicate the gears on the walls too. Nothing really matches that well. Maybe I can roll up the entire rug and take it to Sherman Williams? That would be special.
But I did decide that my dream job would be a "color namer" I LOVE reading the names and trying to figure out how they came up with names like "tangerine tango" and "leap frog green". If I could name cosmetics too that would be an added bonus.
Love it!

His Name! And prayers for the 29th.....

Oh...In all this chaos, My dear friend Amy pointed out I got ahead of myself with last night's post. We decided to name our little guy Charlie, I guess I forgot to tell you! After Chad's grandfather. After we visited him for three days, we were surprised to know that we could either go visit him on Thursday (driving 3 hours, spending a shorter amount of time with him (only an hour or two), drive 7 hours then back to St. Petersburg) or we could "get a jump on the court process" and go Petition the Court and submit all of our court documents. So with great debate, we decided not to go see him on Thursday and just go straight to court and then back to St. Pete for our flight out Friday morning. Wednesday night after dinner as we were preparing to "pour ourselves" into bed, absolutely exhausted, our host family said "when you go to the DOE tomorrow, you have to tell his name." WHAT?!?!?" Yet another BIG surprise. We thought we had another three months to figure this out. We wrestled with the gravity of this decision all night. We kept returning to "we want his name to mean something". So we choose Charlie, after a strong, wonderful man of God. A man I never had the honor of meeting- Chad's maternal grandfather. He was a Charles, but was always known as "Charlie". I am a big fan of naming kids what you intend to call them, so we skipped the formality and just named him "Charlie". His middle name is going to be my mom's maiden name- "Harmon". Which was quite fun having the translator try to pronounce. "Hall-o-mone" "Har-o-man"
But it was so important to us that a child without a history, be given a history. Two wonderful families (plus our last name, so you could really say three families) given to him. So.....with that explained, here is the latest news: 
The United States is sending a delegation to hold talks with Russian officials, now scheduled to take place on April 29 in Moscow.  The United States plans to emphasize the importance of intercountry adoptions between our two countries, and will discuss our mutual concerns about how to better protect the welfare and rights of children and all parties involved in the intercountry adoption processs.  On April 25, Secretary of State Clinton spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.  The issue of adoptions was raised.   They discussed our shared commitment to the common goal of protecting the welfare and rights of children and all parties involved in intercountry adoptions.  

Many thousands of Russian children have found loving, safe and permanent homes in the United States through intercountry adoption.  Families in the United States have adopted more than 50,000 children from Russia. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Word on the street....

Things we know...
1- The judge in Pskov is still granting adoptions (yeah Wendi and Terry (See "A Shuur Thing" blog)
2- Our papers we petitioned the court with before we left to adopt our little guy has made it's way to Moscow and already back to the Judge in Pskov.
3- She (the judge) has actually been looking at our court documents and given our case manager feedback on one thing that need to be redone (not ASAP redone, but before we actually go before her.) So far everything else seems to be to her liking.
4- I have been in conversation with a lovely person at the US State Department that is keeping me up to date on the goings-on with the potential freeze/slow downs. We emailed several times this week and spoke on the phone once, she said just to let me know that there are "real live people working on our behalf" She was kind and very reassuring that everything is going to work out.
5- The US team that will be meeting with the Russia task force to nail down a "bilateral agreement" that was postponed by the volcanic ash will go and meet with officials on April 29-30. Please keep those days bathed in prayer. We pray for more clarification and of course, positive results.

Things we don't know
1- The Judge in our region is getting ready for her vacation in May. We've know about this for sometime and that's why we were thinking it would be June before we could get our little guy home. But apparently, our case manager that lives in Russia is going to make a special trip to Pskov to respectfully ask the Judge if she would "accept our case". We aren't really sure what that means. (Get a date before her vacation? Schedule a date before she leaves so that when she gets back we'll be ready to go?) We just don't know about this. We are praying mostly that for "still moving" but if things work out better than we anticipated TRUST ME, you'll hear no complaining from the Deetz household. We knew this waiting was going to be the hardest part, we did not take into consideration that an International adoption crisis could be thrown into the mix. It changes your longings to be with your child into a full on panic.
2- Any more Russian than we did when we traveled the first time. I am a Russian language failure. There are just so many things to do and so far learning a foreign language has gone by the wayside. But I PROMISE I will get to it this week. This is a time I wish Chad was a language rain man. Then I could just learn to say "what he said".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

While I was out....

I feel like I've been "out" for a while with our lives being dictated by recent news and sickening uncertainty. But putting everything in perspective, as of right this minute we are clinging to the status quo. There is still a lot to be done and we've been doing it. Our home study expires soon. (Can you believe it's been a WHOLE year?) So we contacted our agency about doing an update. We really had no idea about what that would entail. Do I need to clean again? Ughhh? How long will this take?Turns out it was a minimal amount of money (thank goodness), one week from doorstep to doorstep, and a phone interview was all it took. Two sheets of paper later, basically saying "we are exactly the same as we were last year". Not so bad, I was expecting a kidney donation and pulling the remainder of my hair out. Who would have ever thought this would be the least of our worries. Ironic.
We've been putting some finishing touches on his room. My parents were here last weekend and my dad installed the really cool lights that have been sitting in the floor for about a year. Once we get the customized shelving unit into the closet, toys can be placed in those cute little baskets. Right now our design aesthetic in the room is the "dump and pile" method. We get stuff and we either pile it up on whatever surface available or we dump it in the empty closet, which is now a precarious tower of items. I can't wait until his room looks like the cozy, playful room I envisioned. Not like a natural disaster area.
We quickly realized while visiting him in the orphanage that he is a virtual monkey. Scaling chairs, windows, and tables with the ease of a natural born gymnast. It was truly impressive. Then we started thinking about our house. Hmmm....bookshelves need to be anchored. Glass tables-corner guards. Those little plastic thingies we "safety proofed" the cabinets with? Yeah, we need something a little more sophisticated. This was glaringly obvious when I watched him figure out how to open a child-proof snack cup in less than 10 seconds in order to access the food inside faster. Foxy. It was the number one adjective used by the doctor and orphanage staff for a reason. He is one foxy little guy. His wheels were always turning.
With that in mind we are searching for a toddler bed. It's our plan to use the co-sleeper in our room until he is adjusted to the house and then slowly transition him into the crib. I can see him using the crib as a really fun jungle gym. So we are going back to the drawing board on that.
But we have been getting LOTS of clothes. After waiting for 14 months of wondering "is he a he?" or could "she be a she?" Then the question of age.....would we be buying for a infant or a toddler? So now that we know he is a size 18-24 months right now and most likely a 2T for summer clothes and 3T for fall/winter but being mindful that he is short for his age, but a little chubby is the most exciting thing. We see little things and think "this would look SOOOOOO cute on him!" Things that fit his "little man" personality. Let's just say, we've brought a few things home to realize that Chad has the EXACT same shirt, sweater vest, or pair of jeans. It's like we are planning our family photos already, subconsciously. . So we are working our way back from being out for a little while. Trying to carry on and praying for the best. Because there is a lot to be done and a lot of "nesting" to accomplish in the meantime.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What should I be doing?

What should I be doing right now? That is the million dollar question. On Saturday we bought him a pair of shoes. Now I'm thinking we should take them back. Should we get a bigger size or just wait until we see him again to buy shoes, or maybe I should just hang it up and stop? I know buying things is not what it's all about. I just wanted you to think about how this has rocked our world, robbed us of our joy, and made ever single decision we have to make (even the simple ones, like shoe size) into something that is painful and ridiculous. I had my first baby shower on Tuesday, a day that I have waited for for 10 years. Something I thought would never happen to me. It was a happy day, but still clouded with the "what ifs" and tears with some of my church mothers in my small group.
And now the volcano. The team of people going over to iron everything out are stranded in Canada due to the volcanic ash blowing all over the northern hemisphere. What is happening? Dear people that we've met along the way are on pins and needles in Russia, hoping they can come home with their daughter. Another couple are flying out to meet their son for the first time this week filled with fear and dread, and yet another with court in our very region that are waylaid somewhere due to the ash, their future feeling dismal. All this because of one stupid woman. And one stupid volcano.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. This last week has been....I can't even begin to tell you. There are no words. I thought waiting for a referral was the hardest part. I had no idea how wrong I was.

Here is an article from CNN. It sounds a little better? I think? I don't know. Only God knows and we are trying our best to remain positive and patient.:

A meeting between U.S. and Russian officials over the newly charged issue of American adoptions of Russian children, scheduled for Monday, will likely be delayed, officials in both countries signaled Saturday.

The U.S. delegation is delayed in getting to Moscow because of flight disruptions due to an ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano. The ash has triggered the cancellation of thousands of international flights in recent days.

"The party is holding in Toronto (Canada) due to flight disruptions," State Department spokesman Darby Holladay told CNN on Saturday. "Like many, they await resumption of air travel."

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak told CNN earlier Saturday that "technical problems seem to be standing in the way from (U.S. officials) coming to Moscow tomorrow or the day after tomorrow."

The State Department had announced the meeting on Friday.

Moscow has sent mixed signals on adoptions recently, following the uproar over a Tennessee woman sending home a 7-year-old Russian boy she had adopted.

Kislyak said that U.S. and Russian officials are continuing talks on the matter and sounded upbeat about progress. "We are getting signals from our American colleagues that they understand the issue needs to be dealt with," he said.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman announced Thursday that Moscow had put an end to the adoption of children by American families until rules covering them can be hashed out with U.S. officials.

"Further adoptions of Russian children by the American citizens, which at present has been suspended, will only be possible in case such an agreement is reached," said the spokesman, Andrei Nesterenko.

But Kislyak appeared to soften that line on Saturday. Asked whether adoptions by Americans are currently frozen, he said that "adoption is a process by each and every kid and it takes time. So we'll see how things will develop."

"We're insisting on freezing this unless we have a legal framework negotiated with the United States that provides protection for the people," Kislyak said.

On Friday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley seemed unsure about the state of adoptions from Russia.

"I don't think the system has stopped," Crowley said. "It is very possible the system is slowing down as we work through these issues."

Crowley had said that a U.S. delegation from State and the Department of Homeland Security would travel to Moscow this weekend to meet Russian officials on Monday.

Officials at private U.S. adoption agencies say families trying to adopt Russian children are deeply concerned by the current uncertainty. Janice Goldwater, who runs a Silver Spring, Maryland, agency called Adoptions Together, said she is working with two dozen families trying to finalize Russian adoptions.

"I know families that were about to get on an airplane, have court dates scheduled, and they don't know if they should be crying, or dancing with relief," Goldwater told CNN in a telephone interview. "What should I do, should I be finishing the nursery, getting the toddler toys or should I be keeping myself safe and protected by doing nothing?

"So it is a very difficult time for families," Goldwater said.

On Friday, the United States said some U.S. adoptions were still being acted on in Russia.

"There are cases that are still moving forward. There are cases that have been postponed. Does this represent a blanket suspension - the answer is 'no,'" Crowley said at his Friday afternoon briefing.

"Does this mean there could be some instances where cases are held up for a period of time as we try to clarify what's happening and see if we can strengthen the processes that are in place - yes, there well may be delays," Crowley said.

"The Russians have mentioned to us they want to reach a bilateral agreement, Crowley said. "We share the same objective to find improved ways to process these adoptions while making sure these adoptions move forward so we will see what this meeting produces next week."

– CNN's Jeff Simon and Charley Keyes contributed to this report.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rattled too.....

Russia adoption confusion rattles US families

By DAVID CRARY (AP) – 14 hours ago

NEW YORK — For the Zukors in Maryland, and hundreds of other families across the U.S., there were anxious and confusing moments Thursday as reports surfaced — and then were questioned — regarding a freeze of adoptions from Russia.

"You've got to expect the unexpected," said Christie Zukor, who along with her husband, Ken, adopted four siblings from Russia in 2007 and has a pending application to adopt their 15-year-old half-sister.

They are among an estimated 3,000 U.S. families in various stages of adopting children from Russia.

Word spread quickly through that community Thursday that a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Andrei Nesterenko, said adoptions by Americans had been suspended pending U.S.-Russian negotiations on an adoption treaty. Russia has stepped up demands for such a treaty following last week's incident in which a Tennessee woman sent her 7-year-old adopted son back to Russia on a plane by himself with a note saying he was violent and severely mentally ill.

Within hours after Nesterenko's briefing, the reported suspension was cast into doubt. Russia' Education Ministry, which oversees international adoptions, said it had no knowledge of a freeze. So did a spokeswoman for the Kremlin's children's rights ombudsman.

In Washington, the State Department at one point said there was no suspension, then said it was seeking clarification from Russian officials. "Right now, to be honest, we've received conflicting information," department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

The State Department is sending a high-level delegation to Moscow next week to discuss the controversy and a possible adoption agreement.

"There are many thousands of Russian children who are not adopted by Russian families," Crowley said. "We have the same objective as Russia has: to find loving, safe and permanent homes, some of which would be here in the United States."

For the Zukors, who live in Havre de Grace, Md., a suspension could dash their hopes of traveling to a Russian orphanage within the next two months to bring home 15-year-old Marina, the half-sister of the three girls and one boy they adopted in 2007.

"We have no doubt we'll bring Marina home one day — though it may not be as soon as we would like," said Christie Zukor. "But I don't know how patient I'd be if this was my first adoption."

Holly and Brian Shriner of Shawnee, Kan., fit that "first adoption" profile. They started trying to adopt from Russia in May 2008, and last December were given approval to adopt two sisters, ages 2 and 3, whom they have visited in an orphanage near the city of Tver.

"We absolutely fell in love," Holly Shriner said. "We feel we left pieces of our heart and soul in Russia when we left them. We're now trying to finish the process and give them the family they deserve."

The Shriners had hoped the adoption would be complete within the next month or two, but the furor over the Russian boy's return to Moscow has created uncertainty.

"The thought of our two girls continuing to remain in an orphanage without loving parents because of the action of one woman — it's so hard for me to comprehend," Holly Shriner said. "It breaks my heart to think thousands of other children could be hurt."

The boy's return — with little supervision or explanation, aside from the note from his adoptive mother — outraged Russian authorities and the public. The Tennessee woman claimed she had been misled by his Russian orphanage about his condition; many Russians have wondered angrily why she has not been charged with any crime.

Holly Shriner said she and her husband have been reminded throughout their application process — which has included seminars and courses — that adoption can be daunting.

"From the very beginning, we were never promised rainbows and sunshine and birds singing all the time," she said. "It's hard. No one along the way has said anything other than that."

Shriner said she takes comfort in the availability of a nearby social worker who has offered to help with any post-adoption challenges.

"I expect we will have a bump, or two, or 12, along the road," she said. "You just have to figure out how to work through those."

Christie Zukor, a stay-at-home mom, said a social worker provided by the adoption agency had helped her and her husband cope with four new members of the household.

"It saddens me that this woman from Tennessee made such a poor choice," Zukor said. "It's impossible that she didn't have resources. For her to spoil it for everybody — I just hope it doesn't happen."

In Chicago, Heather Boehm said she and her husband, Garrett, have had a good experience since adopting a son, Aleksander, from Smolensk in 2007. The boy, now 3 1/2, has some speech delays and sleep problems, but she said, "We feel very fortunate."

The couple submitted paperwork to Russia earlier this year for a second adoption.

Boehm, an attorney for abused and neglected children before she became a stay-at-home mom, said Aleksander is "pretty much a typical American child now," although she has learned how to prepare Russian dishes like borscht.

"I hope with all my heart that the United States and Russia sort this all out," she said, "because I know many, many adoptive families in the United States who have just wonderful success stories."

Julie Garten and her husband, Jay Garten, of Shakopee, Minn., plan to adopt an 18-month-old boy from St. Petersburg, Russia, but don't have fixed timetable yet.

"It's definitely trying," Julie said of the uncertainty. "You cry a lot, you pray a lot."

Associated Press writers Matthew Lee in Washington, Jeff Baenen in Minneapolis and Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


This information is from the Joint Counsel on International Adoption. If you follow the link (or cut and paste)you can sign the petition and also find out more ways you can help. At the least, please sign the petition and you'll be surprised by all the other ways you can help make a difference in this situation.
Here is a clip from their website.

We Are The Truth

A Campaign and Call to Action

The outrageous treatment of Artyem by his adoptive family has rightfully resulted in outrage by the Governments of Russia and the United States and all who care about children. The tragedy has cast a light on intercountry adoption that says it is not safe, the system failed and adopted children cause insurmountable problems. The heartbreak of Artyem Saviliev’s abandonment has once again elevated a singular incident to a level which may result in the suspension of intercountry adoption. Suspending adoption, even temporarily, will only cause thousands of children to suffer the debilitating effects of life in an orphanage.

You, the community of adoptees, adoptive parents, adoptive grandparents, child welfare professionals and child advocates know that the outrageous and indefensible actions of one parent are not indicative of how children are treated by adoptive families. You know that families who encounter difficulties do not simply abandon their child. You know that help is available, that solutions are found and that families can thrive. And you know that suspending adoption does not protect children but only subjects them to the depravity of an institution…and an entire life without a family.

You, the adoption community know the truth. You live the truth. You are the truth.

Join our campaign to bring the truth to light and help children in need find a permanent and safe family.

What You Can Do

1) Sign the letter to President Medvedev and President Obama: The letter asks both Presidents to ensure that intercountry adoption continues uninterrupted and to aggressively investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of children. You can sign anytime, but doing so before Tuesday night would help us get the letters to both Presidents before President Medvedev leaves the U.S. Click here to sign the letter.

2) We Are The Truth – an adoption blogger day: To ensure the world knows about every successful adoption, on Thursday, April 15, 2010 blog about your adoption or the adoption of someone you know. It doesn’t matter if your adoption is with Russia, domestic or otherwise international. Let the world know your truth!

3) Tell Your Truth with Video - make sure the world sees, hears and feels the thousands of successful adoptions from Russia by:

a. Send Joint Council your successful Russian adoption video via email to
i. Video should be a maximum of 3 minutes.
ii. A release must be sent to Joint Council or we cannot accept your video. For a copy of the release, click here.

b. Joint Council will translate the video into Russian and post it on our YouTube Channel.

4) Tell Your Truth with Words and Photos

a. Send Joint Council your successful Russian adoption story via email to Send us your stories through:

i. Photos (please do not send more than 10)

ii. Essays (maximum 500 words)

iii. A release must be sent to Joint Council or we cannot accept your story and/or pictures. For a copy of the release, click here.

b. Joint Council will then compile the stories and pictures, translate them into Russian and post them on our website and/or blog.

5) Share Your Truth

a. Joint Council will post, forward and share your stories via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Joint Council will be updating our YouTube Channel and Facebook page as the stories get compiled and translated, please subscribe to us on YouTube, Twitter and Fan us on Facebook.

b. You do the same by posting on your Facebook, Twitter, blog and website!

Want to help more?

* Are you willing to speak to the media about your Russian adoption? If so, please email with the following:
o Your name(s)
o City, State of residence
o Contact Phone Numbers
o Contact Email
o Short 4 sentence bio about your adoption
* Do you speak Russian?
o We are in need of individual volunteers who can help our staff translate the videos and text quickly. If you are interested in helping, email Joint Council at
* Do you live in the Alexandria, VA area?
o Joint Council is in need of short term volunteers over the next two weeks, email if you would like to volunteer.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Talking is good......

U.S. Agrees to Talks After Russia Threatens to Freeze Adoptions
April 12, 2010, 10:02 AM EDT
More From Businessweek

By Lucian Kim

April 12 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. agreed to hold talks on bi-national adoptions following Russia’s threat to ban them after a seven-year-old boy was sent back alone to Moscow by his adopted American mother.

A State Department delegation will travel to Moscow “in the near future” to reach an understanding on the adoption of Russian children, U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle said in an e- mailed statement today.

President Dmitry Medvedev said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show today that adoptions by American parents may be banned following the “monstrous act” of the Tennessee woman who sent her adopted son back to Russia unaccompanied.

Bi-national custody battles and abuse scandals involving adopted Russian children abroad regularly grab the attention of state media. In December 2008, the Foreign Ministry condemned as “odious and unprecedented” the acquittal of a Virginia man whose 21-month-old adopted Russian son died after being left in a parked car.

“What worries me especially is that the number of such incidents in America is rising,” Medvedev said, according to a Kremlin transcript of the ABC interview. “The trend has put us on our guard, it’s deplorable.”

An agreement should be reached outlining the obligations of American adoptive parents and allowing for the monitoring of those families, Medvedev said.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on April 9 called for a freeze on adoptions after the solo journey by a boy identified as Justin Artyom Hansen, who was carrying a letter from his adopted mother saying he is “violent and has severe psychopathic issues.”

Beyrle went on Russian state television and promised an investigation into the incident.

--With assistance from Roger Runningen in Washington. Editors: Chris Kirkham

Friday, April 9, 2010

Shell Shock

We are just in shock over this whole situation. We have seen his face and held him in our arms and we are physically sick over even the thought that all that could be ripped away. We are, however, clinging to the same promise since the beginning of this incredible journey. We have never been in control of this adoption. We never have been for a second. We have relied on God fully and will continue to do so. We have relied on the our wonderful family and friends. We will continue to do so. We have relied on our "invisible" blog friends, the ones that have paved the way and the ones that are following behind. We are still a community going through the same thing together. We will weather this storm.
99% of people that adopt children, both at home and abroad, are good, loving people that would do anything for their children. While it infuriates me that 1% of the population "spoils the bunch" we just need to pray that that logic prevails in this situation. Adoption is God's idea, God forgive us for making such a mess of it sometimes.
We appreciate your prayers right now. We are trying not to be selfish and think only of "our son". This woman's actions have caused a ripple of turmoil for the lives of thousands of families and children. Potentially 750,000 orphans living in Russia at this very moment. But we can only think of one little face right now and he is waiting for his mama and his papa to come back to get him everyday. I hope that logic prevails and they think about the "abuse and distress" that would cause on our one little boy and all the other children that are waiting for their mama and papa to return to them.

Prayer Request

Adoption freeze urged after boy returned to Russia

The Associated Press
Friday, April 9, 2010; 12:01 PM

MOSCOW -- A top Russian official urged Friday that all child adoptions by U.S. families be frozen after a woman from Tennessee put her 7-year-old adopted Russian grandson alone on a one-way flight back to his homeland.

The grandmother, Nancy Hansen, told The Associated Press from her home in Shelbyville, Tennessee, that she put the child on a plane to Russia with a note from her daughter. She said the family paid a man $200 to pick the boy up at the airport and take him to the Russian Education and Science Ministry.

She said that boy had been violent toward his mother in the U.S.

A previous string of U.S. adoptions gone wrong - including at least three in which children died - had already made Russian officials wary. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the latest incident the last straw.

The boy, Artyom Savelyev arrived unaccompanied Thursday in Moscow on a United Airlines flight from Washington.

The Kremlin children's rights office said the boy, whose adoptive name is Justin Hansen, was carrying a letter from his adoptive mother, Torry Hansen of Shelbyville, Tennessee, saying she was returning him due to severe psychological problems.

"This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues," the letter said.

The U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Beyrle, said he was "deeply shocked by the news" and "very angry that any family would act so callously toward a child that they had legally adopted."

But Nancy Hansen said the boy was sent back to the ministry because the family thought officials there would take care of him. There was no child abandonment, she said, because a stewardess was watching the boy on the flight and a reputable person picked him up in Russia.

Russian state television showed the child in a yellow jacket holding the hands of two chaperones as he left a police precinct and entered a van bound for a clinic.

The boy is now in the hospital in northern Moscow for a checkup, Anna Orlova, spokeswoman for Kremlin's Children Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov, told The Associated Press.

Orlova, who visited Savelyev on Friday, said the child reported that his mother was "bad," "did not love him," and used to pull his hair.

Savelyev was adopted last September from the town of Partizansk in Russia's Far East.

Russian officials said he turned up at the door of the Russian Education and Science Ministry on Thursday afternoon accompanied by a Russian man who handed over the boy and his documents, then left, officials said.

Savelyev holds a Russian passport with a U.S. visa that expired April 4, Russian officials said.

The education ministry said it had decided to suspended the license of World Association for Children and Parents - a Renton, Washington-based agency that processed Savelyev's adoption - for the duration of the probe.

Foreign Minister Lavrov said in televised remarks that the ministry would recommend that the U.S. and Russia hammer out an agreement before any new adoptions are allowed.

"We have taken the decision ... to suggest a freeze on any adoptions to American families until Russia and the USA sign an international agreement" on the conditions for adoptions and the obligations of host families, Lavrov was quoted as saying.

Lavrov said the U.S. had refused to negotiate such an accord in the past but "the recent event was the last straw."

Astakhov said in a televised interview Friday that a treaty is vital for protecting Russian citizens abroad.

"How can we prosecute a person who abused the rights of a Russian child abroad? If there was an adoption treaty in place, we would have legal means to protect Russian children abroad."

But placing children inside Russia remains difficult. There are more than 740,000 children without parental custody in the country, according to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.

Previous incidents have increased Russian officials' wariness of adoptions to the U.S.

In 2006, Peggy Sue Hilt of Manassas, Virginia, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted of fatally beating a 2-year-old girl adopted from Siberia just months earlier.

In 2008, Kimberly Emelyantsev of Tooele, Utah, was sentenced to 15 years after pleading guilty to killing a Russian infant in her care.

And in March of this year, prosecutors in Pennsylvania met with a Russian diplomats to discuss how to handle the case of a couple accused of killing their 7-year-old adopted Russian son at their home near the town of Dillsburg.

The cases prompted outrage in Russia, where foreign failures are reported with gusto, and calls for tougher rules governing foreign adoptions.

Last year, nearly 1,600 Russian children were adopted in the United States, according to Tatyana Yakovleva of the ruling United Russia party.

Rob Johnson, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, said the agency is looking into Friday's allegations, although they do not handle international adoptions.

Torry Ann Hansen is listed as a licensed registered nurse in Shelbyville, Tenn., according to the Tennessee Department of Health's Web site. No work address is listed.

Her name appears in a list of August 2007 graduates from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn., with a Masters of Science in Nursing degree.

Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce said Torry Hansen is under investigation although no charges have been filed. Officers were expected to interview her on Friday afternoon.

United Airlines requires a parent or guardian dropping off a child for a flight to show an ID and to list who is picking the child up at the destination. United Airlines allows unaccompanied children as young as 5 years old on direct flights. Children age 8 and above can catch connecting flights, as well.

United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said all the unaccompanied minors on the flight that arrived in Moscow on Thursday were picked up by the person listed on the form.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Some more details.....

Our heads have finally stopped spinning from our trip last week. My parent surprised us at the airport. Since we were 24 HOURS late returning we only got to spend Sunday with them, but it was wonderful nonetheless. Upon our arrival our entire house was spic-n-span clean. This was great because when you are driving around trying to Aspostille everything under the sun, applying for visas, getting plane tickets, and packing for an international trip, housework goes by the wayside.
Then Chad's mom and step-dad got in on Wednesday and we able to stay until after church this Easter, so that was nice too. Just like with my parents, we told stories, watched all the videos, and looked at pictures for hours.
NOW, we are waiting for Chad's dad and step-mom and their two kids to arrive any minute,they are on their way to Pennsylvania for Spring Break, so unfortunately they can only stay until Tuesday. But we anticipate repeating our stories, watching the videos and looking at the pictures again, with great joy.
We are so blessed to be surrounded by family upon our arrival. As long as they didn't mind our zombie behavior due to jet lag, we loved having them here upon our arrival home. It's hard when your family is a full day's drive away from you when you have the most exciting news of your life to share! We wouldn't have had it any other way. Now, when our little guy comes home, it will be a little different. We need some time as our little family of three to get things adjusted. So, anyway.....
So we arrive into St. Pete on Sunday late afternoon. We've been unable to sleep on the plane (since our heads do not like sleeping in the unnatural upright position, Chad is sharing half my seat with me (planes are not made for football player bodies) and the guy next to me is taking up his half of the middle of our armrest) So we make it to the apartment and stay awake just long enough to get our orders for the next day- driving to Pskov to meet our son!
The next morning we set off for Pskov. They say it's about 3 hours. It was more like 4. And on these roads that are making me get shaken baby syndrome. I can't read. I can't sleep, all I can do is jiggle.
We finally make it to Pskov. After dropping our belongings at our host's house, eating "American Spaghetti" We go into town to sign some documents at the courthouse and exchanging some money with a sketchy dude in an alley (I am not making this up) because we didn't have time to go to the bank. I am wondering why we are in such a rush, it is about 1:30 and the orphanage is only about 30-45 minutes away. But I rush, rush, rush along with our driver, translator, case worker, and Chad once again all inside a tiny Subaru type vehicle.
We drive 45 minutes. That turns into another 45 minutes.
I finally ask "where are we going before we go see our son?"
They say "to the orphanage"
"We are going to see him at the orphanage."
Me: "Pechory?" (The baby house we told he lived at)
"No he is in Idritsa"
"What's that?"
"It's a town, it's where your baby is"
"Where is that?"
"It's about 2 more hours from here."
"Say WHAT?!?!!"
Ok. So this is the surprise of the trip, one that dictates our entire week long stay. Think about it. We thought our week would go as following:
We wake up, say 9:30, 10:00. We have a leisurely breakfast. We set out for Pechory. We spend as much time as possible with our lil guy. We drive home, 45 minutes. We have time to explore the town, talk to our host family, eat, shop, whatever. We pay roughly $100 for our driver and translator for their services per day.
We wake up at the crack of dawn. We woof down a delicious, yet very heavy breakfast. We are in the car promptly at 8:00. We start driving down the WORLD'S WORST roads. (I am not making this up. We thought the road to St. Pete to Pskov was bad. This is beyond the worst road you can imagine. You FLY down the road hitting potholes the size of swimming pools. My brain is now scrambled. I can barely speak English, but am expected to speak Russian as well. Right. We do this for THREE HOURS ONE WAY.
We are allowed to meet with our little fellow and spend 5-6 hours with him (wonderful, better than we imagined, more time that we imagined) BUT after we crawl around on the ground and run and play all day, we get back in the VW van and drive 3 hours home. Repeat, swimming pool pot holes and scramble brain. At some point I think I actually forgot my name. We arrive back in Pskov around 8:00-9:00 that night. We eat dinner, check e-mail and fall into bed. To start it all over again the next day. The kicker- we are now paying $440 PER DAY for our driver and translator because it is an incredibly arduous journey. I'm in no way saying this is not money well earned. Their days are just as long as ours. Plus gas, food, wear and tear on your vehicle. BUT as you can imagine, this unexpected expense wreaks havoc on our travel budget.
To be continued......