In April 2010, Torry Hansen placed her seven year old adopted son, Justin Hansen, on a plane to Moscow with nothing but a note stating that she did not want to be his adoptive mother anymore. She claimed that he was violent and had psychological problems. The child was only in Hansen's care for four months - two months too short to establish Tennessee as the child's home state for jurisdictional purposes.
According to the Shelbyville Times, Russian authorities have stated that Hansen owes them $2,500 per month in child support since the child is now being housed in a Russian orphanage. The Russian authorities filed in Bedford County Juvenile Court stating that they want to wait for Bedford County to rule on the child support claims filed by the adoption agency, World Association for Children and Parents, before they go forward with the case in Russia.
This case presents interesting jurisdictional issues. Hansen's former attorney argued that since Tennessee is not the child's home state and Russia is handling the termination of Hansen's parental rights over the child, Tennessee does not have jurisdiction over the child and therefore cannot make a determination as to child support. The two attorneys for the adoption agencies involved took issue with this argument. They stated, "If an adoptive parent in Tennessee could avoid their child support obligations by placing the child on an airplane to California just four months after they receive custody, then the statutes would be meaningless."
The adoption agencies' attorneys have a very good point. It would appear to completely defeat the purpose of the Tennessee child protection laws to allow a parent to place a lone child on a plane with nothing but a note and be able to avoid any responsibility for that child after he reaches he destination.