By Rachael Stryker
In spring 2010, Tennessee adoptive mother, Torry Ann Hansen, sent her seven-year-old adopted son, Artyom (Justin) Savelyev, back to his native country of Russia with a note that effectively said “Return to Sender.” Her reasons? That the child was “not in his right mind,” “violent,” and “mentally unstable” (Batty 2010). In the weeks that followed, the world witnessed a twisted version of “he said/she said” as government officials in Russia and the U.S. attempted to determine exactly what went wrong with Savelyev’s placement. Even months later, the rhetoric would prioritize saving political face within economic and diplomatic relations, rather than addressing those factors associated with international adoption pathways that would drive a mother to send her adoptive son back to his sending country (Loiko 2013).