Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: May 19th, 2012
Adoptive mom has to pay child support for returned Russian boy

Who wasn’t appalled when a Tennessee woman sent her adopted 7-year-old son back to Russia, the country where he was adopted from?

The story was so shocking because of the manner in which she returned the child. She sent him on a plane, unchaperoned, with a note basically saying she didn’t want him anymore.

The backlash from the case almost ended adoptions from Russia to America.

But as the story continues, the agency who arranged the adoption is now requiring that she not only pay $150,000 for the care of her adopted son, who is now living in a village for orphans, she also has to pay $1000 a month in child support until the boy turns 18.

The theory is that the adoption is still legal, making her his guardian responsible for his support and care, even though he no longer lives with her.

Apparently, the woman was afraid of the boy, whom she called a psychopath and threatened to burn down her house. She says the adoption agency lied about his psychological problems, and even though she didn’t send him to a psychiatrist or child psychologist, she felt he couldn’t be helped. Well, not at least by her.

I know how hard parenting can be. I have known friends who have adopted children, many who have adopted children who are hard to find homes for. Going into any decision that impacts the life of a child can’t be filled with a fantasy of a family, since that is often shattered by reality.

I have to wonder if she truly understood what she was getting into. And forcing her to pay child support seems only fair.

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