Friday, 16 April 2010

To Russia Without Love Redux

The case of the 7-year-old little Russian boy who was sent back as unwanted is, in a sad way, very interesting and eye-opening.

Artur Lukyanov (I prefer this version of phonetic transcription), the man who was hired to pick him up at the airport has a blog, which is worth reading. If his English is really self-taught (as the saying goes), it's remarkable. In an interview with CNN, Lukyanov tells how he had stumbled once before across a Russian-American adoption disastrously gone wrong.
Several years ago, he said he was hired by an American couple by the last name of Pavlis.

"They just wanted to see some sites," Lookyanov recalled. "They also asked me to drive them to a hospital to pass an adoption examination for their boy."

Lookyanov said he spent two days working with Irma and Dino Pavlis. He said he took them and their adopted Russian son Alex to McDonald's and ate with them.

"Two months after I saw them in Moscow... I learned that by accident this boy died," Lookyanov said.

A month after the adoption, six-year old Alex was dead due to blunt force trauma to the head, news reports at the time said. There was evidence that his adoptive mother had punched him in the stomach.

A court sentenced Irma Pavlis to 12 years in prison for manslaughter. She reportedly served five.

Lookyanov's brushes with failed adoptions have left him reeling, physically shaking as he discussed the cases.
There are additional details in the Internet:
Less than two months after his arrival, Alex Pavlis' promising life ended tragically. The 6-year-old was beaten to death by his adopted mother [sic!].

Irma Pavlis, 34, of Schaumburg, Ill., was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the December 2003 death. During her trial, she said she loved the boy but that he was mentally unstable and suicidal. Although she recently was sentenced to 12 years in prison, the repercussions of the case continue, both in the United States and in Russia.
Yeah, no doubt she "loved" the boy. I guess that's an "Illinois mom" to the American media, to whom no detail is ever too cheesy or too cynical.

But back to the case of little Artyom, which is full of fishy details, which may be, or may be not, attributable to lousy journalism. For one, is it so easy to get a 7-year-old Unaccompanied Minor on an international 10-hour-flight? His Russian passport, on which he allegedly travelled, was in a sealed envelope in his backpack. He couldn't speak Russian. Did he forget all of it during the seven odd months in America? He couldn't write, which implies that he wasn't numerate either. How could he then attack his "aunt" when she asked him to correct his maths? Did they teach him just maths and not how to write? So the adoptive "mother" sought advice from psychologists but never arranged for the boy to meet one? The adoption agency contacted the woman in March when everything seemed to be fine with the child. She then even expressed wishes to adopt a second child. The ten-year old boy Logan is sometimes refered to as Hansen's child, then again as her sister's child.

I guess for some time to come I'll will be quite sick at the sound of words and idioms like "I don't want to judge", "love", "mother", "mom", "I can empathize with", "wants to have a family/child", "my heart goes out", "our thoughts and prayers", "tragic", "heartbreaking" and some more.