Not Everyone Deserves to Have Children

Like most Americans, Tory Hansen's dream was simply to have a child of her own. She decided to adopt from Russia, due to the red tape single women often face in the U.S. There she choose a 7 year old boy named Artyom Savelyev, whom she took home and renamed Justin. Six months later Tory's dream shattered as Justin turned into a behavioral nightmare. According to her he hit, screamed, spit, and threatened to burn down the house.

In a tragic ending for all, Tory finally decided she'd had enough and placed Justin alone on a plane back to Moscow with a note taped to him stating "I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends, and myself I no longer wish to parent this child. As he is a Russian national, I am returning him to your guardianship." She added, "He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues."

So there it is: adopt a child and if he's not a perfect fit send him back! Are children that misbehave returnable, just like a couch that doesn't go with the curtains or a big screen TV that doesn’t fit over the fireplace?

Welcome to the brave new world of instant gratification, America. We text because we don't have time for a phone call and Tweet when we don't have time for a text. We have Facebook friends because we don’t take the time to develop real friends and spend more time in the online/TV virtual world than we do in the real world. We want, what we want, when we want it and we've been led to believe by the powers that be that we "deserve" it. So of course we deserve to have kids whenever we choose, whether we're married, single, young, old, financially stable or emotionally prepared because after all everybody "deserves" to have a kid. Right? Sadly no, not everyone deserves to have a child.

Kids take work, effort, love, blood sweat and tears and are a full time job. You have to commit, for better or worse and then give your all and hope for the best. The one thing you can never, ever do is give up and say “oooops, never mind, my bad, you can take this one back!” In hindsight, Tory was not really prepared to be a mom, for whatever reason, and that’s on her. But, I place some of the blame squarely on the shoulders of society. We put more effort in deciding who can drive a car than in who can be a parent.

Parenting classes should be MANDATORY, whether you are adopting or not, and would include an evaluation of your current physical, mental and financial state as well as how ready you are to take on the rigors of parenthood. Our children are our most precious natural resource and there is absolutely no other way to parent but to put them first.

Here are some things to consider if you're thinking about adopting a child: Analyze your motives. If you are living in chaos, without a good paying job or family stability, that's a huge red flag that you may be doing it to manufacture happiness. Also, be especially diligent if you want to be a single parent. It's hard enough to raise a child with 2 parents; doing it alone is more than twice the effort. Take care of yourself first then revisit the issue when your life is more stable.

Most importantly, do your homework: Check out the orphanage and the biological parents if you can. Understand that the older the child, the greater the likelihood of behavioral problems. There are many support groups for both adoptive parents and children to bridge the adjustment period… and there most certainly will be an adjustment period. Have a plan in place if things go poorly.

Of course, any new parent wants and hopes for the best, but in the end be prepared to enlist trained professionals at the first sign of trouble. Persevere. Do not give up. All children need stability, consistency, encouragement and love. The longer they are exposed to good things, the greater their chances of success and stability of their own.

Finally and most importantly you must realize that contrary to what you’ve been led to believe, children are not for everyone. They will not prove you are a women/man, help you trap a partner, make you happy, save a marriage or make you young. They are the single greatest responsibility that any human being will ever face and though the rewards are great this comes with a steep price in both effort and sacrifice. May little Artyom Savelyev find peace and happiness.

Dr. Dale Archer is a psychiatrist and frequent guest on's "The Strategy Room." For more, visit his Web site:

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