The Shelbyville, Tennessee, mother who airmailed her adopted son back to Russia a few years ago was in the news again recently — and again over the issue of child support. As we mentioned in a previous blog post on this case, the story sparked a public outcry on both sides of the Atlantic and led to a temporarily halt to adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens.
In April, we told you about how the already unusual case took another strange twist when a Tennessee judge ordered the ex-adoptive mother to pay child support to the facilitating adoption agency. The mother did not show up for that court hearing or for the next court date in May, where the judge determined she owed $150,000 and entered a default judgment against her.
In fact, the woman finally made her first court appearance (she’s now on her fourth attorney, according to reports) just a few weeks ago, despite the case being more than two years old. This time, however, it wasn’t the court summoning her. She and her attorney had the hearing scheduled in an effort to get the $150,000 default judgment set aside and have a full trial on the child support matter.
In court, she told the judge that she missed those prior mandatory court appearances because her previous lawyers had told her she needed to be there and because of a pregnancy last year. She also testified about the boy’s violent behavior but admitted that she never sought help from the state’s Department of Children’s Services or the police.
At the end of the day, the judge still believed the woman had been deliberately uncooperative with the court and saw no reason to set aside the default judgment he entered against her in May.
According to her attorney, the woman has been making her scheduled child support payments and will continue to do so but may also appeal the decision or seek a modification of the amount of money owed.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, “Adoption: Judge upholds child support in Russian adoption charges,” Kristin M. Hall, July 16, 2012