Torry Hansen: When an Adopted Child Hates You

She adopted her 11-month-old daughter Fanica from a Romanian hospital in 1991. "I thought she wouldn't have too many problems," she said. "She bonded with me right away."

Besides being small for her age, Fanica had night terrors and severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autistic tendencies. She was later diagnosed with a brain injury and mental retardation.

"They felt she had post traumatic stress disorder," she said. "She would bite and pinch and ran around getting into everything. If she got loose from you in public, she would just run. You had to go catch her because she wouldn't stop. She also stripped off all her clothes all the time."

Bettiol tried medicines, homeopathic treatment, special camps and adult foster care. But nothing worked.

"I had to keep the faith," said Bettiol. "She was the hardest baby I ever dealt with in my life."

Bettiol, a single mother, already had four children and had a sixth after the adoption and the situation got worse. When Fanica went to high school she threatened to kill her mother and siblings. She was hospitalized, then placed in a nearby treatment center.

"Even though she was 17 at the time, it killed me to have her go," said Bettiol. "After she left I realized how much stress the kids and I were under."

Now 20, Fanica is doing well in a more structured environment. Bettiol is still her legal guardian and advocate and talks to her daughter three times a day, joining her in activities twice a week.

"I was a single mom with other kids, some who were close to her age," she said. "But I never thought of sending her back! She was my baby!"

Randy Lutz, who was abruptly moved into an adoptive home at the age of 5 when his mother was jailed, said he feels compassion for adoptive children like Justin Hansen, who can't cope with a new family.

"You could never possibly understand where he is coming from," he said. "You go from Life A to Life Z with no transition and nothing in between."

Now a 28-year-old business consultant from Providence, R.I., Lutz said he "hated" his adoptive parents.

"More than not bonding, we truly detested each other as the years grew on," he said.

Lutz was shuffled from boarding schools to alternative school and group homes.

Now that he has his own 4-year-old biological son, Lutz said, he even sympathizes with the boy's mother, Torry Hansen.

"As an adult, I can't imagine bringing a child who hated me, or was severely unstable or emotionally disturbed into my home, and I think that if anyone really thought about it, they'd agree," he said.

"I was never psychologically disturbed, I was just a really pissed off kid, but I can't imagine turning that up to psychologically disturbed and being blindsided by that as an adoptive parent," said Lutz. "I wish my adoptive parents had sent me back. I think she did the kid a favor."

But Carol Skierik said she could never give up on her daughter Sier, and continues to be her mother -- even at a distance.

She admits, though, that the emotional toll has been heavy.

"I feel guilty and I struggle not to feel like a failure," Skeirik said. "I do believe I have bonded with her. Just because she doesn't love me, I do love her. It's sad, it's hard and it hurts your heart."

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