Here's another sad Russian adoption story. Mom, dad warned Dakota County: Boy is a danger STAR TRIBUNE EXCLUSIVE: The couple that adopted a boy from Russia knew of his troubles long before he brought a gun to Hastings Middle School. By JIM ANDERSON, Star Tribune Last update: April 8, 2010 - 10:50 PM Exactly one year before an eighth-grader allegedly pulled a gun in Hastings Middle School on Monday, the adoptive parents who plucked the boy from a bleak Russian orphanage at age 3 had warned Dakota County officials in a letter that he was potentially violent. Their fears were based on a decade of wrenching struggle, dealing with a child who had deep-seated mental and emotional problems they hadn't realized until bringing him into their home, and into their hearts. "There's two tragedies -- that this happened [Monday at the school], but the other tragedy is that those with the power to help did not listen," said the boy's adoptive mother. In Monday's school lockdown, he is accused of threatening students and staff members. The gun never fired. The parents' journey from a hope-filled trek to rural Russia to eventually giving up their parental rights and now knowing he is facing five felony charges is as intensely personal as it is painful. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects under age 16 who are charged as a juvenile. To avoid identifying the suspect, the paper is not naming his parents. Confidentiality laws also prevent Dakota County officials from discussing specific social services cases, said Gail Plewacki, communications director for Dakota County. "We have a commitment to consistently protect the best interests of our clients." Plewacki said the foster home chosen for the boy had been licensed by the state since 2005 and had never been cited for a violation. That is little comfort to the adoptive parents, whose grief is laced with frustration and anger over what they said were unheeded warnings they noted in a letter sent April 5, 2009, to several Dakota County officials. "His needs far exceeded what the normal or even the super-family -- the two-parent home that we had and the love we had to give -- his needs far exceeded what we could do," his mom said. "We exhausted all of our resources -- financially, emotionally, spiritually -- I mean, all of the resources we had." After years of trying to find proper treatment, the couple said, they came to a heart-breaking, guilt-filled conclusion that still brings tears: When it comes to serious mental illness, sometimes love -- even sacrificial, unconditional love -- isn't enough. They gave up their parental rights in August. "We still think of him as our son. He will always be a part of us," said the mom. "... We pray for him daily. We remember him." "But yet, we're afraid of him," said the dad. The couple said they sensed something was wrong from the moment they met their son. "There were obvious signs of neglect from the beginning," the mom said. "And when he met us, he was scratching his upper sleeve. And we pulled up to the sleeve to discover that he had been burned. The whole arm was weeping from this burn that hadn't healed." From what they could piece together, the parents said, the boy might have been brought to a hospital and left there before being brought to the orphanage. Though the staff tried to minimize the burn, it clearly had a profound effect, the dad said. "What we noticed was that the orphanage staff was so standoffish toward him," the mom said. "They weren't hugging him. They were happy when he left. ... He didn't look back, and they didn't look back."