Recently the world learned that the biologic parents of the famed Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long are from Russia.
Correspondents from “Komsomolskaya Pravda” visited Jessica’s parents – Natalya and Oleg Valtyshev – in their village Tem (Irkutsk Oblast). In the end of this visit Natalya handed journalists the apology letter to her daughter…
Translated from http://kp.ru/daily/25952/2894619/:
Journalists visit the Russian parents of Jessica Long
- Valtyshevs? – asks the stocky man. – Who does not know them now! Go straight, then right, their house is in the last but one street.
The fence door is open, dogs are barking from behind. A woman is leaving the house – she just planned to go to the shop. Jessica’s mother is not quite happy to see us, but she is not driving us away.
- Let us give you a ride to the shop, – we offer.
The road is not long, just enough to get acquainted.
- We moved to Tem one and a half years ago, – says Natalya. – We bought a house and 32 sotkas [ed: land measurement unit equal to 100 square meters] for 120 thousand rubles[3,850 $]. Here, with Oleg we raise three children.
- You were born in Kursk Oblast…
- I have lived in so many places! In Kursk Oblast, anftewrads in Donetsk Oblast. And then I went to live with my father in Bratsk where I attended the training school to become a cook. Though I haven’t worked a single day in this profession. One day I went to visit my friend in Tynkob, and fell in love … Oh, here we’ve come!
Natalya enters the shop. Comes out with bread, canned fish, spaghetti and beer.
- This is to relieve the stress after Moscow.
[Note: Natalya went to Moscow to participate in TV show dedicated to Jessica Long]
Together we set food on the table and get acquainted with the youngest daughter Dasha. She was born handicapped. Pretty, good girl who happily comes in contact with strangers.
- Dasha, how did you feel when you learned that you had another sister?
- I cried from joy …
“I was giving birth on the threshold of bathroom…”
- Natalya, let’s get back to our story. So, you and your husband met in Tynkob …
- Yes, he was born and grew up there. We met on November 7. He saw me and immediately disappeared. I was a pretty girl then, – Natalya shows the black-and-white portrait. – This is me just before I got pregnant with Tanya… I hesitated, was afraid that people would judge me. Till the last moment nobody knew except Oleg…
- How did it happen that you abandoned the child?
- The baby was born prematurely. We went to Bratsk and stayed at my friend’s place. We didn’t make it in time to the hospital, the labors started and I gave the birth at the bathroom threshold… Valentina, the landlord, was helping me. Doctors arrived when it was over. We were taken to the hospital, and this is where the nightmare started. All nurses and doctors were saying in one voice: “Give her up, give her up. You’re still young, why do you need the disabled child”. I and Oleg were against it, but then mother-in-law had her word, saying that she wouldn’t help with the handicapped child. So, Tanya remained in the hospital, and we went back to Tynkob. What a scum I am…
Natalya talks quietly. Her eyes are dry. She just lights another cigarette.
“She is a good girl, she will understand”
- Your sister told our newspaper that you wanted to go back and take Tanya …
- I thought about it all the time, hoping to persuade the mother-in-law. And then I found out that Americans adopted Tanya. After that the second daughter, Anastasia, was born. Then twins followed – boy and girl. Dasha was born disabled, too.
- You did not abandon her …
- Of course not! I can’t get rid of the guilt for what I already have done <…> I’ts not easy to raise people with disabilities here, we are treated with contempt: cannot leave the house, children are throwing stones and sand.
- Have you thought of moving to the city to arrange special school for Dasha?
- I cannot live in town, we have our farm here. This year we started growing pigs and keep chickens all the time.
- What is your husband doing?
- He works in timber industry, sometimes absent for 20 days in a row. Comes back to have rest and then again – to taiga. The whole farm is on me.
- Tanya said she wanted to see you. What would you say to her when you meet her?
- I just want to look into her eyes and ask for forgiveness… I did the wrong thing, but I want to explain her why it happened. Her new parents have done for her what I could never do. I know she is a good girl, and will understand.
We offered Natalya to send a message to Jessica. She thought for a long time, looking through the dusty window. And then she started writing …
Letter to Jessica Long from her Russian mother
I feel very guilty. All these years I was thinking about you, thinking how you live. I knew that you were adopted, I didn’t have an opportunity to take you back. I am glad that your life turned in such way, I wouldn’t be able to give you all of this. I would really want to apologize to you in person, looking into your eyes. Hopefully, I will have such opportunity. Meanwhile I am asking for your forgiveness on paper …
I am very grateful to your parents. I would get on my knees in front of these people. They helped you to become a complete person. I dream to see you and your mom and dad.
I embrace you with love and hope to see you soon.
Kiss!!! Love you!!! Miss you!!!
Comments of Russian netizens
Below are translated some comments which left Russian readers of this story.
Guest: Mixed feelings after reading the article … but I know for sure, what happened is good. Otherwise, Jessica would not be who she has become. Thanks to her adoptive parents!Противоречивые чувства после прочтения статьи…Но знаю точно-хорошо,что случилось именно так. Иначе Джессика не стала бы той,кем она стала. Спасибо приемным родителям!
Василиса: Unfortunately, in our country, there are no conditions for people with disabilities to live freely and normally. We even don’t have ramps, not talking about anything else… Jessica-Tanya was lucky, though it’s tragic to say it. She lost her real parents, but got real and interesting life. I am very sorry for all disabled and sick people living in Russia. It is very hard.К сожалению, в нашей стране действительно нет никаких условий для того, чтобы инвалиды себя чувствовали полноценно и свободно. У нас даже пандусов нет, что уж говорить про все остальное… Тане-Джессике повезло, как ни трагично это говорить. Она потеряла настоящих родителей, но обрела настоящую и интересную жизнь. Мне очень жаль всех тех людей, кто болен и живет в России. Это очень тяжело.
Guest No. 9082: What a tragedy. But now I feel most sorry for the little disabled girl – the youngest daughter. She is offended by other children, while the mother thinks only about herself – chickens and the farm. She should give it up and take the child to a city where they have correctional school, where the population treats people with disabilities in a more civilized manner. But she does not care.Какая трагедия. Но сейчас больше всех мне жалко маленькую девочку, которая растет инвалидом — младшую дочку героини статьи. Ее обижают дети, а мама как всегда думает только о себе — куры у нее, хозяйство. А то, что надо все бросить и везти ребенка в город, где есть коррекционная школа, где население более цивилизованно относится к инвалидам, ей плевать.
Guest No. 5977 (replying to the above): Hey you, clever guy. Try to go to the city alone: where will you live and what will you do? No work, and even if you find something – they will pay pennies, but the main thing is housing. This hut is in a hole – costs maybe, 250 thousand rubles; in any city you won’t buy a doorknob for this money. Use your head before you write something like that.Умница ты наша, попробуй, даже одна, рвануть куда-нибудь в город: где жить будешь и на что? Работу не найдешь, а найдешь-за копейки, но главное-это жилье. Данный барак в дыре стоит, от силы, тысяч 250, на них в любом городе кпишь только дверную ручку. Думай головой прежде, чем писать.
алкаш: Why straining the soul now? Abandoned and forgot her – that’s it, no need to remember such “mother.” Wouldn’t she be a champion – there would be no article and nobody would look for the parents? And this is just some Russian show-off, as always.ну и зачем всем бередить душу? Отказалась, забыла — всё, больше не вспоминать о такой «матери». А была бы не чемпионка — то и статьи бы не было, и никто не стал бы искать родителей? как всегда российская показуха?
георгий настенко: I was pleasantly surprised how Jessica responded to her biological parents. Maybe they will beg her for few thousand bucks for their needs now.Приятно удивлен, как отреагировала на своих биологических родителей Джессика. Еще, может быть, они выпросят у нее несколько тысяч баксов на нужды первой необходимости
Guest No. 73 (replying to the above): Don’t offend the woman – she is guilty, but won’t beg for anything, it’s not that type.. Нечего оскорблять эту женщину — она виновата, но ничего выклянчивать не собирается, не тот это типаж..
Li: I’ve got goosebumps reading the article. All the horror that during these years felt the Russian mother, thinking of the abandoned child. I think she is not a monster. She is just human being.А у меня мурашки по спине после прочтения статьи. Какой ужас испытывала все эти годы русская мать, думая о брошенном ребенке. Мне кажется, что она не монстр. Она просто человек.
In our country, I would never throw a stone at a woman, fearing to raise the disabled child. I think that she felt a little better knowing that her baby survived, grew up and became happy, despite the disability. In our country only those who have very, very, very strong spirit, can do it.В нашей стране я никогда не смогу кинуть камнем в женщину, побоявшуюся вопитывать инвалида. Думаю, что ей стало немного легче от того, что ее ребенок выжил, вырос и счастлив, несмотря на свою иналидность. В нашей стране это доступно единицам, только очень-очень-очень сильным духом.