In summer 2008, Belarus witnessed unprecedented turmoil. 16-summer Tatyana kozyro, who with a group of children went to rehabilitation in California refused to return home. The Belarusian foreign Ministry demanded that U.S. authorities immediately to return the girl home. But the new family began to fight for the right of his ward to stay in the States, that he spent all their savings. Nearly 10 years later, Tanya said Onliner.by about how everything was.
“Mother brought me my grandmother with the words: “I Want what you want — give it to the orphanage””
— Mom left me at birth. First, your mom took off, and then the second grandma says fragile thin Tanya. We sit in the Borisov pizza and drink tea. The girl pulls out a wallet, the only picture of her mother.
— I have a brother Denis, he is three years older than me. He combined, we have different fathers. So it actually brought my mom’s mom, and when my mother threw me to her, she never pulled. Pull here, when one three-year runs, and the second baby. Then mom brought me a two-month other grandma, dad’s mom. Gave with the words: “Want what you want — give it to the orphanage, I want to grow up”. And left.
Dad Thani also not particularly complain about it. At that time, when my daughter was born, he was already seeing other women and occasionally drinking heavily. From the little one waved: well, you never know from whom his ex-girlfriend could get pregnant. His name in the column “Father” is not listed so far.
The grandmother on my father’s line, Nadezhda Petrovna decided she’s gonna raise her granddaughter herself. A widow, she worked in three shifts at the crystal factory, received a good salary. Tanya started calling grandma “mom” and that her “daughter”.
— Mom (i.e., grandma) in me adores, and always regret very much loves. I don’t know what would have become of me without her, smiles Tanya, showing pictures of pretty women. Periodically Nadezhda Petrovna tried to persuade her (the mother) back to her daughter, offered to move in with her.
Bugger that was me and brother, — the girl considers. — She lived next door but one to us and drank. How many times have we tried to help her… once out of school went, see: lies. The cold was terrible. My grandmother brought her home, I personally washed her feet, rubbed a special cream. Treated her for several days, fed, warmed. And then she walked out of the house — no thank you, nothing. A week later, again drunk lying under the fence.
I could be lying on the street, and he is small next to her was sitting, crying. But we were not in any way, said: “I’m not going anywhere, my mother and I will.”
In the end, she was deprived of parental rights. Nadezhda Petrovna issued custody of Tanya, brother to go to them so did not want — he was sent to the orphanage. The relationship with the brother Tanya are still there.
“We love you as a mother, you go we will remain”
In 2000, the American charitable organization Chernobyl Children’s Project organized for Borisov orphans the trip to the USA for recuperation. Got there and eight-year-old Tanya.
I was in a queue on improvement and first had to go to Italy, and the US sent a completely different girl, but she got chicken pox, the girl says. — Then for the first time in my life I flew on the plane. He only knew that in San Francisco. And what kind of family are these people any information. To choose we could not.
At the airport, Tanya with a sign was waiting for Manuel and Debra Zapata with the children. They brought the baby to Petaluma, a small town about the size of our Kobrin, 40 kilometers from San Francisco. Debra at the time worked as a pediatrician and Manuel was an officer in the civil service.
Is very kind and nice people, they never cried. Could only admonish, the good that is to say: “Well, you’re so badly behaved.” And that’s all, nothing more. Of course, the first time I didn’t know them, afraid and very homesick. But they tried to do everything that I was comfortable, she was leafing through an American album. — The language I learned quickly spoken I have a great. Call them “mom” and “dad”, “brother” and “sister.” Still so called. Sister Ashley we have a difference in a couple of years. We’ve made friends from day one. Brother IIRO older than us by three years. It is also very cool. Then mom and dad appeared and Nicholas. We all loved him, nursed him…
The couple Zapata also doted in Tana. The girl went to him for nine years. And they got more and more attached to each other. Between the travel Manuel and Debra called Borisov, sent gifts on birthdays, periodically sent for $100-200.
— We’ve been everywhere, went to Disneyland, swimming pools, parks, zoos, houses never sat. Everything was somehow different, not like our country, much brighter and more beautiful, — says the girl. — Usually we were in the US for two months. And after them never want to leave. I was already in the bus was pulled, and I cried.
In 2008, Tanya came to Petaluma last time: she was 16 years — for older children this program was not designed.
— We were driving home from a movie, and then suddenly mum Debbie said: “We’ll never see you again, we love you as a mother, you go we will remain.”
I called my grandmother: “I Propose to stay, what to do?” She says: “don’t stay, and it will be a scandal.”
I conveyed the words of my grandmother’s family and in response I heard: “Calm down, no scandal will not, it is 100%”. Remember, even said to the grandmother: “They know better, they are Americans,” quips the girl.
“I looked out the window and there was journalists, diplomats and all our Belarusian party”
5 Aug 2008 Tanya with a group of 24 Belarusian children had to fly from San Francisco home. But on the flight the girl brought. The whole group remained in the United States, and the representatives of the charitable organization contacted the police, thinking that the girl was gone. The next day morning to the home of Debra and Manuel police came.
— Me, sleepy, rose at five in the morning and asked: “You do agree or are you being held?” I replied that I have no holds, I myself, — says Tanya. — And then the commotion started. The morning we had curtained all the Windows. Nothing is clear, parents were asked, saying that only don’t look out. I look through the peephole and there was a lot of people, a large number of reporters, cameras, diplomats, children from my group…
Tanya then and did not know what passions boiled around her. Once it became known that the girl is not coming back, the Belarusian foreign Ministry immediately demanded the US authorities to “take all necessary measures to ensure the unconditional return of a Belarusian citizen’s home.” On 6 August the charge d’affaires of Belarus presented to the representative of the state Department memo and demanded that the group of Belarusian children flew home in full force. But the guys came back without kozyro.
The scandal grew. The Minister of education of Belarus (then this position was occupied by Alexander Radkov) stated that in reality the girl wants to go home, where it waits for grandma. Meanwhile it became known that Debra and Manuel filed the documents Tatiana for an extension of visitor visa. So Tanya could be in the US before immigration would solve her question. To deport the singer was not possible because the girl’s grandmother gave consent, she remained in America.
The Belarusian foreign Ministry has begun to see the situation with the return of Tanya kozyro as “an unacceptable violation of contractual obligations” under the program of the American organization Chernobyl Children’s Project. After a couple of days the Belarusian side and all suspended programs to improve the health of children in the United States. Thousands of American families, before taking orphans and children from radioactive zones were wondering, would they all meet. Worried and the Irish who participated in the project over 15 years.
To persuade kozyro flew foreign Ministry employee. He dated a girl a few times. According to representatives of the Ministry, the girl offered to return to Belarus and then to try to obtain a student visa in the US and come to study, but she refused. 16-year-old Borisovkoe in an interview with us media said that in Belarus it was very hard, her father drank, his friend did drugs, and her mother abandoned her. “Here my family”, — told the then 16-year-old Tanya.
— At me the grandmother was crushed, — says the girl now. — Grandmother was persuaded to cry to me on the phone, saying how she misses me, that she badly without me.
I was threatened that if will not return, it will be bad, then began to promise that will be around to help fix house, hold the water, sewer and gas… I didn’t agree.
To Tanya put police: after the incident with the Belarusian orphan Vika Moroz, which Italian family hid in a monastery, there were fears that the girl can take out of the country.
— Police accompanied me everywhere: in the Park, cinema, shopping centres, — says Tanya. — Even near the toilet was on duty. When I gave reporters of a local newspaper interview, I was taken to the police station through the back door. In addition, following me and some other people: everywhere I saw strange people who watched what I was doing. I realized that grandma’s and my phones were bugged.
Although, to be honest, I still don’t understand what’s so catastrophic would’ve happened if I’d stayed, and why there was such a scandal. Humming not only city or state, the whole country knew the name Zapata. My family has poured a lot of dirt: the American Newspapers wrote that they kept me by force, I don’t want to go to Belarus because I fell in love with their son — in General, nonsense.
“I thought grandmother to inspect. She saved my life, and I have that in my old age a glass of water, she cannot make?”
The situation is not resolved before November 2008. The Belarusian foreign Ministry continued to demand the return of the girls. Because of the situation with Tanya kozyro, the country has tightened laws. The Belarusian President signed a decree according to which to take children for recuperation abroad in countries with which there are international treaties and to guarantee the return of children to their homeland.
The family of Zapata continued to fight for Tanya. The Americans hired one of the finest lawyers in the country Christopher Kerosky, Doku in immigration cases.
— This is a very expensive lawyer, he has worked with many American celebrities, explains Tanya. — At the time the hour was worth $50, and he worked on my case day and night. My American parents spent on it using all my savings. We won two cases in court on the extension of my visa. Stayed to win the third, and I could get a residence permit or even citizenship.
Suddenly, 10 days before the decisive meeting Tanya said American family that wants home to his native Borisov.
— Broken anguish. I really missed my grandmother, — says the girl. — I realized that I need to finish it. She saved my life, and I have that in my old age a glass of water, she will not be able to submit? I was convinced that if I receive American citizenship, you will be able to move to the U.S. and grandmother, had only a year to wait. But I already couldn’t wait. One day I told my mom and dad: everything I can’t stay.
The girl tried to persuade, even grandma called and said, “Tanya, hang in there, 10 days left until final judgment, suddenly will get citizenship”. But she insisted: I want to go home — and that’s it. American family hamper was gone.
— Of course they do not understand, very much offended. Sister even me from the room expelled. Said, “Pack your things and go.” And I understand them. They had spent so much money, soul all laid out, and here I am, saying, do not go.
Tanya remembers that the atmosphere was very tense. In the end, she put a stamp about deportation and for five years was denied entry into the United States. November 23 Borisovkoe was already in Belarus. She was met by journalists, questioned, filmed scenes (not always positive). She was just glad that she finally saw her grandmother.
There were people that pissed off at me. When I came from America, I phoned some woman shouted into the phone: “damn you to hell!” I sent her and hung up. And what else do I need to say? — she sighs. — Such people can understand, because for a while I blocked the road to to children who traveled abroad for recreation. For me not a hit in the United States. But then like the program was agreed on and everything was fine. But you know, I don’t think that is my fault. At the time I was 16 years old — how could I assume that it would be such a reaction?
When the confusion passed, Tanya called my American family and apologized. Imagine her surprise when they said they still love her and respect her choice, no matter what.
“When now I can’t find a job in Borisov, remember that in the USA there are always things you would desire”
After coming from United States Tanya went back to school. She graduated from the 11th grade, then went to College, has received a speciality “the Seller-the cashier.” Worked on a specialty in Borisov, all these years he lived in the house at the grandmother on the outskirts of the city.
Now I had to quit. The schedule was heavy — five through two, and we had unloaded the goods, so I in addition to my hamstring. I realized that so can not work, — tells Tanja.
During this time she managed to get married and have a daughter Nastya, who is already five years old, send grandma to retire, to divorce and to establish a relationship with the father.
— Dad is now drinking less, and began to help her granddaughter. Yes, as a child, he shut me out, but I see now he’s trying to improve, how he cares for his granddaughter, and I was able to forgive. My dad is better than mom. She was not interested in neither the granddaughter nor I — said Tanya. — She’d never cope nor the granddaughter, nor about me. Drinking still lives in the village where she is forced to work. She is now a little more than 40 years, and it looks all 80.
Grandma taught me: “Forgive her”. Can’t. In the shower this wound would never heal, as long as I live, she probably will not last.
The promised blessings that the singer was lured back to Borisov, it is never received. Grandma’s house as they were without comforts, and left. Now Tatiana tries to repair it on their own. Put the orphan of the law of property is still there.
— Even now funny to remember how confident talking about it. And it in fact did nothing — sighs the girl.
American family Tanya is no longer seen, but they call each other on Skype, so she know all the news: for example, that the brother became a photographer and a model, and Ashley’s health problems.
— They help me financially. When I was sick, transferred money for the drugs, when passed on the right and I didn’t have my car, they sent me $1000 — I could buy a Ford Mondeo. Just him and enough laughs Tanya. — Before the birth of Anastasia, they also helped me and a lot for me. Interestingly, so far me and my daughter to know each other, are ready to issue the invitation and assist with visa. Yeah, I really want to go, but, perhaps, only to stay forever to go there is no point. Now I am not accustomed, all my friends and relatives here.
Go back in time Tanya does not like. But he says that if you had the chance, she probably would have remained in the United States.
I already regret I returned. It may be older, wiser, have compared life here and there. We have a much harder. A trivial example — work. Remember, in the US we as teenagers could earn money by becoming the assistant to the store or take care of children or the elderly. And it was a lot of money, if converted to full-time — adds the girl. — And here… I’m here for that month looking for a job in Borisov, that was more or less normal salary, nothing. Perhaps the decision to leave was very emotional. At that moment, I missed you more grandmother than the country itself. If it was immediately taken there, and I accepted. Perhaps things would have been completely different. I even recently thought about it…