Recently we changed things in this document to correct erroneous information on the age of our daughters’ biological sibling, Vitaly (or Vitale). He is several years older than we thought and also older in the birth order. (This also greatly increases the chances that he was adopted outside of Russia, and perhaps, in the U.S. or Europe.)
It is a typical story of Russian orphans from a broken home and family. In May of 1991, “Emily Svieta Simmons” was born Svetlana Anatolievna Moiseva to Anatoli Nikolayevich Moiseyev and Oksana Arsentievna Koshkina, in a shack in a small Russian village called Fralovka, near Partizansk (nearest city of consequence: Nakhodka). (Emily has asked that I include such details because she hopes that it will help her other younger siblings to locate her.)
The birth father of our adopted children was named Anatoli Nikolayevich Moiseyev. He was born on November 17, 1956 in Artyom village, USSR. The first mother of my adopted daughters was just like they were. They were all Russian social orphans. Oksana was born on June 28, 1972 in Yastrebovka settlement, USSR. She grew up in some of the same orphanages as Emily and aged out of the system at 16. Her first child, Svetlana (Emily), was born when Oksana was nineteen. A year later, Oksana gave birth to another little girl named Natalia Anatolievna Moiseyeva (now Analise (Annie) Natasha Simmons) in the same shack. Three more children (all eventually becoming Russian orphans) were born in this location, including: Vitaly (or Vitale)Anatolievich, Moiseyev (1994) (a boy), Lidia Anatolievna Moiseyeva (1995), and Maria Anatolievna Moisieva (1997).
To the best of our knowledge, the oldest five children used the last name of their father, Moiseyev(a) (“a” is placed at the end for girls and no “a” for boys), and the youngest two used the last name of their mother, Koshkina. However, Emily claims that sometimes she used the last name of Koshkina, and so it is possible that Maria and Vitale were adopted under either of the names of Koshkina or Moiseyeva, though Moiseyeva is more likely as that was the name on official documents when Emily and Annie were adopted as Russian orphans.)
Emily claims that sometime when Lidia was a toddler, that Oksana beat her head on the ground and caused the brain damage that caused Lidia to be near catatonic. Emily says that before the beating, “Lidia wasn’t like that.” (All of our girls who were old enough to remember, recall such beatings of their heads on the ground.) (At least three of the Moiseyeva/Koshkina children have at least some mental challenges which could be related to such abuse.)
In the late winter or early spring of 1998, Social Services in the area was notified about the horrific living conditions of the Moiseyev/Koshkina children. That is when they became Russian orphans. Like many orphans, these children were “social orphans,” meaning that at least one of their parents was still alive, but that they had no active parents. The social worker who handled the case said that the situation in this family was the worst she had ever seen. Lidia, who was about three, was covered with third degree burns down the entire left side of her body. She was immediately taken to a hospital where she underwent multiple skin graft surgeries. According to Emily, Oksana claimed that Lidia couldn’t speak because she had a demon. The mother picked up the three-year-old little girl and threw her on the wood burning stove that was used to heat the shack. Lidia burst into flames and was screaming. Emily said that she and her sister Annie were screaming, but that they were afraid that if they tried to get Lidia off of the stove that they would catch on fire too. The father, who was outside, heard the screams and ran into the house. Emily says that her father was good, unlike her mother, and he took Lidia off of the stove and poured water on her until the fire went out. Neither parent got medical attention for Lidia and she remained in the shack until social services removed her from the home, days later, as is the case with so many Russian orphans.
It wasn’t enough that all of the children had become Russian orphans; now they would lose each other, too.
The five Moiseyev/Koshkina children were removed from their family and placed in an orphanage (Emily says at Budyánovka, but we have never been able to find such a village in that area. It is likely that the village was re-named) and soon after moved to another one. Emily believes that the second orphanage was at Yeakaterinovka, where we later found Natasha (Annie) and Lidia. At this orphanage, Emily was forced to sign “divorce papers” that would allow two of the children, Maria and Vitaly (or Vitale), to be divorced from the other siblings, so that they would have a chance to be adopted. This was devastating to Emily. It wasn’t enough that all of the children had become Russian orphans; now they would lose each other, too. The family would be eviscerated.
To the best of our knowledge, Maria and Vitaly (or Vitale) were transferred to other orphanages and adopted out as Russian orphans. We have heard contradictory information about Vitaly (or Vitale). We once heard that he was adopted by a family in the U.S. We have also heard that he was adopted into a Russian home. Emily claims she was told by orphanage workers that both of her siblings were adopted by American families. In any case, it appears that he and Maria were adopted by different families. We have reason to believe that Maria was transferred to the orphanage, Ussuriysk Baby Home #3, (about two hours north of Vladivostok, Russia). We believe that she was adopted by a couple from the U.S. at the age of two, in May of 1999. We believe that neither Maria’s nor Vitaly’s parents are aware of their biological siblings, though all of our girls from Russia ache to know anything about Maria and Vitaly.
Soon after the divorcing of the children, Emily was separated out from the others and moved to an orphanage for troubled Russian orphans, on a military base in Nicolaivka. Natalia (Annie) and Lidia remained at an orphanage for handicapped Russian orphans in Yeakaterinovka.
After the first five Moisieva/Koshkina children were removed from the home, Oksana and her much older boyfriend, Anatole, moved to the village of Uglekamesk, also fairly close to Nakhodka. There, Oksana gave birth to two more little girls who would also become Russian orphans; Ekaterina Anatolievna Koshkina (now Sarah) and Lyubov Anatolievna Koshkina (now Celeste). When Sarah, at the age of about four, received third degree burns with no medical attention, Social Services removed them from the home and placed them in the Partizansk Baby Hospital (an orphanage for Russian orphans under five). Sarah received treatment for her burns and after recovering, was moved to the Partizansk Children’s Home (an orphanage for Russian orphans from five to sixteen). Neither the younger girls nor their older siblings were aware of each other.
Emily claims that from the time she was moved to Nicolaivka, that she never saw Natalia (Annie) or Lidia again until we began working on adopting them. (This is not unusual for siblings who are Russian orphans.) She does, however, say that she was allowed a weekly phone conversation with Natalia (Annie).
In May of 2005, my wife and I adopted Ekaterina (Sarah) and Lyubov (Celeste) and brought them into our home. As we were wrapping up the adoption of those two little girls, we found out about their sibling Russian orphans. About six months later I returned to Russia to meet the remaining children from that family and to see if it would be possible to adopt and add them to our family.
In November of 2005, I took pictures of Sarah and Celeste and gave them to Emily and Annie when I met them. This was the first they knew of their two youngest biological siblings. At that time I didn’t know if it would be possible to adopt the older siblings, so I simply told the older girls that I wanted them to have pictures of their younger sisters and that I wanted to take pictures of them, for my daughters. I didn’t want to break Emily’s and Annie’s hearts if it proved to be impossible to adopt them, too. But from that moment, Emily became convinced that she, Annie and Lydia would cease to be Russian orphans. She was sure that the tree of them would be adopted by Amy and me. I only wish that conditions would have allowed for the adoption of all three. Nothing in this world has been more difficult for my daughters than leaving Lidia with the other Russian orphans, though not knowing about Maria and Vitaly comes close.
Reunification is difficult for Russian orphans who are siblings, and particularly when they don’t know they have siblings. But we hope that this post will enable our children to find their long-lost siblings.
While initially, I requested to adopt Lidia as well, the Russians refused. They were right. Lidia didn’t understand family and would have needed to be institutionalized no matter what country she lived in. They explained to me that she would never be able to understand the move and that it would terrify her. Being convinced that remaining in Russia would be best for Lidia, we proceeded with the adoptions of Svetlana (Emily) and Natalia (Annie).
At first, Emily refused to be adopted if Lidia would not be included. She insisted that no one in her family be left behind with the other Russian orphans. Siblings were left behind when the first of the Moisieva/Koshkina children were adopted and Emily was not about to let that happen again. When Emily saw that there was no way to get Lidia included in the adoption into our home, she finally consented on the condition that she would be allowed to tell Lidia (whom she hadn’t seen or talked to in about eight years) goodbye.
During that last meeting, Emily sat next to Lidia who stared at the wall. The older sister rubbed the younger one’s back and patted her head. Then she stroked her hair and told her goodbye. When it was time to go, my wife, Amy, helped Emily to stand. At that moment, Lidia looked up at Emily with surprise which seemed to indicate recognition. (We had been told that Emily looked exactly like her mother.) Then Lidia jumped up and threw her arms and legs around Emily and began to holler; Mama! Mama! Mama! The director and workers had to pry Lidia off of Emily.
The last goodbye, while (I believe) necessary, was devastating to Emily.
She later told me that she thought that over the eight years they had been apart, that Lidia’s burn scars would have gone away and that her damaged brain might have repaired itself. The discovery that Lydia was just as damaged as she was before, was almost as difficult for Emily as leaving her behind with the other Russian orphans.
Though these details of our daughters’ early history are horrifying, I hope that it helps you to understand several things. I want to realize what children who need new families have (in many cases) been through. Also, as you see our children with their difficulties, I want you to see how far they have come from the time when they were Russian orphans. Additionally, I hope that this piece of history helps you to better understand Emily’s blog posts.
Reunification is difficult for Russian orphans who are siblings and particularly when they don’t know they have siblings. But we hope that this post will enable our children to find their long-lost siblings. We want Maria and Vitaly to know that they have biological siblings who love them, miss them, and are desperate to know anything about them.
For search engine purposes, I should add that Emily’s missing sister could have been named Maria Anatolievna Koshkina or Maria Anatolievna Moiseyeva (Russian spelling: Мария Анатольевна Моисеева May 10, 1997) and she was born on May 10, 1997. Her missing brother could have been named Vitaly Anatolievich Koshkina or Vitaly Anatolievich Moiseyeva. (Russian spelling: Виталий Анатольевич Моисеев Feb 21 1994) and he was born on February 21, 1994. English or Latin spellings for Vitaly could include Vitale Anatolievich Moiseyeva, and Vitali Anatolievich Moiseyeva. Villages and towns associated with the search would be Fralovka, Budyanovka, Ussuriysk and Partizansk, in Primorsky, Far East, Russia or USSR. Anyone with information that might help Emily to locate her siblings is encouraged to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please help us to bring a happy ending to the story of these former Russian orphans by liking and sharing this post.
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