August 24th, M1 highway, 15-20 km from Baranovichi towards Minsk, 8:30 pm. Unreal traffic on the road at a speed of 120 km/h and above.
A girl about 4 years old with a dog was running along the road. Not a soul around, only endless fields and a track. I stopped after 500 meters and got out of the car. The girl kept running in my direction.
“I thought this was the case—parents working in the field, the child ‘playing’ with the dog. But no, there was no one in sight. I got back into the car and reversed.
The girl was all dirty, her sandals on the wrong feet—left on the right, all dirty, her hair cut unevenly on the right. Hands and legs were black. The dog growled at me, trying to protect the little mistress.
I gave her water to drink, gave her a sweater and a blanket. I put her in the car. I called 102. Until the police arrived, we talked for an hour, or rather, she didn’t stop talking.
She spoke about the unfortunate parents, Sveta and Volodia, about Malysh the dog, about Grandma Vera and her apples, about two brothers, about how she dreamed of ice cream and ‘playing with the phone.’ A very active and lively girl—no matter what.
I crouched near the open back door as the dog Kid wouldn’t let me approach. At one point, Zhenya got out of the car, sat on my lap, hugged me, and said she wanted to sleep. It was already completely dark outside.
Finally, the authorities arrived in a minibus. Fortunately, they had a social worker with them, a nice girl who quickly connected with the young girl.
The next day, I called the officer who took my statement. When they arrived at the parents’ place, 15 km from the scene, Sveta’s mother was sleeping on the floor near the sofa, Volodia’s father was on the table, his face covered in salad.
There was no one to talk to and nothing to say. The child was taken to the hospital and then, probably, to a boarding school.
She won’t return to this family—Sveta and Volodia will lose their parental rights. By the way, Zhenya is an adopted girl, and her two brothers are relatives. Apparently, they took her for the sake of receiving benefits or finding housing.
The girl ran along the highway for who knows how many hours and kilometers, thousands of cars passed by, and no one thought to stop and ask what was happening? No one has children of their own? Is everyone so busy with their mega-important business?
How could alcoholics be allowed to adopt a girl? Where are the social services that should check the conditions in which the adopted child lives? Or are their plans also just to be ticked off? Who will be held responsible for the twice-broken psyche of a child? I was at Jenny’s today.
She’s alive and well, temporarily in a children’s hospital. She’s in good spirits. She remembered me and said she was waiting.
It turned out she’s not an adopted child, but a native one. The parents had their parental rights revoked for two older children who had already grown up in an orphanage.
The question to the local social services remains—such a family should have been under systematic control!
And then? No one knows yet. One of these days, I will go talk to local officials. The parents are banned from visiting the child. Zhenya also receives visits from her own aunt and cousin. I hope they are decent people.
There will be updates, I will write. Thanks to everyone for your participation and support.”
Ivan, who rescued Zhenya on the M1 highway, continues to follow the girl’s fate and admits that if her mother and father lose parental rights, he is ready to adopt her: “I am ready to do it properly now. I just need to discuss this matter with my wife.”