Inhabitants of the Russian city of Yaroslavl just north of Moscow will never forget this story: one day passersby heard a baby crying in a house. At first they didn't think much of it — babies do cry. But when the crying went on not just for hours but for days, and not once did they see a light on in the house, they finally called the police.
When police entered the house they were met by a shocking sight: a baby who looked about a year old was sitting in a dark living room — by herself. She was lying on the dirty floor crying and aside from her, the whole house was empty. It appeared that the owners had moved out, taking everything with them...except their baby!
The little girl was quickly brought to the hospital where doctors determined that she had a broken hip, was starving, and deeply exhausted. The poor baby had spent probably an entire week in the house completely and utterly alone.
It emerged that she was named Liza Verbitskaya but when the police searched for her parents, they came back empty-handed. The family had simply disappeared. After her stay in the hospital Liza was going to have to go to an orphanage where she could be put up for adoption.
At exactly this time, Inna was visiting her own son at the hospital. When she heard a baby crying in the next room, she had the urge to check in on things and ended up getting to know Liza and hearing the whole sad story. From then on Inna would bring her diapers and toys.
Inna already had two sons and until then she'd never thought about adoption. But when the day arrived and Liza left the hospital, Inna said she realized that she couldn't live without her anymore. "I asked for the address of the place where they'd taken her and went there as fast as I could. I don't even know how I got there anymore!"
Some months later, the formalities of the adoption were settled and Liza moved home to live with Inna and her new family. Now she was almost two, yet unable to eat solid food and extremely fearful of loud noises. A year later she still couldn't walk properly. Inna decided to sign her up for dance classes with the hope that music could help and inspire her to develop more feeling for her body.
And it worked. Thanks to the dancing combined with the love and care of her adoptive mother, Liza was soon blossoming into a healthier, happier child. By the time she started school no one would have believed this was the same girl who had been abandoned by her parents and left for dead in an empty house.
Because her appearance looked "exotic" to many around her, she attracted much attention. Some kids at school would tease her, calling her "gypsy" and "chocolate". But Liza had the ability to let the meanness bounce right off of her. "She's not ashamed of who she is," Inna said. "When she was little, I told her: 'People will always stare at you — be prepared for it!'"
In the meantime the 12-year-old girl has won numerous talent competitions and beauty pageants, even getting her first job as a teen model.
Soon after Liza won one of these competitions and became well known for being "the most beautiful girl in the country," her biological mother seems suddenly to have realized that the baby she so callously left eleven years earlier must now be this thriving successful girl. She reached out to Liza and literally tried to insist on her right to see her child again. She was denied — after all, she couldn't begin to explain why she had left her baby behind in a house and never returned. She had forfeited any right to contact.
Now Liza alone will be allowed to decide if she ever wants to see her biological mother again.