A boy named Roman and his 6000 mile search for his brother and sister
Roman found them
ROMAN FOUND THEM
It took an eight year and 6000 mile journey, but Roman has found his brother and sister on Long Island. In fact, their identity and location was discovered more than a year ago. However, there is one last heartbreaking twist to overcome.
It has been another long trial for Roman. Some may remember that a Boston Globe article in late 2014 triggered a series of events. The article was published and re-published. A network of friends and supporters forwarded the story to many thousands across the country and in other parts of the world. Tips and theories began to arrive on the web site message board. After a few weeks, an adoptive parent in a mid-Atlantic state responded to a message sent by friend Ruth, an adoptive mother who reached out to adoption web sites. The parent remembered events in Russia in 2006 and two children from the right region around the right time. More important, she remembered two new first names that had been given to a Russian brother and sister who were the right ages. Those two names led to dozens of new clues in data searches done by volunteers. Then some pictures were found. Within a day, Roman took a look at the pictures and tears flowed through a smile. He knew immediately and took comfort in knowing that his brother Sergey and sister Anastasia/Nastia – now known by American first names – were apparently alive and ok.
Still there are obstacles. The first discovery led to more discoveries about what had happened when the siblings were separated. The parents and adoption agency officials who separated the kids created some fictions that need to be overcome. Roman had abandoned the siblings? Roman had disappeared or died? The actions of the family that adopted Sergey and Anastasia/Nastia were hard to fathom. There was a bizarre back story involving relatives of the family who fraudulently tried to interfere with Roman’s adoption in 2009. The original adoption agency, sanctioned and terminated in Russia over misconduct charges, had participated in a perplexing deception at the time of Roman’s court adoption proceedings in Russia.
But the main strategy of the sibling’s parents was simple and readily apparent: they had decided that Roman would cease to exist to his siblings.
With these new discoveries, Roman was offered many options for reconnecting. He chose an open and loving appeal through respected intermediaries.
With the help of clergy members – especially two rabbis – sensitive efforts to bring the siblings together were initiated. However, the parents rejected reconciliation efforts. Passover weekend 2016, the Saturday between two Seders, is the one year anniversary of Roman's attempt to reunite.
Roman, by pure chance, had been scheduled to play a soccer game down the street from his siblings, a few blocks from the Long Island Expressway. He sent a letter to his brother:
I have a game this Saturday at noon at Kolm Park. The Hicksville American Elite team is really high ranked nationally. This game is part of the US Region 1 Champions league for u18 soccer. They represent Long Island. My team, the New England Rush, is the Massachusetts Premier League I champ. Of our team, 14 guys come from other countries. Most are Brazilian, Colombian, and Haitian, but my friend Kevin, who used to be Sasha as you used to be Sergey, is from Odessa. Given our immigrant histories, coaches are taking us to the Statue of Liberty on Friday.
I have waited a long time to see you and our little sister. We all have different names now – while I’m still Roman, my last name is Davis. Still we’re the same people and you and our little sister were always in my heart.
I don’t know if this letter will ever get to you. I just hope it does. By now, I’m thinking you may have seen the web site www.searchforsergey.com or read the newspaper story and know I’m in America, near Boston. If one of your parents sees this letter first, I hope they will give it to you and (our sister). I amazed by her from what I saw on the Internet before your Vine and Twitter accounts were taken down. I know she was little, but when I took care of her, I could see her personality even back in Russia. Watching her videos made me happy and honestly she reminds me of me. I saw your Twitter posts and I know we have a lot in common. You were a good kid and I can see you are a good guy now.
It made me feel good to know you were ok. I worried for a long time. I know there was a whole part of our lives that was separate, but there was a part of our lives that was a hard adventure that we shared. We survived. We took care of our little sister. I realized the Passover date and the place of the game. It must mean something. It made me want to send a letter.
Love from your brother,
A local rabbi on Long Island addressed the parents. He confirmed that these kids are indeed Roman’s siblings. However it isn’t clear that Roman’s letter ever got to the kids. The envelope was clearly marked with Roman’s return address. There was no deception. The other parents had Roman’s address. They took the letter and were angry about it. Despite all efforts, the parents continue to keep the kids apart.
Be aware that denials of Roman’s interests go beyond the termination of the profound family relationships among the kids. Requests to share medical and learning records go back six years. No acknowledgement, much less cooperation, has ever been offered. Serious needs for sharing were identified years ago. For years, anonymous exchanges managed by reputable medical institutions were offered. Given such ongoing actions, the attitude of the parents is quite obviously hostile.
Still Roman knows where his brother and sister live. He finally has some power over events. Yet he has chosen not to directly contact them. He is concerned that they have received bad information. He believes that at some point they were told he had disappeared or died, and that prior to that, they were falsely told that he had chosen not to go with them to the United States. He is concerned about their well-being. Roman is hoping that there is a way to bring them the truth while minimizing any potential confusion or pain.
In the meantime, he has taken solace in just knowing they are alive and knowing where they are. Roman’s family and friends marveled at the accuracy of his descriptions of both kids. Given the passage of time, these were really projections into the future. Strengths and vulnerabilities of the kids seemed to fit well with his profiles. In his heart, the big brother still seems to know his brother and sister.