It’s a sad circumstance when a mother struggles to care for her child, and it takes a whole lot of strength and courage to admit that seeking outside help is the best thing for a baby’s survival. But when a mother is already living in dire circumstances, it can sometimes lead her to commit some truly desperate measures.

In Russia, for instance, one old woman heard a strange noise coming from her back yard. Even at 83 years old, she found the strength to investigate, and what she found spurred a strange legal battle that would decide the fate of one new mother and her baby girl…

It was August 18, 2016, when an 83-year-old woman from Krasnoyarsk, Russia, heard an odd whimpering noise coming from some brush in front of her house. She decided to investigate.

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The woman followed the whimpering sound until she came face-to-face with its source: a baby wrapped in a purple blanket was lying in the tall grass! Worse, her mother was nowhere to be seen. This baby had been abandoned.

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However, while the baby might have been alone, she hadn’t been left with nothing: the old woman found food and diapers nestled nearby the infant. As soon as she could, the woman alerted the nearby orphanage, who sent help.

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Doctors examined the infant and found, much to their relief, that she was in good health. She’d been dressed warmly, too, meaning whoever had left her—in some way—thought about the baby’s needs. The doctors’ next discovery confirmed this…

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Orphanage officials suddenly discovered a note hidden inside the baby’s clothes. It began with a pleading message: “Forgive me, but I don’t know what to do. She is a very quiet and healthy baby. Her name is Uljana. She was born on August 12 and already has all her vaccinations…”

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“This is the most horrible thing I have ever done in my life,” the note continued. “I promise I will come back for her, but right now I have no choice. We already had to spend a night on the streets.” Uljana’s story was a sad one indeed.

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So the orphanage did what they could for Uljana and tried to find her a new home. The cute baby garnered a lot of attention from potential families, too. But one day, Uljana received an intriguing visitor…

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A young woman showed up to the orphanage asking about this popular infant, Uljana, that she’d heard so much about. Then, she revealed why she was asking—and the baby’s caretakers couldn’t believe their eyes.

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The woman, named Natalja, claimed she was Uljana’s mother—the very same woman who’d left the baby in the old lady’s yard not so long ago. Her story, like Uljana’s, was tragic…

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Natalja had come to Krasnoyarsk looking for work. In the city, she met a man with whom she fell in love. Shortly after, Natalja became pregnant, but the man wanted her to have an abortion. She refused—and he left.

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Soon thereafter, Natalja lost her job. She turned to her parents for help, but they were upset with her pregnancy and they rejected her. Natalja gave birth to her baby while jobless, penniless, and with no one but the hospital staff at her side.

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At the hospital, Natalja begged doctors to let her keep her baby in the facilities until she could find a steady job and home. Surely, her baby would be in good care there, right? The hospital, however, couldn’t accommodate her request.

With nowhere to go, Natalja wandered around with her newborn baby, even spending a few nights on the streets huddling with the helpless infant. She knew her baby would die if she couldn’t find help. But what could she do?

In a particularly desperate moment, Natalja left her baby in the old woman’s yard. She’d been hiding nearby as the child was scooped up by the lady and, eventually, the orphanage. With her baby safe, she found a way to make some money…

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Natalja was also able to find a woman’s shelter willing to take her in for a little while. With a bit of money and a place to stay, Natalja felt she could take care of her child again. That was how she ended up back at the orphanage.

The Advocate

The orphanage, though, wasn’t exactly willing to just hand over Uljana. She’d been surrendered, and as far as they were concerned, Natalja no longer had custody over her.

But Natalja was ready to fight to get her baby back. She went through the adoption process, submitting to a DNA test, undergoing psychological exams, and facing police interrogations. Her case was a contentious one.

Some felt Natalja had no right to the child—if she wanted her baby back, she would have to prove she was the best candidate. In fact, some tried making the case that she belonged in a Krasnoyarsk prison for abandoning the baby in the first place!

Others who’d heard of her hardships—and believed she’d acted in a truly noble way to keep her baby alive—were far more sympathetic to Natalja. But what did the courts say?

After a four-month-long legal battle, the courts granted Natalja a second chance! They awarded the struggling mother the child she’d been separated from, and the duo moved back to her hometown. Still, it wasn’t an easy process. Just watch the moment the baby was discovered…

Thankfully, Natalja could be reunited with Uljana after the hardships she endured. Hopefully she can prove herself a fantastic mother with her second chance!

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