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'What happens in Sibera stays in Siberia...unless it is covered by The Siberian Times'

American mom - who dumped her daughter in Siberia - heaps new ridicule on herself

By The Siberian Times reporter
08 October 2014

This neglectful Virginia professor expresses no remorse while saying she still loves Sofia.

Happier times: Natalia with her daughters Maria and Sofia. Picture: Sofia Soulimani

Natalia Roberts has used the comments sections of The Siberian Times to make a new blast at her daughter Sofia who she raised almost entirely in the United States before sending her on a one-way ticket to Siberia at the age of 15, to live with a birth father she hardly knew, with no hope of return. 

The mother - who holds a prestigious role in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology at the Georgetown University Medical Center - seemingly objected to her daughter's revelation that she is penning a book about her experience which many Russians have seen as nothing short of child abuse. 

Even when Sofia complained that her father was beating her, Natalia did nothing to bring her home, nor to come and check on her child's well being. 

The 'punishment' for sending her to the other side of the world was evidently her supposed unruly behaviour and academic failings, which her friends at Chantilly High School in Virginia said were little different to many other teens. 

Sofia with mother and Maria

'I don't have any hate in my heart for you.'  Natalia with her daughters Maria and Sofia. Picture: Sofia Soulimani

Now 18, Sofia told The Siberian Times this week that having escaped to Casablanca, where she now lives with the family of a former partner of Natalia, a man she says has been the only real father figure in her life, she is writing a book on her ordeal, as a help to other children in trouble.

This brought an unsolicited comment to our story from Natalia, who also emailed it to Sofia in Morocco.

'Hello Sofia,

Is there anything private in your life?

Please keep at least young kids in our family out from publicity.

You have so much hate in your heart... I am so sorry for your actions...

You are so young and still do not understand the consequences of your actions. Please keep the kids out of your attempt to be rich and famous.

As usual, I wish you all the best and I forgive you for bringing so much pain to my family and me.

Love, Mom'

In passing we note that Natalie says Sofia, now 18, is too young to fathom the consequences of her actions: yet she was not too young, three years ago, to be hoodwinked under false pretences to fly to Russia, thinking it was a short visit to see her real father, and then given no realistic way to return to Virginia - the only place she knew as home. 

Sofia has given a detailed line-by-line response to her mother.

'This was publicly posted on the comments of Siberian Times and emailed to me directly. So I will publicly answer to this and email a direct response as well,' she said. 

'I'm going to break this down for you:

Is there anything private in your life? 

Is this even a serious question? Private? There is SO MUCH that I have NOT disclosed. And quite frankly it's in YOUR best interests. 

Please keep at least young kids in our family out from publicity.

I am keeping them out of this as much as I can. But I truly hope that you will do right by them in the future. Maybe to them you are the mother that you never were to me. I hope that's the case. 

You have so much hate in your heart... I am so sorry for your actions...

This is a joke right? I don't have any hate in my heart for you. I'm very bitter from your actions though. The fact that you STILL see yourself as

the victim is just baffling to me! Are you not sorry for your actions? .... Drop the act. You are not the victim here. I am the victim. Papa is the victim.

Maria is the victim. NOT YOU!

You are so young and still do not understand the consequences of your actions. Please keep the kids out of your attempt to be rich and famous.

You are right, I am so young. And I am so happy that I finally realized that I am NOT to blame. I beat myself up about this for so long, thinking that 

this really was all my fault. But throughout the years you made this obvious that it wasn't my fault. This was a choice that you made. I don't know how 

you can be so at peace with yourself. Rich and famous? That isn't my intentions! My intentions are to protect children from people like YOU!!!

As usual, I wish you all the best and I forgive you for bringing so much pain to my family and me.

Do you really? That's nice to know. I'm not asking for your forgiveness though mom. NOTHING I did was worth three and a half years of the misery that I was put through. Shame on you.

Love, Mom

'Love' isn't a word that you just throw around whenever you feel like it. If you say it, mean it! 

Sofia with kitten

Sofia in Siberia

'I don't have any hate in my heart for you.'  Natalia with her daughters Maria and Sofia. Pictures: Sofia Soulimani

At a time when there is considerable concern in Russia over the treatment of some orphans adopted to the US, we think Sofia deserves to be closely listened to. 

Luckily, in Siberia, Sofia found people who DID help her in her difficult plight especially after she found it impossible to live with her biological father, though she became acutely depressed and at one point suicidal. 

Sofia was a 15-year-old freshman at Chantilly High School in 2011 when she was suddenly packed off on what she was told would be a three-week trip to Siberia to meet her biological dad

After arriving in Berdsk to stay with a man she barely knew, her Soviet-born mom - now a US citizen - and American stepfather told her she would be not be returning to their home unless she improved her behaviour.

Yet Sofia was never given a roadmap - or any real hope of getting back.

Ideed, her mother let her 18th birthday come and go: a point after which her realistic hopes of living in the US legally significantly evaporated. 

Sofia told us this week: 'I have found some peace in my life and I really want to help other children do the same. I stand up for children's rights now - so many kids don't have a voice and are scared to speak.

'I'm not. I get kicked down for it all the time, but it doesn't stop me. Adults hold most of the power, but they aren't always right.'

The book will also go into detail about the relationship Sofia had with the three father figures in her life: her Russian biological dad, her mother's new husband, and the man she grew up believing to be her dad.

Farid with Sofia and Maria

Farid Soulimani with daughters: Maria (left) and Sofia (right). Picture: Sofia Soulimani

In a story of the modern world, it was at the age of 13 that Sofia learned about her Russian birth father, and until then she believed her mother's then boyfriend, Farid Soulimani, was her dad.

In desperation, during her torment in Siberia, Sofia tracked down Farid, who she had not seen in almost six years, through one of his friends, following the global publicity of her ordeal. 

And while he still lived in the US, he arranged for her to take a month-long trip to Morocco to the sanctuary of his relatives, including the woman Sofia called her grandmother.

When she arrived back in Russia, she found she had lost her job and she broke up with her boyfriend, fast-tracking her decision to return to north Africa permanently.

Now 18 years old, she has moved to in Casablanca and has decided to adopt the surname Soulimani. This brave young woman is now taking French classes in a bid to integrate into society.

'It's not a new family,' she said. 'I remember my grandma from when I was a little girl and she had come to visit. It was nice to see a familiar face. Everyone is just so loving here. It's nice to wake up every morning to hugs and kisses. Right now I am just focusing on my French classes and finally being able to relax.'

Sofia said she is in the process of getting her official documentation completed to allow her to stay in Morocco indefinitely. And she says her Soviet-born Mom - now a US citizen - is no more part of her life. 

'Everything was horrible,' she said. 'I didn't have my things, a place to stay, or a job. It was a disaster. I called my dad and he bought me another ticket to Morocco.

'My mum and him had gone through a very bad break up so my communications with him had been completely cut off. But his friend got in contact with me and brought the two of us together. He expressed how hurt he was that we hadn't talked in so long, but I knew that he loved me so much.

'He's the only one that I call dad. It was such a relief to finally have my best friend back in my life.' 

Sofia with granny

Sofia with her sister

Sofia with loving family in Morocco. Pictures: Sofia Soulimani

Sofia said she has not spoken to her mother 'for many months' and is not sure if she is even aware she has finally been able to leave her Siberian prison. She said: 'She is no longer a part of my life, I've moved on.'

The teenager said she has  dropped plans to take legal action against her biological father for allegedly beating her. She said: 'I've no idea how he is, I don't talk to him. Right now, I have no relationship with him, I have a dad already. I don't need two.'

She said from Casablanca: 'There are many things that I never shared, and many secrets that I kept. All of this is going to be included in my book.

'It goes into details about my relationship with my mom, biological father, and men that have been in my life. People know my story, but they know only a little part of it.

'Writing a book has always been a dream of mine. And if you have a good story to tell, you might as well use it.'

Comments (19)

Sadly, this 'father figure' Farid does not care enough for his own child to pay child support. He is 25 thousand in arrearage. Also, he still lives in this country on an expired visa. Soon he will be deported to be united with his daughter. Sad that a fàther figure cannot keep the law. There is much more to Farid Soulimani. Dig deeper! There is a story.
Beloch Ma'elech, Hershey, PA
14/10/2014 06:02
I have followed this story when it was first published. I find it very disheartening that parents would go through such a vindictive method to so called discipline a child. In fact it shows very psychopathic behaviour on the parent(s). At the very least, this shows the stepfather's behaviour is similar to a male lion who kills the cubs when he takes over the pride. The stepfather John's 09/10/2014 01:21 comment shows this very clearly. It appears that the child protection laws in Virginia, USA are clearly lacking enforcement or lack of existence. No loving parent would ever even contemplate such actions.

I am pleased that her "dad" Farid came through in the end. Sofia have faith and smile. Take care in the loving embrace of your "True" family. I hope you can connect with your sister in the future. I wish you happiness and peace.
Peace, Canada
12/10/2014 09:09
The girl tracked stepdad she didn't hear from or looked for in years and took his last name and calls the woman she never saw in life grandma because she hopes he will somehow bring her back in States so much for Putin propaganda, here is the girl who would do just anything to get back to America from new and improved Russia. And she had seen both extensively
Jennia, Va
10/10/2014 05:23
Please call Sophia's immigration attorney "stepfather" at his law office 703-865-8962 to get an expert opinion as to whether she will ever be allowed back to the USA.
John, USA
09/10/2014 01:21

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