It was two-and-a-half years ago when Natalia Roberts sent her daughter, Sofia Petrova, to live with her father in Siberia. Sofia, 17, is desperate to come back to the United States, but her mother refuses to have her.
Once Sofia turns 18, it will become much more difficult for her to return to the US because she is a Russian citizen, even though she spent her most of her life in the States.
Roberts, 36, sent her daughter away because she had behavioral issues. Sofia had run away, earned failing grades and stolen $1,000.
Roberts said she would have taken her back if she had complied with some specific requests. “She had to meet two conditions to come back; finish school and show she's changed,” Roberts said in an interview with People Magazine. “She didn't.”
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Sofia says that her father is abusive, and posted footage of him shoving one of her friends. She had not even met him until her mother shipped her away, and only learned that she had a Russian father at the age of 13. Sofia is now living in a youth hostel, where she also holds a job.
Sofia’s mother tricked her into going to Siberia in the first place, telling her she was headed for a 3-week trip to visit her dad.
Sofia’s stepfather, James, defends the decision, saying that she was out of control. In an e-mail to channel WUSA9, he wrote, “The behaviour was becoming worse and we saw no solution. Worse, it was affecting the other children in the house, especially the outbursts that would last until 2am.”
Said Sofia in an interview, “I was 14 years old. I made many mistakes, but when I did an interview for the news, I tried all my best not to make my parents look bad. I left many things out and I did not say a single bad thing about them. And when I saw this news programme, it was...I was shocked. My parents basically said everything bad that they could about me.”
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Sofia has written a letter to her mother stating that she loves and misses her, and pleading for her to take her back home.