A Russian mother has reportedly refused to raise her disabled daughter until the girl receives free plastic surgery to make her more attractive.
Social workers in Russia's Rostov Oblast region are searching for a cosmetic surgeon willing to operate on the 16-year-old girl, the Daily Mail reports.
The mother, identified only as Nadezhda, abandoned her newborn baby, Katya, in the hospital when she learned that the girl was mentally and physically disabled. At the time, doctors said the baby girl might not live more than a few days.
Medical staff handed Katya over to social workers. When she survived, they sent her to an orphanage.
Nadezhda said that she assumed Katya had died and that she only found out the girl was alive when she received a letter from the orphanage.
Sixteen years later, Katya is still in the orphanage's care, but she will have to move to an asylum when she turns 18, unless her mother agrees to care for her.
"I live in a small village, and I have to think about what the neighbors will say," the 41-year-old mother said, according to the Daily Mail. "I am a single mother who raised other children on my own, and I can’t afford plastic surgery."
Nadezhda reportedly had three sons to care for at the time she abandoned Katya.
Nadezhda visited her teenage daughter and said that she was shocked at how ugly Katya was. Still, she would prefer to care for the girl rather than send her to an asylum.
"If they manage to make her look better, I will be happy to take her to live with me," Nadezhda said. "But I couldn’t bear to have her here and hear people talking about her 'ugly face.'"
Social workers said that Katya is a happy and loving girl who has had a misshapen nose and ear since birth, and she also has a mental disability that hinders her speech.
Kristina Isaeva, from the charity Me Without A Mother, is helping social workers try to find a plastic surgeon willing to provide their services for the girl for free or at a reduced price.
"We have contacted a lot of plastic surgeons but none are prepared to take the case for free," Isaeva said.
This is not the first time that parents have sought plastic surgery for their children's looks. Earlier in October, a 6-year-old Utah boy received cosmetic ear pinning surgery through the Mobley Foundation for Charitable Surgery after he was bullied for having protruding ears, ABC reports.