This is the story of Baby Luska and her struggle to stay out of Russia's closed psycho-neurological wards ,where she will almost certainly die.
Luska is two years old, abandoned. Smiling, full of eye contact and physically communicative, Luska cannot speak ; she is underweight suffering from a cleft-palate. Even though this is a treatable physical disorder, Russian authorities are describing her as "Oligophrenic- small brained".
They want to place her in a closed institution. There is just one hope for this child- Marina Levina. She runs Parents Bridge which is a group of several hundred impoverished Petersburg families . They adopt abandoned and somewhat handicapped children like Luska who are destined for the closed wards.
WE HAVE COMPLETED AN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATIVE DOCUMENTARY WITHIN THE PSYCHO-NEUROLOGICAL WARDS IN RUSSIAN HOSPITALS AND HAVE SUCCEEDED IN COMING BACK WITH SHOCKING MATERIAL RARELY IF EVER SEEN IN WESTERN TV NETWORKS.
ONE OUT OF EVERY SIX RUSSIAN CHILDREN ABANDONED BY PARENTS - IS LABELLED "OLIGOPHRENIC" - "SMALL BRAINED".
THAT TRANSLATES TO 30,000 OUT OF ALMOST 200,000 CHILDREN LIVING IN ORPHANAGES. THAT LABEL CONDEMNS A CHILD TO A LIFE IN THE PSYCHO-NEUROLOGICAL WARD. ONE OF EVERY THREE CHILDREN PLACED IN THIS WARD DIE IN THEIR FIRST YEAR. THE REST DETERIORATE INTO "ZOMBIE"-LIKE HUMANS. WHILE FED AND CLOTHED, THEY ARE EMOTIONALLY NEGLECTED, AND REMAIN UNDER-DEVELOPED.
IN A 214 PAGE EXTENSIVE REPORT, THE RESPECTED INTERNATIONAL MONITOR ORGANIZATION- "HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH- DESCRIBED THE WARDS AS "DENS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE."
THE REPORT SAID ALL TOO OFTEN MODERATELY DISABLED CHILDREN ARE BEING CONVENIENTLY LABELED AS "SMALL BRAINED", AND DISCARDED AS HUMAN GARBAGE.
OUR COVERAGE HAS PROVEN THIS ALLEGATION TO BE TRUE. LEVINA AND THE 230 OTHER FAMILIES OF PARENTS BRIDGE HAVE ADOPTED CHILDREN DECLARED OLIGOPHRENIC JUST BEFORE THEY WERE TO ENTER THE CLOSED PSYCHO-NEUROLOGICAL WARD. WE DOCUMENT HOW MOST OF THESE CHILDREN HAVE GROWN INTO FUNCTIONING TEENAGERS.
LEVINA CALLS THEM "ANGELS WITH BROKEN WINGS".
IN OUR STORY LEVINA TAKES US ON HER INTENSE SEARCH AND EFFORT TO SAVE "BABY LUSKA" FROM A LIFE OR DEATH ON THE PSYCHO-NEUROLOGICAL WARD.
IN A VERY HONEST AND TOUCHING TELE-VISUAL SCENE WE DOCUMENT
A PARENTS BRIDGE COUPLE AT THE CRITICAL MOMENT. THEY MUST
DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO TAKE LUSKA. THEY REALIZE THEIR
DECISION COULD MEAN THE LIFE OR DEATH OF THIS CHILD.