One thing that I have always found a little different is the relationship with my birth mother Tatiana. I remember getting in contact with her for the first time at the start of 2013. I knew that something was not quite right with our communication from the beginning. Nevertheless, to this day I have always been determined to keep in contact with her. People have asked me a few times on my birth mother Tatiana. What was her life like? ‘Why does she seem so cold towards you?’ and how do you look at her? As your birth mother or mother?
Something I have always said and always will is that Tatiana is my birth mother. That is it. She is the women who brought me into this world. I respect her for the decision she made when I was born. I don’t judge her at all for it and I never want her to feel bad about the entire situation. I was lucky to have been raised by my Mum and Dad in New Zealand. That is all I know. I don’t know how different it would be it I stayed with her when I was born, and there is no right answer when people often ask me ‘What do you think it would have been like?’. I wouldn’t know any different.
My birth mother Tatiana, she was raised in an orphanage herself in Arkhangelsk. She doesn’t know her family well at all and has no contact with any of her Mum and Dad. After the TV show aired in Russia in 2015 though, a distant family relative of hers reached out to me and claimed that he was a brother of Tatiana. I had got in contact with this person who knew the facts right. Tatiana had no contact with her mother but little contact with her father. It was difficult for her.
She met my birth father Mihail (Misha) Kovkov around when she was 20 years old. Mihail was a chef who had met Tatiana through a mutual friend. They were dating for a considerable amount of time. Mihail always told me that he remembers her as this young and beautiful Russian girl who had a funny personality and everyone seemed to like her.
Time did go by fast around the time I was born. Tatiana was still with my birth father but mysteriously left town. This is what I had been told. She knew that she was unable to look after me so I was placed into a Children’s Hospital for a few months before eventually going to my Orphanage in Arkhangelsk. Tatiana named me ‘Gusovskoi Alexander Viktorovich’ and this really meant that my birth fathers name should have been Viktor. However this was not the case. Tatiana had kept my birth quiet from my birth father. Nothing that we can do now about that. The past is the past. I have no say or anger on any decisions she made. Letting go of any child is hard for any mother.
After all of these years she received a knock on her door from her friend Eleonora. She was the woman who I got in contact with who knew my birth mother. Tatiana was no longer living in Arkhangelsk and had actually moved to a different town called Rybinsk. I knew nothing about Rybinsk at the time of me reaching out to her.
Tatiana knew something was strange. She didn’t know what to think when I told her that I was looking for her. She was scared and shocked at the same time. I told her all the time over and over again that everything is alright. I just want to make contact. I want to know who she is or what she does. I didn’t know what she looked like. It was something I was determined to know. I was given a few photos of her which would have been my first time seeing what she looked like. It felt like closure knowing this. I was happy to finally see a photo of my birth mother. I had shown both my Mum and Dad and they couldn’t believe it.
Now this part was when it started to become a reality of her life and what she was really like. Something I never have judged her for or have been angry at her about. She drinks a lot. A harsh reality of many people in Russia who have had a hard life. Maybe she has been trying to hide the pain? Or she could be constantly regretting about giving me up and can’t get over that fact. The times I had met her. I have always said ‘Tatiana, everything is okay. Can we please keep in contact’. That was something that has always been difficult. Keeping in contact.
At the end of 2013 I met her for the first time. She didn’t show many emotions and in fact kept quiet. She was with her husband at the time, Andrew. You might have seen the video before or not, but I was happy to have met her. That’s all I wanted to do and I was happy I got to make that happen. Sadly she lost her ex-husband recently due to complications of a stroke. Tatiana had recently been with another man Yuri. She had been having complications with her ex-husband and Yuri over the last few years.
Of course over the years I wanted to keep in contact with Tatiana. It had not been easy. She was no longer living at the apartment that I met her at in 2013. She had been going to different places and her drinking seemed to had been getting worse. As her only son, I worry about this a lot but I know that there is not much I can do.
I met Tatiana again in 2015. This time on the TV show and she got the chance to meet my birth father again after all these years. Both of their lives have changed since they were together in the late 1980s. My birth father was now married and had a daughter (Sofia) and my birth mother was also with another person.
To my surprise, Tatiana called me this year for my birthday. It was something I never expected to happen. Tatiana told me Happy Birthday Sasha, Happy Birthday from Russia. I could understand a little bit myself but it was difficult to hear the entire conversation. I told her that I was coming to Russia soon and that I would be seeing her. She was emotional and she told her friend Eleonora that she is waiting for this day.
As you know I had recently been in Russia and yes I got to revisit my birth mother. She was still in Rybinsk but when I saw her she was not in her place in the town. I had taken an overnight train to Rybinsk with my birth father and close friend of mine Anastasia. We got to her house that she lived in with Yuri. But she was no where to be seen. Tatiana knew that I was coming this day but sadly she was out the night before and her neighbours were unaware on where she was. So we did some searching.
We then drove to the village that she stays at and that was where she was. It was about a 40 minute drive from her place here in the town of Rybinsk. I was nervous again and to be honest, I didn’t feel too safe. But I wanted to see her, even if it meant for all of us to drive around the town to find her. Her friend Eleonora who I have always kept in contact with, was there to drive us around. She was very helpful and I was thankful to have her there to help.
We got to her village and we found her. I opened up the car door like it was 2013 again. I said ‘Tatiana, it’s me’ in Russian. Eta Ya. She smiled and ran up to me. She instantly took my hand and started to talk and walk. Everyone was following along in the back.
Tatiana told me about her life. How it is hard. How she is struggling to get by day to day and how much she wanted to see me. I was getting chocked up at the end of our visit when she told me that she had no money and that she was sorry that she didn’t write to me more. She repeated this often when I was with her. I told that if we keep in contact we can grow our relationship. It is something I want to do. I don’t blame her for any of her habits or her way of life. I just want her to be happy. She seemed happy with her new partner Yuri but I really felt sorry for them both. It was a way of life that I didn’t really want to be around. Yuri had built a hut by hand around the back of this damaged house that they owned.
We sat inside but for a very short time. I wanted to go for a walk. I didn’t feel to safe there inside the hut. Everyone agreed to go for a walk so that is what we did. There is of course more to this story of my birth mother Tatiana, but I am always telling her that we should keep in touch more often. She said sorry that she never writes to me as much as I would like her to, but I was happy to have seen her again. I had kept in touch with my Mum and Dad while I was here. I sent Tatiana their regards and hello from New Zealand. Something she was happy to hear. It was also my first time talking to her a little bit in Russian myself. We are always thinking of you Tatiana. Always.
Thank you Mihail, Eleonora and Anastasia for making this trip for me to see my birth mother again possible. Thank you