Their parents had abandoned them, but the three small children clung together, a family without grown-ups. Roman took care of his younger brother and sister, begging for food and stealing potatoes from a field in Rudnoye, their Russian village.
Sometimes, he scavenged for pieces of tin he could sell for rubles, so he and Sergey and Anastasia could eat. A neighbor who owned a store often gave them milk. There was never enough heat in their dilapidated apartment.
The children went to school sporadically when Anastasia, the baby, was old enough. Then Roman got sick. One day in 2005, strangers arrived and took him and his siblings to a hospital.
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