In 2000, viewers across the country were shocked to learn the story of a Russian adoptee named Caralee, who allegedly tried to throw her younger brother off a 30-story deck and was later left in a Russian children’s psychiatric institute. Two decades later, she has reconnected with the CBS journalist who first shared her shocking story, and has miraculously carved out a normal life for herself in the United States, with a husband and four children.
"I have an amazing husband. I can’t thank God enough for him," the now 33-year-old, who goes by Sabrina and lives in North Carolina, told reporter Troy Roberts, in a special that will air on Saturday. "I have amazing kids. But if I didn’t go through what I went through I wouldn’t have that."
The original report, also by Mr Roberts aired in a special in 2000, described how an American couple, Crystal and Jesse, adopted a young Russian girl and boy in 1997.
"When we finally learned that we were going to be able to go over to Russia and pick up a little boy and girl of our own, it was just a tremendous event," Jesse, whose last name has been withheld by the network for privacy, said at the time.
Once they returned to the United States, naming the boy and girl Caralee and Joshua, respectively, things took a turn.
"There was a coldness in her and an anger," Crystal said of Caralee.
The girl began hallucinating and hearing voices, according to her parents. They criticised the adoption agency they used to find the children for allegedly concealing these mental health challenges, which the agency denied at the time. One day, the couple said they even caught Caralee trying to throw her brother off a tall deck, which she denies.
"I did not try to kill my brother," she says in the forthcoming report, claiming the incident was a misunderstanding, and that she had been trying to help her brother down a set of stairs after being asked to do so.
The harrowing story forged a connection between Sabrina and Mr Roberts, the reporter who shared it with the country. After the original reporting was done, the CBS correspondent left the girl with his business card and some rubles to hide in her sock, and she reached out to him twenty years later.
The experience also inspired Mr Roberts to adopt a child of his own, welcoming a boy from Djibouti to his family in 2003.
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