Story By: Anastasia Smirnova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A tubby Russian woman who dumped her husband and is now marrying her stepson after losing weight and becoming a successful blogger has been told she is to lose custody of her adopted children.
Marina Balmasheva, 35, has notched up over 400,000 dedicated followers on Instagram for turning her life around and losing weight at the same time as looking after her five adopted children and two stepchildren.
But she believes authorities are victimising her because they do not approve of her new life with the young man who was her stepson, Vladimir, now aged 20.
She met her ex-husband Aleksy, 45, after he had already had two children, Vladimir and his brother Viktor.
They became a family, and later she and Aleksy expanded the family by adopting twin girls seven years ago, then they adopted two boys and finally a girl with Down syndrome, leaving them with seven children including Vladimir and Victor.
She always wanted children of her own as well though, and local media report that the relationship eventually broke up because they appeared not to be able to have children together.
In a bid to rebuild her life, the woman who hails from the western Russian region of Krasnodar Krai, started trying to lose weight as she weighed 132 kilogrammes at the time, and she started posting on social media about her battle with the bulge.
She eventually lost 58 kilogrammes, and suddenly discovered to her amazement the relationship developing between her and Vladimir, the young man that she helped bring up with her ex-husband.
He is now aged 20, and when they realised that they shared mutual attraction they went public.
She said: “You never know how life will turn out and when you will meet a person who makes you smile. I know that some will judge us, others will support us, but we are happy and wish you to be as well.”
Marina initially said she was very happy with her new lover and the couple were helping to raise three of his five siblings, according to reports.
She even revealed that she plans to have more children with Vladimir and that they are currently planning their wedding.
But local child services have now taken away five of her adoptive children and moved them to her ex’s residence after the news about her new relationship was revealed.
Marina stresses that she did not do anything unlawful, adding: “We had some sort of agreement with the child services. I was supposed to have a deal with them and they would not make trouble for me or Aleksey (her ex-husband). They would not oppose us seeing each other, would not prohibit me taking the children. But I got played.”
Marina said that even though she can still see the children every now and then, she is not allowed to take them for days at a time or take photos or videos of them.
She added: “I was called into a room and was told that the custody services will take the children away either way.”
Even though Marina admits that she was always on thin ice over her rights to look after the five children, she stresses that she did not deserve such punishment.
It is unclear whether Marina will try to appeal the decision in court.
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