What Happened To Maria's Baby & Yadriel On 'Orange Is The New Black'? They're Not A Big, Happy Family

Netflix's Orange is the New Black Season 4 dropped late last night and, like you, I'm making my way through the new episodes featuring the beloved and compelling inmates of Litchfield. What has always been awesome about the dramedy series is that even minor characters can suddenly step into the spotlight in any given episode or season — and now it's that time for inmate Maria Ruiz to shine on Orange is the New Black. But, since she hasn't been the center of attention in awhile, you may be wondering what's going on with her, and most importantly where Maria Ruiz stands with Yadriel and their baby Pepa.

Just like in Season 4, Maria in the first season of the series was a tough realist who worked in the Litchfield kitchen with the Latina women. Before Daya became perpetually pregnant, Maria began the series as pregnant with boyfriend Yadriel's and her child, and as Daya's bunkmate (foreshadowing, perhaps?). Maria gives birth at a hospital, where her baby is taken away from her right away and she is sent right back to prison, where she becomes depressed and sleeps a lot. It's understandably a hard time for her. Maria and Yadriel's baby daughter Pepa is placed the full-time care of Yadriel.

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Throughout Season 2, Yadriel makes some visits with Pepa and, while Maria is delighted to see her daughter, he's a bit uncomfortable with this fatherhood thing. He doesn't say much — including to Pepa. Maria begs him to speak more, so she can start developing her language skills and a daddy-daughter bond. There's even a potential for Maria to transfer to a prison in Virginia with Piper Chapman and Maria confides in Piper that she believes Yadriel won't be able to stay faithful to her while she's in jail finishing out the six years left on her sentence. The transfer falls through and, by the end of Season 2, things are looking up for Maria, Yadriel, and Pepa — he talks and bonds with the little girl, and he declares that he will stay true to Maria.

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But the tide turns in Season 3. In the touching Mother's Day episode last year, Maria makes sure to get a haircut from Sophia in order to make her hair look exactly the same as the last time she saw her daughter. "Object permanence," Maria calls it. Yadriel lets Maria spend the day with Pepa at Litchfield and Maria loves it — well, until Yadriel drops some news on her. When he picks up Pepa, Yadriel tells Maria that the visits stop here. "She's getting bigger and starting to understand things," he says. "I've been reading. I don't want her to see her mother in prison, thinking this is normal. It's best we cut this off right now."

The joy literally drains from Maria's face, leaving an expression of fear and horror as he carries Pepa away as she screams his name and cries. "I don't have a choice in this?" she yells after them as they leave Litchfield. And sadly, he doesn't give her one.

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Hopefully they can come to some kind of resolution, because it'd be really hard on Maria to not see her daughter until after she gets out. Especially since [spoilers for Season 4 Episode 6] Maria had that extra time added to her sentence.

Images: Netflix; Giphy (2)