On a journey to connect Russian adoptees with their homeland family

Today, I am learning about what is involved for a Russian adoptee to connect with his/her birth family.

The journey started simple. The fiancée of a guy who was adopted from southern Russia in the 1980s asked for my help to find his birth parents. Luckily, the guy has an official birth certificate with the parents’ full names.

So I went onto Odnoklassniki, a Russian version of Facebook, and e-mailed a few people with the same surname who are living in the guy’s birthplace. I am grateful that the surname is not too common in the city of more than 1 million people.

Within four days, I got a response from a very excited man who called himself the guy’s uncle. Russians who are older cousins call themselves uncles/aunts to their younger cousins.

The Russian cousin knew the name of the American adoptee’s sister without me mentioning the sibling who was also adopted in the USA. For me, this is a good sign that he really is related to the American-raised brother and sister.

The amount of enthusiasm coming from the cousin and his wife makes me hopeful that this could be a successful reunion. There are a lot of questions to ask and more relatives to find.

It was quite a task to instant message two women on Facebook  in English and the cousin on Odnoklassniki in Russian at the same time. I was using Google Translate to write to the Russian cousin, then I had to translate his messages, pass on the information to the two women on Facebook and then I passed on their questions after using Google Translate to the Russian cousin. It was an intense two hours.

This journey with this family will teach me a lot about what it takes for Russian adoptees to find their families and how helpful local and regional government will be in providing information to their former Russian citizens.

I am so excited to see to where this journey will lead me and the American-raised brother and sister.

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