Hi, my name is Leela. I was adopted from Volsk, in the Saratov region of Russia, when I was about two years old. I was two months premature when I was born, and when I was strong enough to thrive, I was placed in a poor government orphanage. My birth mother had a drinking problem and was very poor.
While I was at the orphanage, I did not go outside for two years because there was not enough staff to watch the children and not enough clothes or shoes for us to wear. I was undernourished and under-stimulated from sitting in a crib all day which I shared with 3 other babies. Even though the women did all they could to keep us alive, there were 60 of us and only two of them, so we were under-stimulated and neglected. When I was adopted, I was underweight and very small, weighing about 19 to 20 pounds. Growing up, I had lots of learning challenges, but my parents sent me to small, nurturing schools where I could receive the help and support that I needed. They were teachers at a boarding school and we have lived there my whole life. It is a loving and caring environment that helped me learn and grow.
Now I am finishing my academic classes at a local community college to get a certification in early childhood education. I also work in the dining services at the boarding school where I live. I had always wanted to know if I had an extended family in Russia, so last year, I hired a private investigator. I found out I have two sisters named Dara and Olga who are older than me and live in Moscow and Saratov. I contacted them and keep in touch with them through Russian Social Media. I also have an Auntie Lousia who lives in Grozny Chechnya, where my birth father is from. Sadly, my birth mother is no longer alive. I have been trying to go back to Russia for a while now to meet my sisters, but COVID has gotten in the way. Hopefully, one day soon, I will be able to meet them. I’m hoping to connect with other adoptees through through here at I’m Adopted. Thank you! – Leela (Russian – American Adoptee)