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Revisiting Your Birth Country as an Adoptee

For a lot of adoptees who were adopted from overseas, we know that making the decision about revisiting your birth country always takes its own time. I wanted to share my advice from what I have learnt about revisiting my own birth country, Russia as an adoptee. As I was adopted from Russia, I wanted to make sure this covers all those adopted from any country.

I know that like many adoptees who are ready to begin a journey, are just not sure where to begin. It should always start with what feels right for you. I always say to never let anyone push you to re-connect with your birth country if you are adopted, if you don’t want to. You might have friends who are adopted from overseas and they might mention about their own story to you as a fellow adoptee. This is always good to have this support of course, but always take your own time if you decide that you wanted to do the same. I have always wanted to do everything in my own time, but the thing that kept me going always, was the support from my family and friends. If I didn’t have the support there, it would make things a lot more difficult. I can’t say if I would have still continued my path with connecting with my own Russian roots, if I didn’t have the support. That comes down to yourself.

If you are wanting to connect with your birth country, I always suggest that you learn as much as you can about that country first before visiting. It is always nice to have a sense of what that country might be like. The language, the culture and the people. I am speaking in particular for those adoptees who just want to revisit, of course if you are planning on a reunion with your own birth family, this is a big decision and you should always take your own time with that. For myself, I had learnt a fair amount about Russia before I decided to do a search for my birth family. And I knew that I needed to do this. Russia is not New Zealand. It is a completely different country. I needed to understand this.

What if your birth family are not willing to connect with you, but you still want to connect with the country you were born in?

This is a question that I do get asked often. I always say, do continue to learn about the culture. It is your blood. Birth family connections is a separate path but also it is part of the same journey. Not every journey is going to be the same. Some birth families might just want a little more time or they might want to take small steps first. Do think about being in their shoes too when you might want to connect with them. It is a big thing for everyone involved.

The language is another thing to think about. When connecting with another country of your birth that speaks a different language, it is always good to learn a little bit of that language. I am talking about small words first (these are small steps), like Hello, Thank you and Goodbye. I have been able to learn a lot more Russian, read the language and have a basic conversation now, but I still have a long way to go. In the beginning I just wanted to visit Russia and to meet my birth family, but knowing what I know now, I would have defiantly tried to learn a lot more Russian in the beginning.

Saint Petersburg – Russia (March 2021)

To be fair growing up without any knowledge of your birth country can be difficult to understand. If you were adopted into a small town or a place where there is nothing of that blood connection of yourself, it can be difficult. Many adoptees struggle with that identity. Trying to put the pieces together of who they really are. Be proud of the country you were raised in and be proud of your blood. It makes you who you are.

It is good to take your own time and steps with that connection.

– Alex

Follow my journey now that I am currently doing in Russia on my YouTube channel here.

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Russian - New Zealand Adoptee & Founder of I'm Adopted

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