This story begins in 1990, in Leningrad, Russia. In 1995 I was adopted into the USA. As a child my dreams were filled with dreams of returning to Russia. I wanted to help the orphans; well because I was taught that orphans are those children left in an institution. In 2011, I returned to Saint Petersburg and began painfully searching for my identity and facing my fears of the past.
The realization that despite being adopted into a loving family I still suffered from feeling like an orphan. I did not know who I was. In 2012 after finishing University and winning a Fulbright Scholarship, I returned to Russia this time to a town where I found my faith and hope in God. I thought I had found my identity and wouldn’t struggle with feeling like an orphan anymore. Alas In 2013, I met the love of my life in a small “sacred” village in Russia. Dating for two years brought back the pain of feeling abandoned and unloved. Despite my fears of being rejected as a child and facing a possible repeat of this trauma in 2015 I returned to Russia and began my life as a woman who discovered she was loved and cherished.
This brought reconcilement with my past though it was a painful endeavor. In 2016, I reunited with my biological Russian family members. The memories and stories shared with me brought many questions of identity to mind and even more answers. I realized that I was not the cause of the pain but the result of the trauma that my biological parents faced in their lives. I forgave my parents and let my childhood trauma go. In 2017 I married the Russian man who helped me walk the road of pain, joy and miracles which led me back to my origins. Together we began a humble life back in my city of birth. Each day I had to choose to accept my past and embrace my future and reject the pain that threatened to swallow me. Every day I saw my reflection and had to smile because I was alive and I had a reason to be here. I was in Russia helping others. My life was filled with meaning. I knew how to speak to the pain that other adoptees experienced. Their struggles were and are my struggles.
In 2019, the loss of two members of my adoptive family wounded me deeply to the point of not knowing whether to continue on my path of discovery. Alas 2020, the birth of my daughter and her new little smile brought life back into my view and I remain to this day in spite of the pain of loss in my life; filled with the hope of a bright future for my “chosen” family in Russia. 30+ years of being broken and battered led me back to my roots where I can see the cause of all my pain and choose to live despite the depths of trauma. Today, looking into the face of my own reflection I am reminded that love exists and it is love that renews the soul. – Sasha