In the 1990's over 600 children were adopted from Russia by New Zealanders. One of these children was Alex Gilbert, author and founder of the not-for-profit organisation "I'm Adopted". As part of Rotorua Library's Family History Month programme Alex Gilbert will share his story of being adopted at 2 years of age from a Russian orphanage, brought up in small-town New Zealand and the subsequent search for his biological parents.
Mr Gilbert will talk at Rotorua Library, Te Aka Mauri at 2pm on Saturday 10 August.
Sasha Alexander "Alex" Gilbert, whose original name was Gusovskoi Alexander Viktorovich was born in Arkhangelsk in Russia and placed in a local orphanage. In 1994 when he was 2 years old he was adopted by his New Zealand parents. When he was 19, he began searching on social media for his biological parents and eventually met his mother and later his father, the latter having never known of his son's existence.
"The most moving experience for me definitely happened the day I met my birth mother and then my birth father. That day completely changed my life. Knowing who they are and making that connection. The support from my parents this entire time has been a big thing for me. Something I am always thankful for."
Gilbert's story has been documented by both Russian and New Zealand TV networks and he has written two books, "I'm Adopted" and "My Russian side". He founded the organisation "I'm Adopted" in 2015 which has helped many other adoptees find their biological families as well as connecting people for support and advice. His motivation to help others comes from knowing the happiness he experienced as an adoptee and wanting the same for other people. Certainly there have been cases where the outcome is not so positive. For example, the birth parents may now not be alive or do not want to make contact with the adopted child. Alex stresses that being prepared for these outcomes is important as is patience.
Koha or donations to Alex's organisation "I'm Adopted" would be gratefully received at this event.
See other Family History Month events HERE