Site helping adoptees find birth parents

Nearly 300 people have shared their stories or searched for their birth parents and siblings through a website.

‘‘I’m Adopted’’ founder Alex Gilbert, who grew up in Whangarei after being adopted from Arkhangelsk in Russia, has also begun sharing videos of adoptees telling their stories through an online social media page.

‘‘We’re hopefully going to video more people and we want to have more meet-ups,’’ he said.

The website offered a resource guide to assist people in finding birth families, as well as a forum for people to share stories, advice and information, he said.

It is open to people from any country, although it has been particularly popular with those who were adopted from Russia.

Mr Gilbert started the project two years ago after being reunited with his birth parents.

The social media page has more than 21,000 likes and at least eight Russian media organisations have shared the story of I’m Adopted.

Three people have so far had their video stories uploaded — Mr Gilbert, Romanian adoptee Alex Kuch and Russian adoptee Aleisha Snell.

‘‘I know there are a lot of people out there who go through a similar process,’’ Ms Snell said.

‘‘I was wanting to provide hope for others, to show them that it can happen.’’

Ms Snell, who works in hospitality, found members of her birth family after meeting a Russian woman at her workplace by chance.

‘‘We got chatting and two weeks later she managed to find my family.’’

Ms Snell was then reunited with her aunt and sister in Russia through a television programme.

‘‘It was very overwhelming, it was very surreal . . .

‘‘It didn’t hit me until after I landed in Russia that they may not be the people I thought they were.’’

The meeting went well, though, and she began talking to her sister and aunt every day.

She planned to return to Russia in just a few weeks to visit her relatives, she said.

Mr Gilbert said he had remained in touch with his birth parents after their meetings, particularly his birth father.

He had visited them in Russia twice, in 2013 and 2015, and both birth parents had met his adoptive parents.

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