There’s something about successful search and reunion stories that makes us want to stand up and cheer! Such is the case for Alex Gilbert. Alex’s parents adopted him from Russia. His home is a home of love and support, a home of open communication, and a home of trust. Alex thought of searching for his birth family while he was in high school, but the time just wasn’t quite right. When he did find them, he realized that there are many adoptees who need support, advice, and sometimes help to navigate their own stories. So Alex started I’m Adopted (ImAdopted.org) – a non-profit organization which is really a forum for sharing and supporting. We talked with Alex about his experience:
Have you always known you’re adopted? I have always known I was adopted. Growing up, my Mum and Dad have always been open and honest about my adoption. They, however, only knew as much as I did about my birth parents. Only their names on paper.
When did you first decide it was important for you to search out your biological roots? I have always been curious to know who my birth parents are. I have always asked my parents if they know anything on my adoption. I started my search for my birth parents when I was 20. I think that this is a good time for anyone to do a search for their birth parents. Not too early and not too late. I had thought about searching for them throughout high school but I am happy that I didn’t. I felt like I was still a bit too young to search for them through high school, as I didn’t know what to expect.
Was your family supportive of your search and reunion? My Mum and Dad have always wanted me and my brother (Who was also adopted from Russia – different birth parents) to find and meet my birth parents. When I told them I finally managed to find them they didn’t know what to say. They were very pleased about it all! Was incredible to have that support from my Mum and Dad like that!
Did your own search compel you to help others? After I got back to Russia, I thought to myself that this whole entire experience of meeting my birth parents can be hard. It can be tricky for all adoptees in the world and every story is different and unique. I wanted to find a way on how I can help other adoptees around the world share their stories in order to help them find their relatives. Like a forum just for adoptees. This was when I decided to create I’m Adopted. It has been a great platform for adoptees! They are open to sharing their stories on the page as there are other adoptees in the group. Others help others which make it incredible.
Please tell us about I’mAdopted.org. When adoptees share stories, we have many people who do searches for people. We had a girl who had a family in Russia and she was hoping to locate them. She shared her story on the I’m Adopted page through a post we shared. We have many Russians helping adoptees who then managed to find her entire family for her. This was incredible. It is an open platform for all adoptees. We have also since released our first non-English version of the project to help grow international adoptees.
Alex encourages adoptees to visit the I’m Adopted Facebook page and share their own stories as they are enriched by reading the stories of others.