New Zealand man returns to Russian orphanage 23 years after being adopted
An adoptee who was brought to New Zealand when he was just two years old shares the heartwarming story of his first visit back to his orphanage in Russia after 23 years.
Alex Gilbert, who was born in Arkhangelsk (Archangel), Russia in 1992, but was adopted by a family from Whangarei in 1994 and grew up in New Zealand.
Gilbert, now 26, visited the orphanage in which he spent his early years in 2017.
Although Gilbert says he has no memories of the orphanage, he adds that he always had a curiosity about his origins and a desire to discover his roots.
"It was something I never thought I would see," he says in the video.
Along with his birth father Misha, with whom he reestablished contact in 2014 along with his birth mother, Gilbert took a look around the orphanage and met some of the nurses that cared for him – with some even remembering him as a child.
Gilbert works as an activist for the rights of adoptees and runs a project called "I'm Adopted", which aims to connect adoptees from around the world and tell their stories.
He now wants the adoption system for his former orphanage to be better.
"I wish that these children that need to be adopted are adopted as soon as they can," he says.