I was born in a local hospital in Smolensk.
My mother was married to a man named Oleg Novikov at the time and, according to Russian law, he’s “technically” my father.
But Oleg isn’t my father since he wasn’t with my mother when she became pregnant.
My “father” left the country as soon as he found out that he had a son, and I ended up in an orphanage named “Krasny Bor” because my parents couldn’t afford to support me.
I was adopted at three years old. The only thing I remember about my life before my adoption was the plane ride from Russia to the US.
I tried to reconnect with my birth parents when I was 18 years old. A man from Russia helped me search for them.
He told me, “If I were you, I’d go into this expecting nothing.”
At best, he told me there would be a 50% chance that he could find my birth parents.
Then, I got lucky: He found them within three days.
Since then, I’ve been to Russia a couple times to see my family (my mother, grandmother, and cousins). It’s been a very positive experience.
Regarding my adoptive family, I guess I lucked out there, too: My adoptive mother and I are very close. Just a little while ago, when I was home, my mother told me that if I ever needed help, she would be there for me.
My dad has always been very friendly and happy. I’ve never been as close with him as I am with my mom, but we still get along.
I think adoption has a bad stigma in America. People find out that you’re adopted, and they assume you’re challenged – or maybe uneducated. I totally believe in adoption. I always have. Giving a child a second chance is important and necessary. I just think that society doesn’t know how to respond appropriately to adoption.
Now, I’m finishing college and moving on with my life. I’m very involved in adoption and I want to see Russia lift the ban on adoptions to the US.