Elena, born in Russia, adopted to the United States
INTRO: Fellow adoptee Elena shares her story with us. Her message is one that is important yet so difficult to get to as many of us struggle to make sense of ourselves and our lives.
My name is Elena. I’m a Russian adoptee and was adopted when I was around 18 months old. I’ve always been fascinated with the Russian culture and learning about how things work on the other side of the world. Adoption was always spoken about very positively growing up. As I got older, I realized that adoption is confusing and has both positive and negative aspects.
A bad thing I have felt is being overwhelmed and sad about all of the unanswered things in my life. But I’m so grateful of the things I do know: that we have value and are loved. I’m sad about the confusion adoption brings because adoption isn’t peaceful. My faith tells me peace is something that doesn’t always require understanding – but instead it’s something that’s accepted.
These positives and negatives often compete – but I’ve learned to accept both the positive and negative. Because they are competing for my attention, and instead the positive and negative each deserve a spot in my adoptee story. So I’ve learned to balance this mix of good and bad by being thankful for the good and realizing that the bad is not the end of my story. The bad just propels me to find more good. It’s okay that I’m 100% Russian, and it’s also okay that I am 100% culturally American too. It’s not a competition. It’s just me.
My adoptee identity is a lot of things – and it’s okay to have constant duality. I’m happy about my adoption, but I’m negative about having to be adopted in the first place. To my fellow adoptees – keep all parts of your story close. It’s not a competition, it’s a puzzle. I pray each of us finds healing in our own adoption stories.