A former Romanian orphan adopted by an Auckland family is campaigning for his home country to once again allow international adoptions.
Alex Kuch is about to travel back to Romania to try to persuade its government to give other orphans the same opportunity he had.
Alex was rescued from a Romanian orphanage at the age of two and life for the Auckland man could have been very different.
"If they picked someone else I'd still be stuck there," he says.
Alex was in a bad way when mum Heidi Kuch found him. He would rock back and forth and she was told he was mentally disabled.
Around 10 years after their adoption, the country suddenly closed its gates to international adoption amid child welfare concerns. Currently there are around 70,000 Romanian children living in orphanages.
Alex is now at university studying human rights and says he has a responsibility to give something back and he "tries not to take things for granted".
The 20-year-old has been invited back to Romania and he will be speaking to parliamentarians on the importance of enabling overseas adoption.
Local adoption agencies support his efforts but say there's little we can do.
New Zealand has around 30 to 40 inter-country adoptions each year from countries like Thailand, Philippines and China.
The last Romanian adoption was in 1991.