Whangarei boy who traced Russian roots helps fellow Kiwi adoptees find bloodlines

A Whangarei-raised lad, who travelled to the arctic coast of Russia to find his birth parents, is now helping fellow Kiwi adoptees trace their bloodlines and share their stories online.

Alex Gilbert, 23, was adopted from an Archangelsk orphanage, north east of St Petersberg, in 1994 by Mark and Janice Gilbert when he was just a two-year-old.

In 2013, and accompanied by TVNZ's Sunday programme, Mr Gilbert travelled back to Russia and successfully found his birth parents. Now he has established a website to help fellow New Zealanders find their genetic families and share their stories.

"It still feels like yesterday, meeting my birth mother and birth father," he told ONE News.

Alex Gilbert meeting his birth parents in Russia.
Alex Gilbert meeting his birth parents in Russia. Source: Supplied

"I talk to my birth father a lot and I always keep in touch through Skype and texting too, but not so much my birth Mother. She has had a rough life ... I do my best to keep in touch with her though."

Mr Gilbert began the page, imadopted.org, about a month ago, and is using his professional video production skills to help tell the stories of those who have reached out to him.

"Some people have helped one another in tracing some of the adoptees families. People are able to share the word about adoption on this page which has been incredible.

"Since the Sunday show aired [in 2014], I have managed to find a few adoptees from my [Russian] orphanage. I am still on the search for others and since this page has been set up I have shared a lot of stories of other adoptees who were from my birth town, Arkhangelsk."

Mr Gilbert, who is learning Russian with the help of his girlfriend Margarita, said while his brother Andrew, who was also adopted from the same orphanage, has no interest in tracing his genetic parents he was supportive of the idea and shared his story online.

"My adopted parents like the idea and love that I can help others share their stories like I did myself," he said.

"I have always thought about how I can help others with a page like this."

Alex Gilbert goes to Russia in search of his biological parents. Source: Sunday