Eight Russian news outlets have focused in on a Whangarei man helping connect adoptees with their birth parents.

Alex Gilbert, 23, featured in the Advocate in August as he embarked on an online project called I'm Adopted, which has since shared the stories of more than 60 people from New Zealand, Australia and the United States on their journey to reconnect with their birth families.

Mr Gilbert was adopted as a 2-year-old from an orphanage in Archangelsk, Russia by Janice and Mark Gilbert in 1994. When he turned 21 he travelled to Russia to meet his birth parents.

The experience was "better than expected", though he said it would have been helpful to have more access to other people who had been through a similar experience. Thus, I'm Adopted was born.


Last week, eight Russian newspapers and major television networks featured him, as the online community began to take off.

"The story was firstly shared by a Russian journalist who has over 200,000 followers and this is what spread my story like crazy," Mr Gilbert said.

"It was then shared by more and more people with heaps of Russian journalists and reporters contacting me."

Mr Gilbert - a television production assistant by trade - even filmed some footage himself for major news network NTV Russia.

"All of the stories firstly introduce my back story on my adoption and with what I am trying to do now on the page by helping others."

Mr Gilbert runs the I'm Adopted page on his own, though another friend helps him monitor the comments.

He said the feedback had been "incredible".

"A person in the USA recently traced her entire birth family in the USA after posting her story on to the page," he said.

"It is all about helping each other... Seeing other people help others find their roots or someone in their family is incredible."

-Go to www.imadopted.org to find out more about Mr Gilbert's project.