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“It was when I was cleaning out my mother’s co-op, helping her put it up for sale, that I came across a binder with a lot of documents in it, a video, and some photos. It occurred to me that these were all paperwork relating to my adoption, something I had never seen before. This fuelled a desire to want to learn more about my adoption story. I did some research online and found the attorney who handled my adoption 28 years earlier. With his help, I conducted a birth family search, flew to Romania to meet my birth mother and newfound sister and learned about my Roma (Gypsy) heritage.


I am so grateful to have had the chance to fill in the missing blanks of my adoption story, not everyone gets that opportunity. I learned that I was born right before the fall of communism in a country where people were struggling to survive. Women felt like their only options were to abort, adopt or take their child to the local orphanage.


Being born Roma (Gypsy) I was born into a male-dominant society where arranged marriages are still practiced today. I would not have had an education, a career or any other freedoms that I have now. The decision to put me up for adoption gave me the chance to live a life that I never would have had if I stayed in Romania. The language barrier and cultural differences make it challenging to connect on a deep level with my birth family, but this is a common obstacle that international adoptees face. Thankfully, I have found relatives who speak English who offer to help translate from time to time and I utilize tools like google translate to speak to my sister in Romania more regularly. My sister and I have mutually expressed an interest to stay in touch and be a part of each other’s lives.” (New Jersey, USA)

Keep up with Yael on Instagram @fromgypsytojersey and read more about her and her upcoming memoir on www.fromgypsytojersey.com.