Saving Russian Heritage for Adopted Russian Children in the US

Saving Russian Heritage for Adopted Russian Children in the US

October 29, 2008

Russian American Cultural Heritage Center (RACH-C) presented a wide ranging Forum on the topic of “Saving Russian Heritage for Adopted Russian Children in the US” held at Columbia University, with the Harriman Institute co-hosting on October 29, 2009.

There were 56 distinguished and diverse participants including linguists, psychologists, writers, bookstores’ owners, clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church, representatives of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in NY, and Russian summer camp proprietors. Major agencies were represented such as the National Agency for Adoption of Washington, D.C. American adoptive parents and grandparents of Russian kids, activists; interested parties were also well represented and were very outspoken and articulate in their remarks. Two hours of intense discussion was not enough to surface all the issues that participants are involved with.

Hosting the Forum was Dr. Lynn Visson, a writer, researcher, interpreter who also spoke on the role of retaining the heritage language. Julio Rodriquez, a co-founder of RACH-C, President of the Culturelink Corporation and a psychologist by education, spoke on the issues of cultural identity. Dr. Olga Zatsepina, President of RACH-C spoke on the programs that RACH-C has already done, and on the projects for adoptive families to save Russian culture for their kids that RACH-C is working on.

Stating that it was unveiling its best approaches based on what RACH-C now knows, Dr. Zatsepina presented the plans for projects that RACH-C is doing for Russian kids in 2009 and invited the attendees to comment on them and help modify their direction. The interested parties expressed opinions on the desirability of creating opportunities for adopted kids to know about their heritage and the problems connected to trying to achieve that. Participants strongly supported the post adoption work that RACH-C is doing and emphasized the necessity and importance of those efforts in the lives of adopted Russian children and their American families.