Adoption, For Kids, Inspiring Friends, Paralympics

Paralympic Jessica Long Travels Back to Russia to Meet Her Birth Family

25 Oct , 2014  

JessicaLongMy friend and fellow athlete Jessica Long was also adopted from Russia. We have both been very fortunate to be able to reconnect with our birth families. In this video Jessica returns to meet them for the very first time.
“Long Way Home” chronicles the story of Jessica Long, a world-class swimmer, 12-time Paralympic gold medalist, and 21-year old American from a Baltimore suburb, who was born in Russia and adopted by American parents. The feature tracks Long’s journey from the States to Siberia – Baltimore to Bratsk – to meet her birth family. A double amputee and a Russian-born orphan, Jessica Long has grown up as two people simultaneously, a dedicated and determined young woman who has used that drive to become one of the most-decorated U.S. Paralympians and also someone who, from 13 months old at her adoption from a Russian orphanage, has longed to know who she really is. Over the course of “Long Way Home: The Jessica Long Story,” Long tells the remarkable story of how she discovered her first family, and eventually embarked on a journey through a past she never knew. Originally named Tatiana Olegovna Kirillova, Long retraces her adoption back to her orphanage in Irkutsk, Russia, and on to what would have been her hometown of Bratsk, deep in the heart of Siberia. It’s here that we see the overwhelming moment where she comes face-to-face for the first time, not only with her birth mother, but her biological father, brothers and sisters – the Russian family she had never met. SEE VIDEO