A young man who has been living with his adopted parents in Scotland since the tender age of three was stunned to discover his Hungarian heritage after returning to his country of birth, Romania, for a visit at the age of twenty-three.
Before his visit home, Zsolt László (pictured left, meeting his Transylvanian foster-mother), who features in a documentary by the Transylvanian-born Hungarian journalist Csaba Lukács on young people in search of their identity after being adopted by foreign foster-parents even learnt a few words in Romanian to get by in the country – only to find pride in his Szekler Hungarian roots. Born in the ethnic Hungarian-populated town of Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc, central Romania), the young man visited his place of birth on a quest to find his ancestors and fill in the blank spaces in his early life in the company of his foster-mother, thanks to Mr. Lukács’s efforts.
Zsolt, who has gone by the name George Anderson since been adopted, arrived to Romania ten years ago in the company of his foster-mother, first met his biological parents and brother – his mother and brother in their container-house in rural Zetelaka (Zetea) and his shepherd father working in the nearby mountains -, followed by the extended family. Last week, he stepped by at the children’s home in Csíkszentmárton (Sanmartin) he once called home, the house where he was raised until the age of three and met her occupational foster-parent, Katalin Rácz.
Journalist Csaba Lukács organised Zsolt’s visit to his place of birth (photo: transindex.ro)
Journalist Csaba Lukács is well-known for his humanitarian activity and is often approached by people in need through the Hungarian Baptist Charity and the Szekler Charity. This time, he captured the story of a young man in search of his roots on film with his colleague, cameraman Géza Marosi.
Zsolt said he knew from a young age that he was adopted and also saw photos of himself as a young child. At around 10 years of age, he started to gain interest in his roots but failed to locate his parents despite their names featuring on adoption documents. “I had heard of Ceauşescu but I didn’t know anything about Transylvania when I arrived here”, he said, adding that he was first puzzled when he learnt that Szekler Land is an ethnic Hungarian region when it is so far from the border. “Earlier, I was proud to say that I have a Romanian background but now I can say even more proudly that I’m Hungarian”, he exclaimed.
“I’ve noticed that the generation that was taken or sold abroad from Romania has grown up and their roots have become important to them. For example, Zsolt László doesn’t at all have a Szekler consciousness of, if we were to approach it logically, he shouldn’t have to have one. He was socialised in Scotland, but the moment come in his life when the “voice of his blood” spoke and searching for his roots became important. I’m helping him do this also to follow this process, In our documentary in the making, Zsolt is a major episode character. I assisted him in meeting his parents and those who cared for him during his life here. It’s very interesting to see how this youngster discovers his own past, and together with it, his personality, within himself. This is what our film is actually about”, Mr. Lukács told the local Hungarian-language newspaper Hargita Népe.