SAN FRANCISCO -- Anfisa Luopajarvi's room is cluttered but cozy, filled with furniture, stuffed animals and knickknacks.
Her walls are covered with 17 posters of Leonardo DiCaprio. He was once her favorite actor, she said, but now she likes Matt Damon and Richard Gere more.
Anfisa is not your average American teen-ager, though. The 16-year-old with a troubled past was born in Karelia, a northwest territory of Russia, and was adopted in a foreign country.
''I can say I'm Russian but it means nothing. I don't feel like I'm Russian,'' Anfisa says.
Each year more and more Americans -- single and married -- are traveling to places like Russia, China, Guatemala and Romania to add to their families.
Foreign adoptions have risen from 6,536 in 1992 to more than 16,396 in 1999.
Anfisa's mother, Natasha, was a prostitute. Her father, Genaldie Ovchinicova, was a customer. They did marry, but only briefly, before he left.
With no way to care for her child, Natasha returned to the streets.
As a toddler, Anfisa was often left outside in freezing weather to find her own supper.
When Ovchinicova learned of his daughter's plight, he got custody and they moved to a ''run down, rough neighborhood'' in a poor area of St. Petersburg, Anfisa said.
Anfisa's mother was killed by another customer.
Everything was fine with her father, Anfisa said, until he lost his job and started drinking and the neglect started all over again.
So Anfisa ran away, seeking refuge at a church until nuns placed her in an orphanage. She was adopted after just a year.
Six years later, she has little or no accent and the only evidence of her birthplace is a ''matrushka'' in her bedroom window. The handpainted wooden doll, the size of a soda can, has four other dolls inside. Anfisa will only say: ''It was a gift.''
Many children, especially the older ones who know and understand where they came from, come to America and try to acculturate too quickly, sometimes rejecting everything that has to do with their own homeland, experts say.
''It's very natural for kids to want to forget about that life, because it was hard and they want to just shove it away,'' said Sharon Roszia, a social worker and program manager at Kinship, an Orange County adoption agency.
''But in the process of shoving it away, they literally bury a part of themselves.''
During the years she has worked with international adoptees and their families, she has known children who reject their countries and their language. Some have gone so far as to change their names to make them more ''American.''
''They feel an internal need to disidentify themselves from the place from which they come,'' she said. ''A younger child will have some issues. The older child is going to have more.''
It is up to new parents to help the children find a healthy identity embracing cultures old and new, experts say.
Parents must also teach the children about their countries and encourage them to nurture their languages.
''So much of culture is transmitted through language. If you don't speak the language, you lose the culture,'' Roszia said.
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