An Indian Adoptee Reclaims His Voice in the Desi Diaspora
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Tag: identity

Still an Outsider-but that’s OK

February 25, 2011

Hello from Delhi,

In puzzling over what my first post from India should say, I decided to be more philosophical, real and shy away from the day to day narrative of my life here. Perhaps that will come later. This post, however, is more of a reflection on my evolution of thought, as an Indian adoptee.
read more …

Two Contrasting Experiences

September 29, 2010

Over the course of the past three weeks I’ve had two interactions with people regarding international adoption. Both were curious to know my thoughts on the topic because I was adopted. But their reasons for talking about the subject were vastly different.

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A Mea Culpa and some Clarification- Part Two

May 6, 2010

In my last post here, I discussed ways in which a child stay connected with their birth culture. Over time I think there has been more of an emphasis placed on helping an adopted child stay in touch with their heritage than there was 20 years ago or more.

read more …

A Mea Culpa and some Clarification-Part One

March 30, 2010

This blog is about how I feel. I was not trying to offend or make blanket statements in my last post. Before I go further, I realized I made some black and white pronouncements as my friend Carolyn (herself an adoptee) pointed out in my last entry. This post and the next one will generally be a fleshed out response to some of her thoughtful disagreements with that post. read more …

Exploring Adoption Consciousness

January 27, 2010

I have two adopted siblings who are also from India, but we are not blood relatives. A lot of people wonder if they are involved within the adoption field like me. Do they speak about it or share their thoughts with non adopted people? The simple answer is no. Without putting them on the spot here or making them feel uncomfortable, they don’t discuss adoption at all and if they do, it’s certainly not with people outside of our family. And that is totally fine. read more …

Donaldson Institute-Identity Study

November 10, 2009

Hello everyone, I apologize for not writing in a long while. My graduate studies are keeping me quite busy, as it’s nearly the end of the semester.

I just found this article over the weekend and it’s full of issues that I’ve written here on my blog so far. Check it out below.

Adopted From Korea and in Search of Identity read more …

From Indifference to Love: How my Affection for India Evolved –Part Two

September 16, 2009

As I discussed here, my Indian heritage was a source of deep embarrassment and shame most of my young life which included my junior high and high school years. Coincidentally India’s stature on the world stage increased, as my love for it grew, from my Senior year of high school in 1998 through the present. read more …

Thin Slicing my Name and Physical Appearance

August 20, 2009

I’m still working on Part Two of my story about my growing love for India. In the meantime, I want to share another interesting consequence of my adoption, having brown skin, but a western name. read more …

From Indifference to Love, how my Affection for India Evolved- Part 1

August 5, 2009

The next two posts will document how I grew to love India, after being indifferent/embarassed of my heritage. It’s interesting to note I was never ashamed of being adopted in and of itself, just being Indian. read more …

The Narrative Burden

July 20, 2009

It seems like an innocuous question, but for an international adoptee it’s a complicated one.

My typical response, “Madison, Wisconsin via Central New Jersey and I’ve lived in DC for about five years.” Which elicits a frown, or quizzical facial expression of the person asking and their follow up question becomes “where are you really from?” read more …

Lucky is only half the story.

July 10, 2009

Throughout my life, when I discuss my adoption, people always seem to respond with -”A.J. you are so lucky.”

“Lucky;” the word reverberates in my ear, engendering a gamut of emotions, frustration, misunderstanding, mild anger and resentment, but also a genuine desire to explain why that word bothers me. read more …

Why Did I Begin An Adoption Blog?

July 1, 2009

After much hand wringing and contemplation, I joined the blogosphere a few weeks ago. Many of you probably wonder why.

There are numerous blogs about adoption, both domestic or international. Many people blog about identity issues, birthmother conundrums, and the list goes on. Some are cheery reads, while others barely hide deep pain, anger, and disappointment. A few are a mixture of both. It’s a hard topic to write about because it’s rife with deep personal feelings.

I started this blog because I’m a male, Indian adoptee. That puts me in the severe minority. Boys, for the most part, are not put up for adoption in India, or most other places in the world. Rather, families keep males for their contribution to the family through work.

Furthermore, when men marry, families aren’t required to pay a dowry or make burdensome financial arrangements as girls do. This is a noteworthy reason why the majority of internationally adopted children are girls.

Secondly, I’m more than willing to discuss adoption, all of its positives and its negatives. I am completely transparent about adoption, which others view as a private matter. Lastly, I identify strongly as an international adoptee and realize that because of this, my view of the world is quite different from my peers.

Lastly, I identify strongly as an international adoptee and realize my view of the world is quite different from my peers.

But while those are two big reasons why I decided to throw my voice into the world through the internet, they aren’t the biggest.

My biggest passion is reclaiming the voice of the adult adoptee. That’s the subtitle of this blog and one of my great loves. For too long our voice was submerged in the rhetoric of those studying “us,” but our narratives remain hidden, non-existent or clouded.

I’ve grown weary of being invisible.

Before you write me off as just another angry adoptee, let me clarify.

I believe that anyone who wishes to opine about adoption and the adoption community should do so. Whether those utterances are from social workers, adoptive parents, birthmothers, academics, interested parties or just exploring the possibility themselves.

Everyone has a right to share their thoughts on the issue.

But let’s be clear, some voices should carry more weight than others. The adoptee voice is one of them.

To illustrate this further, let me give you a hypothetical. Suppose I told you that I was going to write a blog about women. You might respond, ‘Fine, A.J. probably has some good thoughts as a man, about his perception of women.” But in the back of your mind, wouldn’t you say to yourself, “Interesting that AJ is writing a blog about women, but how much could he really understand them, as a man?”

This analogy breaks down under further scrutiny, but you get my point. When it comes to non-adopted people writing about adoption, their voice can only go so far, because they weren’t adopted themselves.

That last sentence is bound to be controversial, but it’s the truth. My parents love me and my siblings and strived to help us process our adoptions. But even they have limited understanding of what it’s like to be adopted because they are not.

I’m appreciative of all the ways they tried comprehending my hurting, identity issues, fear of abandonment due to adoption, etc. But since they are not adopted, their understanding of my experience as an adoptee has a ceiling. Being adopted is not their life, it’s mine.

I know I’m not the only adopted person feeling this way. Many others share this belief. We want our views as adopted people included in the adoption dialogue. This blog is for them.

When celebrities adopt a child and one scans the news stories, it’s rare to see an adopted person quoted in the account. There might be a quote from an adoption advocacy group, an orphanage, or any other individual or organization. But a person who is actually adopted, voicing opinions is practically non-existent. That needs to change. I’m not entirely sure how, but I know why and hopefully this blog and others like it will reveal how to make our voices a part of the world in a new way and not merely whispers in the adoption arena.

There might be a quote from an adoption advocacy group, an orphanage, or any other individual or organization. But a person who is actually adopted, voicing opinions is practically non-existent. That needs to change. I’m not entirely sure how, but I know why and hopefully this blog and others like it will reveal how to make our voices a part of the world in a new way and not merely whispers in the adoption arena.

That needs to change.

I’m not entirely sure how, but I know why. Hopefully, this blog and others will reveal our voices to the world, not merely as whispers in the adoption arena.

What say you all? Am I right or totally wrong here or a mixture of both? How would you characterize the absence of the adopted person’s voice in the discussion? Comment, please.