An Indian Adoptee Reclaims His Voice in the Desi Diaspora
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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.

Natalie
July 6, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I’ve never really noticed the lack of “adult adoptee” voices out there, but now that you mention it I have never known one to be vocal about their experiences at all. This doesn’t make sense but it makes me appreciate your openness even more. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the celebrity adoptions…

    August 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Natalie-I just hope that this blog gets other adoptees to realize they need to put their voice out there. No one is gonna do it for them. As for celebrity adoptions and my stance, stay tuned. I’m working on a post about that.

Subini
August 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm

AJ, This makes tons of sense. I agree, for too long, we have heard from everyone in the adoption process except the adoptee. When we do hear from an adoptee, we hear from children but rarely from adults. It is time our voices are heard and I am glad you’ve decided to put your voice out there. Thank you for sharing.

March 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm

As one of your fellow Indian int’l adoptees, you really addressed the issues endless questioning and curiosity. It took me 30 years to realize I did NOT have to tell everyone my life story. It IS my prerogative to choose WHOM I tell. Yes, I am proud of my life, history and future, but like most, I value my privacy. 🙂 🙂

Great job!!!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!