I’ve become more aware of the infantilization of adult adoptees, due to my work with the Adoptee Rights Campaign to give adoptees US Citizenship. The Adoptee Citizenship Act fills a loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2001, which gave all international adoptees US citizenship age 18 and younger. A common question I receive is… Continue reading Adoptees Grow Up, Stop Treating Us Like Perpetual Children!
In early February of 2017, I participated in a ‘Privilege Walk.’ It’s an exercise examining an individual’s levels of privilege or disadvantage. I had finished speaking on an adoption panel and Sue Orban, the panel moderator asked all of us to participate. Each question requires the person to step forward or backward depending on their… Continue reading I Took a Privilege Walk. Here’s what I Thought.
My wife and I were driving somewhere recently and began talking about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s speaking fees, between $150,00 and $300,000 dollars. Regardless of your politics, I think we can all agree that $300,000 dollars to speak is outrageous. There probably is not a single one of you who wouldn’t take even half that amount… Continue reading If My Adoption Story is ‘Valuable’ to You, then Pay Me for Telling it.
In the fall of 2016, the US Department of State presented new rules regarding inter-country adoptions for those adopting foreign-born children into U.S. homes. As an adoptee, I always advocate for greater transparency about fees and the months-long process for international adoption. Not surprisingly, adoption agencies and other stakeholders in the adoption industry decry the… Continue reading A Few Welcome Changes to International Adoption Rules
Thousands of intercountry adoptees lack US citizenship. But there are two bi-partisan bills, in the House and Senate that would end this travesty. The Adoptee Rights Campaign (ARC), a coalition of adoptees and advocates launched our Family is MORE than DNA campaign! This postcard campaign, features a picture collage of adoptive families and our goal is to send 35,000… Continue reading Adoptees Inch Closer to US Citizenship and We Need Your Help!
Our daughter Sonali Robyne Bryant was born on May 26, 2016. Her name means ‘golden’ in Hindi. Robyne is my mother’s name. I’m now a father. As I wrote about here, Sasmita and I decided not to learn our baby’s gender before birth, we both wanted the surprise. The doctors and attending nurses assumed we… Continue reading Do you want to see the world? – Thoughts on Fatherhood
Since Narendra Modi became India’s Prime Minister in May 2015, the definition of a ‘true’ Indian is a hot topic. However, for me, people have always questioned my India bona-fides. Let me explain. As an adoptee, raised without Indian culture on a daily basis, cultural Indians in the United States were always unsure how I fit into… Continue reading Who is a ‘Real’ Indian?
Sasmita and I decided against learning the sex of our coming baby. We do not want to cloud the joyous event, by placing expectations or hopes of a specific gender. But there’s another reason; Sasmita is uncomfortable discovering a baby’s sex because in India it’s illegal. Prenatal sex determination testing is against Indian law. Indian society… Continue reading We don’t know if we’re having a boy or girl. In India it’s illegal to find out.
Sasmita and I watched the funny and sweet documentary, ‘Meet the Patels.’ But I did have one major issue with the film. It’s mockery of India’s complexion biases. It’s a heart-warming tale about a 30-year-old Indian guy. His name is Ravi Patel and his quest (really his parents wish, but he acquiesces) to find an… Continue reading ‘Meet the Patels’ Dismissed India’s Complexion Shaming. That’s Unfortunate.
Recently my mother and I had a conversation about infant children and language. She was excited to see that her youngest grandson, barely one-year-old, recognized her voice. She recently returned from a trip to visit my brother’s family in Denver, Colorado and was ‘Skyping’ with them. It was remarkable to her, she said, how much his… Continue reading Babies and Language; a Personal Story
There are thousands of adults, adopted as children by US citizen parents lacking US citizenship. Thanks to adoptees, advocates, and Congressional support, that will change in 2016. The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2015, provides retroactive citizenship for certain intercountry adoptees no matter when they were adopted. It also provides a legal pathway for all deported… Continue reading It’s Time for All Adoptees to have US Citizenship
Sasmita and I will be parents in early June of 2016! We are excited, but not ready to be parents. Then again, who is? We told my parents during Thanksgiving and called her folks in India, via Skype shortly afterwards, sharing our happy news across the globe. As I contemplate Fatherhood, thoughts of my own… Continue reading Facing Fatherhood as an Adoptee
Recently, Sasmita and I were eating dinner. About halfway through, her eyes got big, and she excitedly told me that she saw ‘a big creature’ today, in the yard by the mailbox. Intrigued, as always, by such pronouncements, I told her to continue. She told me that it stood as tall high as my knee, with a… Continue reading ‘A.J – I Saw a Creature Today’
Last week I finished the exemplary PBS/Frontline three-part series ‘My Brother’s Bomber. The story is about Ken Dornstein, whose brother was killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. A suitcase with one-pound of Semtex plastic explosives, blew the 747 out of the sky, nearly 30,000 feet over the Scottish… Continue reading ‘My Brother’s Bomber’ and the Reminder of a Tragic Adoption Story
Earlier this summer I read a fascinating article titled ‘Death, Redesigned.” As I read the piece, it struck me how vastly different the West views death and how Sasmita and Indians view death. The story begins with Paul Bennett, the founder of Ideo, a design, marketing, and branding firm in San Francisco Bay. It’s famous for among other things,… Continue reading I say ‘dies,’ Sasmita says ‘expires.’ The words signal a major cultural difference.