Jul 04 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Desi parents with blue-eyed babies
A British Sikh couple in the UK was recently told that they couldn't adopt a white kid. But NRI couples in the US who've opted for inter-racial adoptions say the colour of skin should never come in the way
First, they look at the blonde, blue eyed, white boy . Then they look at the dark-skinned Indian man he calls his father. Baffled, they turn to the boy's fair-skinned mother, who looks Asian. “ And nothing seems to add up,“ laughs Indu Unnamatla.“And when you throw in Rowan's very Indian accent, and the fact that he speaks Hindi and sings Kannada songs (because the couple lived in Bengaluru for a couple of years), the math just blows them away .“The puzzled looks have followed Indu, her husband Sridhar and their Caucasian son Rowan ever since they adopted the newborn in 2013.After years of “trying to get pregnant“, the couple, living in California, decided to try adoption.“India was our first option,“ says Indu, who works with Google, while her husband runs a tech startup. “But when we found that it was almost impossible to adopt a newborn in India, it was a dealbreaker,“ she adds.
Complex international adoption laws, long drawn-out processes, and NRIs seemingly at the “bottom of the ladder“ in the adoption hierarchy in India, have turned Indians living in the US towards adopting from their country of residence -race, colour, gender no bar.
The option seems less simple in the UK, where a British Sikh couple recently went to court after being told by an adoption agency not to apply because of their “Indian heritage“. Instead, they were advised to try in India.
Race no bar
But in India, “an open adoption -where the child has knowledge of the birth parents -is virtually ruled out.And I wanted that for Rowan,“ says Indu, who ensures that her son meets his birth mother once a year, so she can see him growing up. Indu and Sridhar checked `yes' for every race mentioned in the adoption registration form.
So did Shankari and Rajesh Arcot, a Tamilian couple living in California.In 2010, they adopted Ashwin, whose birth father is an Indian and mother a Caucasian. “He doesn't look like us, so in the US, people think he is Mexican. But in India, people are more curious about him because though he looks Indian he does not look like Rajesh or me,“ says Shankari. “We don't go to great lengths to explain to people who he is. We believe that's his story to tell,“ she adds.
When Lakshmi Iyer and her husband Narayanan, who live in Pennsylvania, made the decision to adopt, they too first explored the India route.“I found out that adopting in India while on a green card from the US was difficult because of immigration issues. The easiest way to do it would have been to move back for a few years, adopt, finalise and then immigrate,“ says Lakshmi. “That would have meant putting our careers on hold which we were loath to do at that time. International adoption would have taken three years or more. I had already been waiting over six years and I was unwilling to wait longer,“ adds Lakshmi. The couple now has twin Caucasian girls, adopted in 2010, and a biological daughter who was born in 2014.
The adoption laws, says Shankari, make it difficult for NRIs to adopt. “In India, Indians residing there and foreign nationals are preferred to NRIs.We were not US citizens when we started the adoption process,“ says Shankari, who is now a US citizen, as are Indu and Lakshmi. All three couples opted for an open adoption.
“If anyone in the family had misgivings about us adopting a child in the US, they did not bring it up,“ says Lakshmi, who runs an adoption group on Facebook for families like theirs.“A few of them expressed concern about how an open adoption would work out. But other than that, immediate and extended family were very supportive,“ she adds.
The three families admit that though their children were the best thing that happened to them, it's going to be a difficult road ahead. “Adolescence is a difficult stage. When you're t stage. When you're adopted it's proba bly more difficult.
And when it's an inter-racial family , there are more emotions at play,“ says Lakshmi. “In the US, we don't make heads turn as much but in India, the racial differ ence crops up,“ says Lakshmi. For instance, when she takes her three chil dren to stores, her twins are given a lot of attention, juice to drink, stools to sit on, people want to take photographs while leaving their sister out of it... “The girls know Tamil so they understand what people are saying. I can tell they're beginning to feel uncomfortable, like they are exhibits,“ she says. At home, she confronts the race issue head-on. “We have regular discussions on it where I explain that we are all the same though our skin colour may vary ,“ she says. Shankari says the questions her son has regarding his adoption evolve with every passing year. “When he was younger we heard him asking another child who was also adopted whether he came from Kelly too, Kelly being Ashwin's birth mother's name,“ says Shankari. “A while ago, we talked about birth moms and adopted moms and how they're both important,“ she adds. “Now, we're talking, `Am I American or am I Indian?' We tell him he's the best of both.“
Monday, July 3, 2017
Britain stops Indian from adopting White Baby- but earlier Parents with blue-eyed babies.
Posted by Deva priya