Big Announcement…

We’re excited to announce that we are adopting a child from India!

We’re gonna have a child!!!!!! WOO!!

[*Party!*]

Let’s start from the beginning. When Varun and I were dating, we talked about kids–how many we wanted, when we should have them, etc. I shared with Varun that I felt called to adopt; several close friends of mine had been adopted, as were two of my darling cousins. As such, it has always seemed a natural and loving way to build a family.

Over the years, God has brought various families into our life who have shared their journeys in adopting children with us. Last year, we began reading and thinking about adoption. After Varun read Adopted for Life, we knew adoption would be a way that we grew our family.
We thought about it carefully, prayed, did research, talked with adoptive families and chatted with our own families. Finally, we decided in June 2012 to begin growing our family by adopting a child from India. We are adding to our family through adoption before we consider adding to our family biologically. (There’s lots of practical and ideological conversations to have about this, so I’ll probably add to my new FAQ page later.)

This week, we got our approval from the Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services! This is a huge milestone and means that our file can go to India and the waiting game can begin.

Despite the piles of paperwork, the home study, the government mandated parenting classes…it all still feels a bit surreal. It will likely be over 2 years (if not 3!!) before we bring our child home. (Here’s our timeline…) In the mean time, we are lovingly preparing a home for the special little one that will join our family.

(Believe it or not, we decided this in June and I didn’t blog about it for four months! Let’s be honest, I started a word doc and blogged Creed style. Anyway.)

(Not to worry, we won’t actually put chai in the baby’s bottle. At least not caffeinated…)

Special thanks to Shelly Spithoff for the amazing photos! We had so much fun taking them and they turned out beautifully! Stop by her website to get a peek at her awesome work.

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International Day of the Girl

Let’s pretend it’s yesterday. Why? Because yesterday, October 11 2012, was the first ever International Day of the Girl.

“The day promotes girls’ human rights, highlights gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys and addresses the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls around the globe.” -U.N. Women 

This year, the focus is on child marriage. To learn more about child marriage and the millions of girls worldwide who are wed at early ages, check out the U.N. press release on child marriage. As is bound to happen with any issue so tied into cultural norms, child marriage has already sparked some interesting dinner conversations at our house. Is it wrong if it’s the norm within a culture? What are the rights of children? Who is to decide what is healthy and good? I’ll be honest: I’m still learning about this and don’t have an intelligent opinion to share. But let’s learn together, shall we?

In many places, girl children are discriminated against, sold as sex slaves, discarded at birth or aborted for being female. This documentary, It’s a Girl, seeks to raise awareness about the troubling state of girls around the world. Today, would you take a few moments to learn about the troubles girls face, write a letter to your MP or Senator, sign a pledge, watch a documentary, send money, hug a girl, love a girl, adopt a girl or pray for a girl?

Weeping My Way Through ‘Secret Daughter’

Do you hear that sniffling? That’s me, ugly crying* after reading Secret Daughter. It’s been on my to-read list for two years but somehow the library never had it when I was between books. Luckily,  a dear friend lent it to me–without my even asking!

And let’s be honest: any book that’s about adoption and India is sure to tug at my heart. And a book about a blonde-haired white girl married to an Indian man? Forget about the dishes, I have a date with this book. Secret Daughter follows several individuals in the US and India from 1985-2005. Broken hearts, troubled marriages, adoption, infertility, poverty, motherhood, family and identity are beautifully woven together to create a gripping tale.

Gowda’s description of India is mesmerizing–she writes of the complexity, beauty and troubles of India through the eyes of someone who loves the country, but who has also lived much of life in North America. As two of the characters encountered India and wrestled with their own identities, I felt like I grew a little too.

Below are a few of my favorite quotes from the book (quotes are in blue, my comments are in black):

Someone in India: I met a guy…He’s smart and funny and so good-looking. And he’s got these deep brown eyes, you know?

Someone who fell in love with an Indian: Yes, I think I do…(they laugh together)

(Can I get an Amen?! Those deep brown Indian eyes…get me every time!)

“What do you think of [India]? It’s a five-star pile of contradictions, isn’t it?…Some people like to demonize India for her weaknesses, others only glorify her strengths. The truth, as always, lies somewhere in between.”

After being scolded for wearing inappropriate clothes, an American girl thinks:

“Somer thinks back to the mid-calf length skirt and the T-Shirt [she was wearing]…’Not appropriate’?…She tries to fight her growing resentment of this country, the feeling that everything here is tainted: that the biased adoption process, the opaque cultural rules, and the oppressive weather, all are wrapped up with India as a whole. She expected to feel at home with Krishnan’s family, not so utterly out of place.”

(Somer’s fears and feelings when she visited India as the American wife of an Indian man resonated deeply with me. Written down, they seem selfish and ugly, but they are true. Inextricably intertwined with love and respect for my husband and his culture are roots of confusion, dislike and fear. It’s not a pretty part of me: but it is there)

My family. People [she] had never met and barely spoken to just one year ago, who have fetched her from the airport in the middle of the night, taken her to tourist attractions they had no interest in seeing again, taught her how to wear a lengha, fly tissue-paper kites, eat all kinds of new foods. She was not born into this family, she did not grow up with them, but it has made no difference. They have done everything for her…Through the flickering flames, she sees the faces of her cousins and uncles. My family…At some point, the family you create is more important than the one you’re born into.

(If you know my Indian family, you know this is incredibly apt. Late night airport runs, patience in cultural faux pas, generosity in linguistic mix ups…They have accepted me part and parcel)

Okay, well now that we’re all sufficiently weepy, let’s talk about your thoughts. Have you read Secret Daughter? What did you think about it? Do you have a favourite Indian author or novel?

*P.S. This is the best ugly cry ever

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