My name is Kumar. I use this platform to share my experience of being adopted from India as an almost two year-old. I grew up in a small town in Southwest Ohio and have lived in the midwest the vast majority of my life. I spent 7 years in Chicago leading climate and environmental policy and program work in local government before returning to Ohio in the summer of 2021 to focus on searching for biological relatives, reconnecting with India and helping with family caretaking.
Since 2012, I have devoted increasing amounts of energy towards understanding my experience as an international and transracial adoptee from India living in the U.S. My journey has involved return trips to India in 2004, 2018, 2019 and 2022. In addition to searching for biological relatives the return trips are a way for me to develop a relationship with India, its people and culture. I have also deployed other tactics in searching for biological relatives including DNA testing and official record requests.
My searching journey is ongoing and continues to morph and change as I learn more about what I want out of searching and take steps to make that a reality. My ultimate goal for searching is to find biological relatives. In my circumstance it is highly unlikely I will ever find anyone, as is common for many international adoptees with questionable (or no) records. This journey has lead to years of therapy (which has been incredibly healing) and a deepened reflective writing practice for myself. The process of digging into my past both in and out of therapy has lead to immeasurable personal emotional growth that has allowed me to live a more rewarding life.
Arriving at the decision to search took me 13 years from my initial interest in exploring my own adoption. I came to this decision after connecting with dozens and dozens of other adoptees (transracial, domestic, international, etc.). I owe a debt of gratitude towards my adoptee community for showing me the way, supporting me, challenging me and seeing me more fully than I’ve ever experienced. In particular, I feel incredibly fortunate to have joined a group of Indian adoptees living in the U.S. who help me feel seen and supported in my journey.
My relationship with writing is ever evolving and at this current time (2022) my writing serves to help me document my searching experience. In addition, I have been exploring memoir as a writing form as well as allowing myself the freedom to play with poetry, reading my work at open mics and some fiction.
As a transracially adopted person, much of my reflection centers around my paradoxical experience of race, culture and language. I believe that being adopted has had a significant impact on my experience and my performance of personal identity. I have found that through intentionally engaging with this portion of my identity and life experience I have been able to live a fuller and more complete life.
I am also active on Twitter.
Photo Credit – Max Shannon