…That has been my question.
I just finished graduated school and I walked across the stage a few weeks ago. I finally feel free and able to make any choice now.
My schedule has opened up and traveling back home to India has been my plan ever since I started school. I have been wanting to go back to India to live, not work on a film, but to just live and become part of Goa. With those desires at bay, I am currently figuring out how to balance my personal desires with professional opportunities and set new goals for this year. As I have been exploring my next trip back, I have asked my parents if they ever thought about going to Goa, India.
Before I get into their response, some background information. I was adopted 30+ years ago and the agency did not require that the prospective parents travel to India and probably didn’t even recommend it. My parents had the luxury to just find a way to LAX to pick me up.
There was a few times when my mother and I talked about traveling to India with my sister while growing up, but it stayed at that. Just talk. The financial burden and raising children seem to have put India on the back burner. I quietly accepted it and buried it.
Years later as an adult, I went on my own (with friends) and I am so glad that I finally did at the age of 26. From that moment, my mother thought that I wanted to go without her.
Fast forward to the last few weeks and an opportunity to travel to India with her sister and her adopted daughter came up. Immediately I felt uneasy, uncomfortable, angry, sad, offended, and hurt. Didn’t really know why these feelings came up so I just sat with them and observed never really expressing much interest in going with them.
Although I am in an uncomfortable and hurt place, I am trying to stay fluid and move through processing these feelings that have made their way to the surface. I talked to my PACER support group members and they mentioned some possible feelings that adoptive parents sometimes feel when they hear that their child wants to return to their home country or when they are suggested to visit their child’s home country. I took it all in and changed how I was going to approach my mother about this topic.
After the meeting, I went home and began to water her plants. She was in the backyard and I casually asked her what the update was about our possible trip to India. She replied that her sister was not going to go. I asked if she was planning on going anyways, and she replied no. I asked why and she basically said that she couldn’t afford it (she was offered the trip for her retirement present from her sister). As suggested by my peers, I asked if any of her reasons were due to fear of loosing me or realizing that there is a whole country and heritage that she couldn’t offer me. She denied ever having those feelings, but went back to the money and taking all the time off of work.
I told her that those reasons are no longer good enough for me. I expressed why I was hurt and offended because here she adopted a child from India 30+ years ago and never really made a true effort on talking, planning, researching, or saving for a trip to India. There was no talk about saving $10/month and go when you are 16, or 18, 21, or when I retire. So the whole money excuse is no longer good for me.
As far as not being able to take a month off of work is also a bit weak because even 2-3 weeks during the 30+ years was still not possible? That’s when the offensive reaction comes into play because how can a family adopt a child from another country and never have any interest in that country whatsoever? Hell, I just found out that my mother has never stepped into an Indian market. How is it possible to have an Indian child and not know anything about India or make a legitimate effort to travel there? The bottom line here is that the obstacles that laid before her could of have easily been solved over time, over 30+ years.
After I shared these feelings with my mother, she understood. She expressed herself by confirming that she has wanted to go, but again there has not been much of an effort until her sister wanted to go and even that was shortly lived. She did express that she imagined us going together but since I went with my friends that she suddenly couldn’t go. I understood that she felt that way. There is a part of me that doesn’t necessarily want to go with her, but I still want her to go. I want her to go because I am her daughter, but I don’t want my presence to be the only reason she goes.
As far as my father goes, his response was similar. I want to go, but…
Even though I have expressed my feelings about how my parents remain separate from India, I know that their efforts to travel to India are probably not going to change anytime soon. And if they do, I will be happily surprised and give them lots of travel tips!
4 thoughts on “To travel, or not to travel…”
I feel like this sentiment resonates very strongly with me, “I want her to go because I am her daughter, but I don’t want my presence to be the only reason she goes.” I often want my mom to feel or want to do things because she wants to do them or can recognize how important they are to me and support me because of that.
My mom is very passive and has a hard time communicating her feelings to me about me returning to India or searching and I find myself wanting to be honest with her and finding it difficult because I feel it wont really bring any change in her attitude or level of support.
I hope that your mom decides to go to India with you. Thanks for writing.
Thank you for sharing a similar struggle. From what I have learned about parents is that they don’t like to cry in front of us or express too many intimate feelings. That is not a great excuse for adoptees like us because that is what we need, but I do hope that she breaks through her barrier in order to support you better. I hope you to continue to talk about your feelings; with her and with others. The way you feel about returning is very common. Has she heard of any other adoptees’ stories in regard to returning back to our first home? Maybe she can accept that our curiosity or desire is common, and therefore she can create change and support you.
I do hope that either you alone, or you both together create the opportunity for you to go back to India.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks Nisha for these kind words. I also just watched You Follow. Its hard for me to articulate how powerful it was watching you on that journey and thinking about what realities I may come up against in my search. What you did was nothing short of amazing and to have such good friends who went with you adds another entire layer of complication but also support. Watching someone else go through that process helped me realize how complicated the outcomes really can be. Thank you for sharing that and helping others, like myself, see what its like for someone else. We all have different approaches and seeing yours helps me when I am thinking about how I may go about searching not only for relatives but also for a birth culture.
Thank you for watching. I am so happy that my journey meant something to you. You are the reason that I keep sharing and writing. Theeres nothing like validations from others like us. Keep us updated on your journey!
LikeLiked by 1 person