"Our Passage to India"

Traveling to our daughters' birth country allowed us to bond, both with their ethnic heritage and our fellow travelers.

Learning About Our Daughters' Ethnic Heritage in India

After 36 hours we were finally there. We had flown from Detroit to New Delhi, where our group of adoptive parents and kids stepped into small buses and rode into the riot that is transportation in India. For our children, it was a glimpse of their homeland. They came to us when they were 10 months and seven months old, respectively, and have no recollections of their days in Bombay (now Mumbai) foster homes.

My wife, Kathryn Trudeau, and I have always planned to take the kids back to India. We wanted to take some of the mystery out of their early lives. We might give them a hint of what led to their being placed for adoption. We might provide a chance for them to appreciate their cultural history and ethnic heritage.

Our trip with the Minneapolis-based Ties Program offered a way to introduce our kids—Rekha, 14, (pictured, far right) and Devin, 18—to their homeland. Together, we saw a New Delhi orphanage and school; Agra and the Taj Mahal; Jaipurs renowned Amber Fort; and countless other sights, big and small.

The kids, meanwhile, had a built-in support group for late-night discussions and hanging out. Perhaps the most meaningful moments took place in Mumbai, as we sat with the foster mothers who cared for our children as babies and then sent them halfway around the world into our arms.

Back in New Delhi, we compared experiences and found that, for each family, the trip had answered a few questionsand raised even more. After two weeks I cant say I know India. We saw a small part of the vast subcontinent. But both of our children felt at home there, and they want to return, maybe to study or work.

That embrace of their heritage may be the best outcome of all.


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