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QUESTIONS FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS

Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
August 2017
QUESTIONS FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS

Indian-American parents with white adopted children—it’s a rare sight. But in a country as diverse as America, it’s never wise to make assumptions about relationships.

Lakshman Rajagopal, an associate professor at Iowa State University, recently flew to Atlanta with his adopted toddler son. A flight attendant was concerned about potential child trafficking, so Rajagopal was questioned—a humiliating experience for him.

“I’m not against Delta but I feel like this is a good example of how people still have a problem with color,” he said. “I didn’t think my behavior was suspicious because at 6am, with a toddler, a single parent, how am I supposed to look? I don’t think I’d look excited.”

Delta later apologized and offered a $500 voucher to Rajagopal.

Lakshmi Iyer can empathize, as she and her husband have a biological daughter as well as adopted twin girls. In an online article, she reveals some of the questions they’ve faced: “Are they yours?” “Where are their parents?” “Are you their nanny?”

“In ways that I had not foreseen, our family is now a poster child for racial awareness,” Iyer writes. “Our children are advocates for recognizing white privilege. … Regular grocery trips turn into adoption education. Checkout lines are trial runs to prepare my children for the harsh glare of the real world.”


[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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