Sunday, March 06, 2005

I am chosen

Apart from my Anderson Hall neighbors, whom I sometimes think of as my grandchildren, dormgrandpop has three grandchildren of his own – with a fourth on the way. Two of them are adopted, Gregory, now age seven, joined the family from Hong Kong about a year ago, after the death of this mother. The newest member, Olivia Grace became a member of our family about eight months ago, but completion of formalities on both the Indian and US side kept her in a Bangalore (India) orphanage until last week.

Of course I followed the process closely – in fact I had hoped I might make the trip, but that proved impossible. But her parents chose the most beautiful and wonderful way to announce Olivia Grace’s official arrival in their home – with a picture and a card that read:


Olivia Grace [dormgrandchild]

Is welcomed with great joy

[date] in Bangalore, India

Joined big brothers Adam and Gregory

and parents Bradford and Sherry


In India, now, only girl children are put up for adoption to the West. For a variety of cultural reasons, they are less “valued” than boys. Boys receive a dowry, upon marriage and often remain in an extended homestead to support their parents. Parents of girl children must often raise a dowry. Their daughters live out their lives in their in-laws extended homestead, serving them.

Having worked and traveled in South Asia, especially Sri Lanka, for nearly 20 years, I know that Olivia Grace is one of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands of girl child orphans. Why was she “chosen” for a different life than most of her contemporaries? How will the scenario of her life unfold? How will that she has been "chosen" it make a difference?

There are some things it is better simply to accept, taking joy in the microcosmic event and the opportunity to enfold, love and nurture this newcomer in our rich, diverse, somewhat unconventional family.


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