“My name is Ariana, and I’m a 20-year-old transracial international adoptee. I was born in India. At three months, I was relinquished, and at nine months, I was adopted and brought to the United States. I grew up in Oregon and lived there until I moved to Washington for university. I’m a sister to three siblings, one of which is also adopted from India. I am not biologically related to anyone in my family, and I grew up in a predominantly white home and went to mostly white schools. I’ve had to deal with my fair share of microaggressions growing up and have become very passionate about bringing awareness to the difficulties of transracial adoption. I have always been proud of my background and my roots. There are many pictures of me as a kid with a bindi on my forehead smiling proudly. As a senior in high school, I wore Indian clothes to my prom, and my senior pictures featured me in both Indian and my usual everyday clothes. No matter what I’ve been through in this adoption journey, I remain proud and connected to my identity as an American Indian adoptee.
I’ve wondered about my biological family since I was a kid. Initially, the orphanage paperwork was enough for me, but as I got older, I wanted the truth. I realized the possibility that not everything in the paperwork was true. When I was 18, I took a 23andMe DNA test and got connected with a biological third cousin. Throughout our time of knowing each other, he has been doing a lot of work to find my biological family as he lives in India. I’m so thankful for all that he has done as this is not an easy journey. I’ve learned about the amount of child trafficking that happened around the time I was born and adopted, and I don’t know the number of times I’ve felt disheartened and listened to Sia’s “Never Give Up” from the movie Lion and dreamt of the moment I would have answers and return to India. However, this journey has also brought lots of good things in my life. I have found some answers about my past, and I’ve also found community through hearing other adoptee’s stories through podcasts, social media, books and websites. I’m so thankful for these.”
Ariana is currently in her second year of university and is studying abroad in New Zealand. She’s majoring in Social Work and hoping to do work in the adoption community and eventually become a transracial adoption therapist. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @indian_adoptee to keep up with her journey.