My Dad Is From Mysore, India. And I'm Adopted.

6.16.2015
that fact is true - my dad is indian.  he was born and raised in mysore, india, which is outside of bangalore.  (like naperville is to chicago.  bangalore is officially known as bengaluru, which is the capital of the state of karnataka.  which is southern india.)  this information seems to blow people's minds, and i suppose i know why.  not that he's an indian doctor.  that's not at all uncommon.  no, it's probably because of my blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin.

i personally love my dog's 'the shit is this?' face

and yes, i'm adopted, in case you didn't know.  which makes me awesome.  because, ya know, my parents were all 'yes we really want that one' enough to take me home on the spot and still be paying my cell phone bill 30 years later.  #familyplan #thanksdad #nevergrowup  you can read all about that here.

i don't doubt there will be lots and lots of father's day posts this week, talking about their wonderful dads and thanking them.  which is awesome, i'm pumped to see little kid photos of you all, and trust me i have all the same sentiments towards my bad ass dad, but my dad doesn't read my blog.  so instead, i'm writing a post about india.  and a brief history on my dad.  and then opening it up for questions, because there's always so many questions.  so here we go, linking up with helene for 'you probably didn't know...'


my dad was born in mysore in 1939.  the second youngest of 9, 2 brothers, 6 sisters.  sadly, he's got just 1 sister left and 2 sisters-in-law.  lots of nieces, cousins, etc. though, still there.  he's the only one here in the states.  the british still ruled at that time so his whole family was christian; samuel is a common christian last name in southern india.  he went to a christian british school taught by nuns, which is why he speaks english so well but also pronounces onion like on-yun and first like fust.  damn british.  his family was incredibly poor and i saw the dirt floor tiny 3 room house (3 rooms.  total.  not 3 bedrooms.) he grew up in.  crazy to think how much has changed.

he's kind of a genius and was super book smart (and is fluent in urdu, telugu, hindi, english, and spanish.  i can say 'i'm going to knock your molars out' in urdu.  that's about all he passed on to me in the smarts.) so he was always studying, while taking care of his family and being awesome in soccer and track.  he eventually went to medical school in mysore.

from when we went back to visit.  2005.

he finished med school at 23 (22?), becoming a pediatrician, and moved straight here.  well not chicago, here; he actually worked in philadelphia for awhile first.  then moved here.  so he accomplished more in 23 years than i will in my whole life.  #nopressure

he met my mom when they worked in the same hospital; she was a radiologist.  they dated for a few years, moved in together, finally got married in 1982 and got wonderful little me in 1984.  (i know you're looking at those dates and thinking that's a lot of years before getting married - he was married before and has 3 kids but i hate them and since that has nothing to do with my life story, i completely ignore it like the true only child i was born to be.)

i've been to india twice.  once as a baby, it's where i learned to walk.  i had to meet my grandma before she died (which happened just months after our visit.)  international travel wasn't quite so huge in 1985 so this little blue eyed blonde american baby almost got stolen a few times.  my mom wasn't pleased but i was a big hit.

the second time we went back, i was in college and freshly 21.  i was very excited to order endless tequila sunrises (there's no drinking age in india, joke's on you stephanie) and even more excited to find a channel, in english, that regularly streamed the american 90s version of legends of the hidden temple.  gold mine.  they also had pizza hut, but it was irrelevant because i actually love indian food, and that you're supposed to eat it with your hands there.  we visited all the family, my dad's best friend who's still there, went to the street shops and the super fancy mall, pretty much whatever we could pack into 2 weeks.

i'll say this now, because you're going to ask - did i like it?  no.  there were good parts, and it was cool to see where my dad grew up, but he and i both agree we do not like it there and won't be back.  my mom loves it.  strange.  for me it was mostly about the flights, but also just never feeling totally comfortable.  it's not very safe, which is no secret.  i did like the bomb dogs at our hotel, and i did get stopped by another american from iowa (because i was wearing a hawkeyes hoodie, of course) so that was cool.  cows roamed everywhere, as did wild dogs.  and monkeys, so many mean, mean monkeys.  i guess if you're a world traveler i'd say go for it - it's pretty wild.  but if you're a once every 10 years we go overseas person, i'd say your time is better spent elsewhere.  it is not a vacation destination that everyone will appreciate.  i hate to be negative to my dad's home country, but even he 100% agrees with me.

my cousins there are awesome though

so what do you want to know about india?  ever think about traveling there and want to ask me any questions?  or do you want to ask me any questions about my dad's life there, his transition coming here, his family there, his adopting me?  adoption in general? (people who want to adopt always worry how the kid will turn out - awesome, obviously.  and no, i don't know anything about my birth parents and i won't ever meet them.  my parents do have 'papers' on me, like a dog pedigree, with all their info.  i've never looked.)  there's always a ton of questions, and i'm an open book.  ask away!

thanks for hosting, helene.  (i'm early, the link up goes live thursday so get your posts together!)

Helene in Between

93 comments:

  1. I absolutely love this! Thank you for sharing and I totally agree that you are awesome!!

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  2. Definitely things I didn't know, thanks for sharing! I'm actually really interested in visiting India, probably because I'm into visiting "less traveled" places (Istanbul is also pretty high on the list). My best friend from childhood goes fairly regularly to visit family, so I would really want to go with her.

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  3. Oh wow Stephanie!! This is quite the story, it's amazing he was a doctor by 23. What an interesting history. I love how open you are and that you shared about your birth parents. I was curious when I started reading the post, if you are one to want to know about your birth parents. I'm always curious about that. I have to say India is not high on our travel list. I've seen beautiful pictures and all, but it just seems so stressful to travel about.

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  4. Does your dad feel sad that he now doesn't like it there? Do any of his family or friends come to visit you guys here? I can't imagine leaving this country and then not wanting to come back.


    I don't think I knew that your dad had other kids that you hated.


    So your you probably don't know...worked. LOL!

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  5. He does feel a little sad, he doesn't fit in there any more at all. He's very Americanized, but he appreciates his life here so much more. He has some friends who also moved here and he sees them, but no family comes to visit here. It's prohibitively expensive to fly back and forth to India. (In 2005, I think my dad spent $20k for all three of us to go.) His family just doesn't have that money. He does have one friend who has a daughter here in Chicago, and he does visit, but they're rich even by American standards!
    Yep, he has 3 kids, they're currently 45, 48, and 50. The older 2 are okay but I never see them, the youngest I totally hate.

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  6. Most people usually ask right away if I want to find my birth parents, it's a pretty common question. But nope, it's not something I care about!
    India is really pretty, at least the countryside. But I don't think it's a place most tourists would appreciate. It's just hard to travel there and around the cities once you get there.

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  7. If you're into the less traveled places, you would like it. I think it would definitely help to have a friend too! Mostly everyone does speak English, which I was not expecting, but we needed 'locals' to help with directions and to not get ripped off. But I guess that's true anywhere!

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  8. I'm trying to imagine what accent your dad would have, if any after all of those influences. What a great story! India sounds great to visit in theory (probably because I'm blinded by the food) but the poverty, terrifying monkeys, and crime make it a little less picturesque. Love that you're never afraid to share what you really think.

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  9. What an awesome story! Your dad definitely makes me feel lame...what an accomplished man he is! I'm sure you are fully aware, but you are very blessed to have such a great family and to top it off--to have been chosen to be in that family! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Always honest :) I would never want to send someone there without knowing what they're getting into. I know I have a less adventurous spirit than most, but it's still a rough trip that's not for the inexperienced. The monkeys are mean, man, they hiss at you and have no fear. Not cool.
    I don't think my dad has an accent but everyone else says he does and that it sounds Indian but not to the point of a Simpsons character. He's easier to understand than most Indian doctors. I dunno, I don't hear it haha

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  11. What a cool story! And I love your attitude about being adopted. I've known several people who were either adopted, or who didn't know one of their biological parents, and most of them felt conflicted about it. Obviously I don't know how I'd feel in that scenario, but I've always thought who and how you were raised is more important than anything biological (unless we're talking genetically inherited diseases or something).


    So many languages! I'll be happy if I just conquer Spanish.

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  12. He's done so much, I could never catch up! I am very blessed, I definitely have fantastic parents. It was lucky I got picked by a doctor too, I had weird health issues as a kid. Thank goodness it all worked out for the best!

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  13. The only time I ever wonder is when filling out health forms. 'History of breast cancer?' Shit, I don't know! But my dad did question my birth mom in the hospital and she didn't mention anything. So oh well! Just gotta get all checked out more often.
    Yeah I've never been conflicted. Maybe if I was adopted later in life? But my parents have had me since minutes after I was born. And they've done (and still do) everything for me - what more could you ask for? That sounds like family to me!

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  14. What an awesome story I'm sure you're so proud of him as he is of you!

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  15. I did know your dad was Indian because I've been reading for a while and I think you've posted a picture of him before. For some reason the picture of your mom surprised me, I pictured her differently in my head even if I've seen a picture of her before too.


    You crack me up with your I hate them and ignore them like a true only child would.

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  16. Love this post. So interesting to learn about stuff I wouldn't otherwise. And you're right, your parents got an awesome girl.

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  17. Thanks for sharing! I love getting to know you better. My dad's family is from India too and he's told my mom and I that he really doesn't want to take us there either. Oh well..

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  18. Caitlin @ Candyfloss & PersieJune 16, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    thanks for sharing this story- it's an awesome one. I always love reading about adoption as I love stories about choosing love- so great. And I also love stories about you hating your siblings and identifying as an only child, haha.

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  19. i love this story! i would also love to visit india - the culture, the FOOD...but it's just so dang far.

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  20. I loved reading this and learning more about you. I had no idea you were adopted. Your dad sounds awesome! :)

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  21. you know what i think it truly incredible- leaving a legacy online for your Dad. Writing down his history and showcasing his life is such a gift. While thanking them for being there for us is wonderful, this is not only an insight into him and his culture but to you as well.

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  22. This is such a cool story!

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  23. I don't even know how to properly comment on this because it's such an interesting story. All of it. I have many, many questions but I fear it'll come across more like an interrogation so I'll refrain.


    Your only child comment was hysterical as I'm married to an only child and have an only child and it really is a special way of thinking you all have.

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  24. such an awesome insight, thanks for sharing. love this post

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  25. I definitely am! He's led quite a life so far!

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  26. People think I look like my mom, maybe you were expecting someone less Irish looking haha.
    I do totally hate them. I make such a good only child.

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  27. Aw thanks Melanie ;) Not that I was fishing for compliments or anything... #guilty.

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  28. I think they know better than anyone the dangers associated with going back there. Plus for my dad, he's like 'no, it's dirty and poor and why would I leave America?' He loves it here.

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  29. I love adoption stories too. I love that you can pick your family :)
    I was definitely meant to be an only child. I'm so great at pretending that don't exist!

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  30. It IS far, the flight was brutal. The food is amazing though. Although, we have an Indian restaurant where my college is (Iowa City, Iowa) that my dad swears has the best Indian food he's had since his mother's cooking. Crazy, right?

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  31. I agree, I love to see where people come from and how their current family came to be. Thanks for reading :)

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  32. Aw thanks Michelle :) I agree, my dad is pretty awesome! Amazing to see how far he's come, even though I'm the one who typed it up.

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  33. Thanks for reading love! My dad is pretty awesome, I got very lucky.

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  34. Aww thanks Helene, you always make me smile :) I hope he likes it too, maybe I'll print it out for him! Thanks for hosting the link up, I promise to actually link my post on time haha

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  35. Your dad sounds like an amazing father and person! Sounds like it was good to experience his home country but no need to go back if you didn't fully enjoy it! Hope you get to spend Father's day with your day!

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  36. Haha please, ask away! Or interrogate :) I'm sure it's nothing I haven't answered before. People are always super curious so I welcome the questions.

    'a special way of thinking' hahaha if that ain't the truth. I have a couple of close friends who are only children, and we really are markedly different than my other friends!

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  37. He is amazing, I'm very lucky to have such an awesome dad. I am glad that I got to see how he grew up and meet that side of the family, but once was enough for me. It is cool to say 'yeah I've been to India!' though.
    Ha! In fact, my father will be partying it up in Atlantic City, while I pet sit their dogs. But he will be back late Sunday for dinner :)

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  38. Ahh, now it all makes sense. Remember me asking about your dad? Gotcha.

    My hubs is adopted as well; he was adopted at 2 weeks old and he doesn't care to know anything about his birth parents.

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  39. What a cool story and perfect for "you probably don't know!" So interesting that you were such a "big hit" as a baby in India (but yeah, I'm sure your mom wasn't happy). India isn't really on my travel bucket list, but I do love Indian food!

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  40. This is such a neat post! I definitely didn't know this about you!

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  41. The red hair threw me, I always assumed she was a blonde or a brunette for some reason.

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  42. Interesting! I'm adopted too, and my parents have 'papers' on me somewhere haha. I don't care to search for the bio fam either - that and "do you know Korean?" are pretty much the first questions people always ask!

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  43. That is really nice that you got to visit twice and see where he grew up! My Dad and his twin was adopted too. He sounds like he really made his own way.

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  44. That is so neat to learn about your dad's ethnicity. Funny, India is in my top 5 of Countries I Must See Before I Die. But I love seeing different cultures, especially when they are so different from what I'm used to.

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  45. Really interesting - all of it. I almost had to go to India for work a few years ago, glad I dodged that bullet :)

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  46. One... I loved that your parents were willing to adopt. I have friends who are having trouble getting pregnant right now and I want to ask them why they don't consider adoption (but don't... because hello emotional turmoil)... I'm pretty sure you appreciate that! ;) Interesting comments about India - all things I've heard. I always wanted to go visit with my friends whose families are there - but probably not on my own... because of the safety things you mention. Your dad sounds like an incredible man - happy Father's day to him in all the languages!! (Love that!!)

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  47. I never knew this about you! What an interesting read!

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  48. Crazy!!! Didn't know. I think its awesome though.

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  49. I figured if you had questions, probably everyone else did too!
    Maybe it's something with babies adopted at birth? We've never known anything else so we're not really interested in going looking for it?

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  50. I'm happy getting my Indian food here in Chicago! It was an experience, but once was enough.
    Haha yeah my mom was so mad. They were 2 minutes off the plane and someone in the airport tried to grab me. She wanted to turn around and go home!

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  51. Thanks Katie! I'm glad you liked it :)

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  52. haha, I thought it was just my crazy parents with the 'papers.' It's literally a folder that says Stephanie's Pedigree on it, right next to my mom's first dog's folder labeled Crystal's Pedigree. Gotta love her.
    I actually never get asked if I speak any of the languages in India. I'm sure it would come up if it were the other way (I was Indian, dad was white.) But 'do you want to find your birth parents' is absolutely always the first question asked.

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  53. It was good to go when I was older so I could really see and understand everything. He definitely made his own way and worked so hard.
    I didn't know your dad was adopted too, that's awesome.

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  54. Is it really? I hardly ever hear anyone say it's on their travel list! Well you will love it then, it's totally different and wild.

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  55. India for work?! That's rare! Yeah, I'd say you're lucky to have dodged it. It's rough, I bet it would be even harder going without someone who really knows the area too.

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  56. I love adoption! I actually think it's getting harder and more expensive to adopt, so maybe it's a cost thing for them? And sometimes men just really really want to have a kid that's 'theirs' and they aren't willing to budge. But my mom always says one of the best parts of being my mom is no stretch marks! So adopt adopt adopt :)
    I definitely think if you're going to go, it has to be with people who live there/have relatives there. It's very difficult otherwise. It's a pretty wild adventure if you're up for it though!

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  57. Thanks Jasmine! I'm so glad you liked it.

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  58. WOW! You're so fascinating! What a cool family history! I studied for 4 weeks in Bangalore and totally agree with you about the wild-ass country :) It's really neat that you got to see where your Dad grew up, even if you both don't particularly care for it.
    Why did your parents decide to adopt?
    Has your family in India ever expressed a desire to come to the states?
    What made your dad choose America- especially over a Westernized European country?

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  59. Thanks for exposing to us newbs :P

    Yeah I think that must be it.. His parents are his parents and no need to go in search of something in unknown waters. All Jeff knows is his moms name and that's it. He tried to get medical records pulled for any medical related issues but nothing popped up. Oh well. That's as far as it'll go and that's perfectly fine.

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  60. Absolutely. I was thisclose to going there for work, but our company pulled out the last minute. I was bummed!

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  61. I love this post. I too am adopted and I always feel this weird kinship to people I find out are as well. It's kind of like this exclusive, very cool club. I've known since I was very young that I was adopted. My parents never hid it from me. Like you, my parents are older. My dad was born in 1942....I'm 28. My boyfriends grandmother is literally 2 years older than my dad. I've never met my birth family. I thought about it briefly when I was 18 but I guess I really don't feel the need. I have an awesome family that loves me and I know that I am so very lucky. My life could have easily turned out different.

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  62. Well this is a very good bet you didn't know topic!! I have never been overseas, just to Canada. I did date an Indian guy for awhile...so I got schooled in the culture some by him and by my own research. It is cool that you got to see where your dad grew up so you weren't left wondering!

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  63. I had no idea you were adopted, or that your dad was Indian - so awesome! Although I want to travel the world, India isn't really on my radar.

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  64. "except dolls, all they feel is evil and hatred." hahahaha fact. scary little demons.

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  65. I'm so glad you shared this! Hopefully this doesn't come off as super creepy, but I do remember reading before that your dad was Indian. I always assumed he was a stepfather, though, and maybe you didn't have a relationship with your biological father (because, as you said, you're clearly not Indian).


    I know that India isn't for everyone, but it's on my travel bucket list (and, luckily for me, my husband's as well). Did you travel to any areas outside of Mysore/Bangalore?

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  66. I had no clue there were monkeys roaming around. That seems odd. In my ex husbands family the biological children are all out numbered by the adoptive kids. Of his moms siblings they all have at least 1 adopted child.

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  67. Your feelings about adoption are really interesting to me, since the only other adopted person I know is my mother, who doesn't have any information about her birth family and has always had anxiety around that part of her life. She has always insisted that her feelings about being adopted are universal (which is how she thinks about most of her feelings, honestly), so it's good to hear that for other people, it's not as fraught as it is for her

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  68. I always read all these posts about how amazing India is so it's weird to hear someone say it's terrible lol. Reality V. glamorized views I guess? Can we get a post on why you dislike your father's other kids? Or why he got remarried? Sorry if that's too personal, no worries, but it's curious. Thanks for sharing so much interesting personal info. Your family is lovely and very well traveled!




    stop by and chat if you like :) http://storybookapothecary.com ♥

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  69. I knew that you were adopted, but I didn't know all this about your dad. That is so cool. I love it!

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  70. That's crazy awesome - I had no idea your father was Indian. Yeah it does suck over there - my friend thinks if she hosts her wedding in Bangladesh, which is South East of India, that I'll go - but there's no fucking way I would. People hear the word "American" and think "ca-ching" I don't like to go anywhere that sign lights up more than it should. I prefer to go places no one is phased by it.. Like London or somewhere similar. Ain't nobody got time for muggings or kidnappings. Thank goodness you're oK! Hope your fathers' day was awesome! Why do you hate his 3 kids? lOl. Take Care Stephanie! -Iva

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  71. I don't think I knew you were adopted. What an amazing family you have!

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  72. What a great post! I also didn't realize your dad was Indian or that you were adopted. Very cool story! I've actually been to India, but we were in Northern India for a friend's wedding and they're very "comfortable," especially by Indian standards. The farthest down I've been was Goa, which I absolutely loved, though I'm with you on not really wanting to go back! I do have a question- did the Indian general populace try to touch you a lot? Because I went with a group of "white" friends, and everyone was trying to touch them, especially my friend with blonde hair. It was like they saw an escaped zoo animal and kinda freaked my friend out!

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  73. This is such a cool story. I love getting to know you through your blog, and I'm always totally amazed by how awesome and unique you are. This just adds to it.

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  74. (1) they actually didn't decide to adopt - they had no intention of any kids at all. Just got wheeled into the hospital when I was born and my dad said 'God told me this was my baby' and he adopted me on the spot; told my mom later!
    (2) the younger generations, yes. Pretty much any one of my relatives younger than myself wants to come here ASAP. They're fascinated, though I explain it's really not what it looks like in the movies!
    (3) After the British moved out of India, my dad didn't have a desire to go back to a British ruled country. America always appealed to him and his mother, so he decided it would be the best fit!

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  75. I agree, it is a very cool club! Adopted kids are the best :) I've always known as well, but it's pretty obvious when you look at my parents and then at me! That is crazy about your boyfriends grandmother, I definitely see how it's possible though. I never think of my dad being that much older than normal but he is.
    I totally agree with you about being lucky. Who knows where I could have ended up if my birth mother kept me when she clearly didn't really want me/couldn't care for me? I'm very thankful she went to the hospital my dad worked at!

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  76. It was nice to be able to see it all in person, to see how far he's come all on his own. I'm glad I got to experience it all firsthand, but once was definitely enough! I'll still eat Indian food here in Chicago though :)

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  77. It's definitely not a great travel destination for the faint of heart. I haven't heard of it being on many bucket lists! I'm glad I got to experience it, but if my dad wasn't from there it would definitely have been a no go.

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  78. Haha not creepy at all, I'm honored you read closely enough to have remembered :)
    I can't believe it's on your list! So rare to hear that. We didn't travel too far outside of that area. We did when I was a baby since my mom wanted to see the Taj Mahal, but obviously I don't remember that! But we didn't go back there in 2005, because that area tends to be more dangerous than the Bangalore area.

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  79. Monkeys everywhere. The hiss at you and are super mean and just hang out in the middle of the highway like 'nope. go around suckas.'
    I had no idea about your ex's family! That's kind of a neat family history they have going.

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  80. It's really never been an issue for me! It is for some people, like your mom, but I don't feel like it's nearly as universal as she thinks. Maybe for older generations? For myself and my friends my age who are also adopted, it really isn't a big thing. I enjoy knowing that my parents wanted me so much they adopted me :) I feel special!

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  81. Haha glamorized views is what it is! It seems better once you get home, but also I think it's probably that Americans don't want to talk bad about another country and seem uncultured or stuck up or something. But I try to be honest!
    There's no real story on why I dislike them (not long enough for a post anyway.) They just aren't good people - start a lot of family drama, that kind of thing. Same for why he got remarried, his ex was very dramatic as well! They got married way too young. On the other hand, my mom is laid back, easy to get along with, no drama, and didn't get married until she was 29 and my dad was 42. Total opposite haha!

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  82. Aw thanks :) I love when my friends can learn something new here!

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  83. Aw thank you! I am very lucky :)

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  84. haha yes! At first I thought it was just my dad's family, they had mostly baby pictures of me and were so excited for me to come, but then I realized pretty much everyone wanted to touch me. The hair was a big thing! My mom was totally freaked out but I felt like it was fair - I was staring at them wondering how the women keep those beautiful saris on while they ride side saddle on a moped while carrying a baby, dodging all the cows in the roads. Things I will never understand!

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  85. Aw thank you! You always make me smile :) I'm so glad you're still learning new things about me!

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  86. i loved reading this post. to be honest, i've never had a desire to travel to india, not in a bad way, just not interested. mean monkeys sound terrifying. your dad sounds awesome, way better than mine. and good to know adopted kids turn out awesome. my father has 4 other kids, 2 of them i like enough to be facebook friends with, the other 2 hate us because we stole their dad.. um not my fault my dad was a whore. lol. anyway, super interesting post - thanks for sharing!

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  87. The monkeys were totally terrifying. NOT cute little zoo monkeys at all.
    LOL at your dad being a whore. I actually don't think it works both ways, as far as my siblings - they like me. Back when I had facebook, my sister tried to add me but I rejected her. Haha oh well.

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  88. It's really great that you're so down to earth and real. that's hard to find these days! Thanks for sharing your story!!

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  89. I love love love this post. I had no clue you were adopted or that your dad is indian. What a beautiful story and history.
    Ive been to India and didn't love it. I have several posts about it on the blog. I went to Hyderabad and Mumbai. I always say I should go back because I don't think I gave it a fair shot but .. didn't love it. Still an experience that Im thankful for though.


    Cool to learn about your siblings though. Have you ever met them or has it just never been a good relationship? Just curious. Whatever the answer - you have a really great dad!

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