There’s someone I really think you need to know. Her name is Reshma and she has an incredibly beautiful, and familiar, story.
Reshma was abandoned in the slums of Calcutta in March of 1980. Her parents, in Oregon, were awaiting the arrival of a baby girl named Ruby. They were notified at the last minute that Ruby had died and Reshma was being sent in her place. They were then informed that Reshma had been abandoned in the slums and initially wasn’t expected to survive. At 3 months old she weighed just 7lbs. But Reshma did survive and was united with her parents in the states.
Reshma grew up in Portland, Oregon with her parents and two brothers. She describes her home environment as wonderful and stable, and she maintains a close relationship with her parents and brothers today. But, as a child she struggled with being adopted primarily because of the blatant physical differences between herself and the rest of her family. Reshma says, “I wanted so badly to look like them because I felt like them; I knew I belonged with in my family but our skin color separated me from them in the eyes of the world.”
Reshma never felt any level of disconnect with her family but once she gave birth to her own daughter she had a growing desire to have a deeper connection to her own heritage and roots. Reshma describes this longing… “I’ve often said I have no need for someone to fulfill the role as mom and dad as I have incredible parents, but I do need to understand my history because I know so much of me derives from the place where my life began. There was never a lack of love, acceptance or affection in my home; my parents both love me as if I were biologically their own but the fact that we do not share genes does leave an empty space within me that I’d like to fill.”
Reshma doesn’t know if her biological mother is alive or not – her search is more for an understanding of her culture; of their culture. Because of the connection Reshma has with her own daughter, her first biological relative, she now longs for some level of connection to the woman who gave birth to her. I cannot understand Reshma’s journey on a personal level, but I can relate knowing that my children will feel this struggle someday when they are older. Someday they will have questions about where they came from and that longing to know all the details of who they are will be strong. As their mother, I want to be standing with them when that happens. I want to lovingly support their own search for answers as they seek to find the connection between their heritage and history.
We don’t talk about birth families outside our home much because we feel so deeply that these stories are our children’s stories. I want to give them the respect and space to do what Reshma has done – come to a decision and a journey on their own time table. Their stories aren’t mine to share. But I do want to explain my perspective as an adoptive mother in this equation: I feel no threat from Reshma’s story. I feel no competition or angst knowing that she is seeking her heritage and longing for connection with her birth mother. I feel so many things for my children’s birth families and not one of those feelings leads to insecurity in my role as their mother. There is room in their lives for all of us. There is enough love for us all.
Reshma is raising funds through a kickstarter campaign to journey back to Calcutta and discover where she came from. Her journey will be documented in film and then entered into festivals and I think it’s just beautiful that Reshma is inviting us into her story and her life. If you do nothing else today head over there and watch the short video. I’ll end with these words from Reshma…
“I think I’m really able to delve into this so fully because I have the support of my parents and because they’ve given me such a firm foundation and understanding of what it is to be a family whether there are genetic ties or not. I’m writing a book about my life and testimony as it pertains to being an adoptee; first, out of obedience because I feel the Lord told me to write, and second because I wish I had my book to read when I was growing up. I felt so alone in my thoughts despite being surrounded by love and I want to help ease that burden and heartache in other adoptees.”
If you’d like to learn more about Reshma and her story you can find her on facebook, on her blog, and you can learn more about her project on her kickstarter page.