This Could Have Been Me

After years of curiosity, 26-year-old Indian adoptee Shabana Deckinga travels to the country of her birth — bringing unexpected healing, and putting some long-held fears to rest.

Shabana poses for a picture with staff members at BSSK, the orphanage in Pune where she lived before coming home to her family.

I set out on the trip back to India 24 years after my adoption. I was 2 and a half years old when I was adopted and at 26, my family and I made the long, 8,500-mile journey back. As I told my mom during the trip, it did not feel like a vacation, but rather a pilgrimage to my birthplace. Although I had no memories of India or the orphanage, I had grown up with stories – my parents wanting me to be aware of my heritage. So I really had no idea what to expect going back, having only a romanticized view from books I had read. There was a lot of anxiety, unease and excitement leading up to the trip, and some old fears from childhood resurfaced.

I was not another tourist there and did not experience India with that mindset. Continue reading “This Could Have Been Me”

Special In All The Right Ways

When Sunita Schroader came home from India at 3 years old, it quickly became apparent that she was learning challenged. Through hard work and perseverance, however, Sunita successfully overcame the challenges she faced — graduating high school as a member of the Class of 2014. Last year, she was also featured on stage at a Winter Jam concert as a once-Holt sponsored child, now a thriving young woman poised for success.

Sunita as a little girl in Bombay.

She cried the first time she saw us. That day, as a 3-year-old at Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra (BSSK), Holt’s partner organization in Pune, India, she understood enough to know her life was about to change. It was my birthday, and my husband had told someone. So they prepared a card for her to give to me.  She was coaxed into handing it to this strange woman with blonde hair, and so began a new life for each of us. We brought her home to join our family — with two bio sons — and a life of love in a modest home in western Kentucky. Continue reading “Special In All The Right Ways”