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”