gallery Dear Adoption, You Are a Contradiction



Dear Adoption, You Are a Contradiction

She decided to keep me just to give me up. I was born in Bangalore, India to a loving young mother. She was a young servant girl, scared for hers and my future; she considered selling me or having an abortion. She was approached by a family of lovely ladies who ran an orphanage and helped kids find homes in America; so my mother decided to keep me. She decided to keep me which meant she was going to leave me. This was the start of the contradiction. For 9 beautiful months I was hers…oh so hers. I bonded with her, heard her comforting voice, and felt her love and acceptance. I co-experienced her deep pain, sorrow and the loss she was preparing for. Fighting for me only to give me up. I felt her worries of a young mother in a horrible situation, grieving her pain of losing me; saving me at the same time.

The day I was born was the day I died. I died not only as an Indian child, but I died emotionally. The life I was meant for was stolen from me. The day she placed me in the orphanage’s arms I gained life, but also died. I was abandoned and left. My 9 months of pure mother’s love was gone just like that and I was thrown into a world of confusion, hate and constant fear. What next? Who is next? What did I do wrong? Didn’t she want me? Little did I know how this contradiction would grow and taunt me throughout my life. Adoption, you created a world of unknown. In a way I die every single day I live.

Adoption, you gave me a choice of no choice. I was torn in two and would forever carry the scars, never to regain a love so pure. I cried out for her over and over asking for her and longing to feel her warm touch; to hear her gentle voice. I sobbed in anger. How could she? As long as we had each other we could’ve made it! I know we could have! A life without her isn’t a life at all. It’s pain and hurt. I was given away to my orphanage family who in turn let a family in India take care of me for periods of times until I was 11 months old. But all I have ever wanted was my mother.

Adoption, you told me I was never wanted, but an adoptive family wanted me. In one day I lost my entire family, and a year later I gained a whole new family with the pound of a gavel. People say, “Two World’s, One Family” but I say, “Two World’s, Two Families”. But who is this other family? Who is this other me? Being adopted is like someone picking you for a lead role in a play you didn’t try out for. I have landed a role and have immense stage fright. What if I mess up? What if I forget my lines? What if I get booed off the stage? Will I connect with the other cast members? As play practice continues I become comfortable with the script and some days the performance is a smashing hit! I have learned how to interact with the other actors and have had fun dressing up in costumes, and have learned the art to the makeup. Putting on a mask has disguised the daily loneliness, pain, and missing her…my mother. After the performance I rush into the shower anxious to see if the makeup comes off, or has it stained my skin? As the water cleanses my skin, I feel human again. I am relieved to see my natural self, to feel honest and true in this moment. Tears flow down my cheeks as my emotions peak and I am overwhelmed. I look in the mirror and see just me, but I’m unsure who me really is. Too tired to debate I cuddle in my bed wishing she….my mother was here to tell me. I close my eyes and envision her holding me, caressing my hair, telling me not to worry and that everything will be OK and that she misses me dearly. I gaze up into her eyes to begin the long list of questions I have for her, but she stops me and says, “My dear child I love you and you must rest for you have an encore tomorrow”.

Home is where the Heart Is. My whole life I have felt lost and heartbroken. I am torn. All I have ever wanted was the life with my family in the city of Bangalore, India! To know who I am and to feel peace, to live without a mask and to have answers. My life in India would have been rough, but I would choose it in a heart beat just to be with my mother. My heart is in India, but my life is here in America. I have had many amazing experiences, I have traveled, I have a great job, college education, and good friends and family in my life. I have been married for 7 years and am so blessed to have my husband’s love and affection. We have two adorable children who have made me whole! I have so much good in my life and I am happy. Often when I am happy I feel guilty. Guilty for not being there for my mother. Do I abandon her when I am happy? Am I being untrue to who I am? Does my happiness define who am I? It’s weird, I feel like a walking betrayal. I would give anything to know my mother and my life India, but if I was there I wouldn’t have my husband and children! I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

I live in contradiction. I hope as I live out this contradiction I will make my mother proud and that I continue to find myself. In a way I can be whoever I want to be; I can put on different masks or try out for different plays. I can be both, I can choose to be me! I can have two families and two lives! Two hearts Two homes!

Kalinda Peterson and her loving husband are raising two beautiful children; she considers herself truly blessed. She works in the medical field and is an advocate for children who are victims of sex trafficking. Kalinda also teaches about trafficking prevention. She loves being outside and traveling; her favorite place is by the ocean where she loves the sunshine and gentle breeze and treasures the calming and refreshing rain. Kalinda is excited to see the stories of adoptees and finds comfort in them. She believes it is important to validate the voices of adoptees; good, bad, and challenging as they may be.


  1. Being adopted is like someone picking you for a lead role in a play you didn’t try out for. I have landed a role and have immense stage fright. What if I mess up? What if I forget my lines? You put it so well. Thank you.


  2. Beautiful. “My life in India would have been rough, but I would choose it in a heartbeat just to be with my mother.” This is how all of us adoptees feel. Better to live under a bridge in a cardboard box with my mother than with Angelina Jolie in a penthouse on Central Park. I’m fortunate to have been in reunion for half my life. It doesn’t take away the scars but it is enormously healing. Many people, even in India, are having luck finding their kin through DNA testing. Kalinda, have you tried to find your mother? I wish you good luck and blessings.


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