A Stranger No More

I am from a country of more than a billion people
From Indian and Pakistani roots

I am from a place of many hands and caregivers but no one to call Mom and Dad

I am from spices, colorful saris, traditions focused on light 
From zesty smells of turmeric, ginger, and cardamom

I am from a woman who claimed me and loves me, yet I don’t get to be near

I am from many miles and plane rides away
From a land of poverty, thirst, hunger, and people who are without homes

I am from an orphanage with many Didi’s and a faithful couple, Mohinder and Achala

I am from a caste system that still hauntingly exists today
From erasure and genocide

I am from a small, sports-centered town in Wisconsin, where everyone knew everyone
From a family, school, and town that didn’t mirror me

I am from a place where brown skin wasn’t valued or affirmed but rather mocked and devalued

I am from a family that celebrated traditional holidays, ate midwest casseroles, and gardened
From a family system that was oppressed by shame, contempt, and darkness

I am from a home that was quiet and isolated

I am from a street with more than seventy kids who played all day in the sun
From a childhood of curiosity and never-ending wondering and questions

I am from a lineage where college wasn’t an option or possibility

I am from a fierce and lovely people group whose resilience exists within my blood and bones
From defiant hope and life that can not be destroyed

I am from a life centered around adventures and taking risks
From a new beginning, a new name, a new story

I am a stranger no more

Sandhya Oaks is a ministry leader, speaker, writer, and advocate. Born in India and adopted as a Transracial Adoptee in the Midwest, she has been serving with Cru Campus Ministry for more than 13 years and loves developing students and staff. She is the co-founder of The Adoption Triad, a social media group that provides community and resources to those connected to adoption and foster care. Her passion to walk with adoptive families is being lived out through leading virtual Transracial Adoption Parent Groups with Restoration Counseling. Sandhya recently moved to Colorado and spends her free time camping, sipping coffee with friends, and creating tasty charcuterie boards.