A person’s genetic heritage is a major influence and contributing factor of that person’s overall make-up. It is a determinant of many things; likes, dislikes, medical predispositions, physical traits, as well as aspects of personality. Knowledge of heritage helps to “complete” a person. For people who are adopted, especially adopted internationally, it is even more important as they are not immersed in their birth culture on a daily basis.
For Rani Weatherby, visiting her native country “completed” her. She was born in India but adopted at 2 months by an American family. Rani grew up in Seattle and recently started her singer/songwriter career, singing jazz and the blues. She accompanies her music with an Ukulele which she taught herself how to play. She is working on a full-length album to hopefully be released next year.
Rani recently completed her first trip back to India where she performed, singing several songs at the American Center in Kolkata, where she was born. Not only was she overtaken by the love of her native country, she was able to experience things she never had before in her life. Rani said, ”This has been a really magical trip for me, something I have dreamed about for so long. I can see people who look like me; this is something that doesn’t happen in my area. This is a special feeling that my friends, even some of my family members cannot understand.”
A sense of belonging, of fitting “in,” is a feeling that everyone wants to experience. In International adoption, it is important that the adopted child be exposed to the values of their native culture as much as possible. Examples would include exposure to artwork, food, holiday celebrations, and cultural events that exist in your local area. Obviously, this will not completely take the place of their native country, but any aspects that can be incorporated are beneficial for the child who was adopted as well as the entire family.
This trip was hopefully the first of many back to India for Rani. She hopes to take a longer visit to India soon.