• I Am But I'm Not

Sharing My Story

Updated: Jul 13, 2018

Like so many international adoptees, my life story began at the airport. I was always told that I arrived to the US with other adoptees from my orphanage, but I was never told who they were nor did my family make an effort to keep in touch with them. As a result, it never crossed my mind that I would actually meet and reunite with so many others adoptees from my first home. That all changed during last summer. After meeting about 7 fellow adoptees from Society for Child Development, I felt like another piece to my puzzle fit perfectly. I was thrilled to listen to stories of their childhood, meet their families, and share photos. 

Shalisa and Barry filmed our summer gathering and I was so grateful that they were capturing our reunion on film. Later that year, Shalisa had asked if I would personally participate in their documentary highlighting how our transracial experiences affected the development of our racial identity. Assuming that everybody else at the reunion was going to be asked, I simply agreed to participate. Later to my surprise, they decided that the film was going to only feature three of us women, Shalisa, Ameeta and myself. The anxiety kicked in. The pressure to talk about my personal story came back. Was I ready to share my personal life again to strangers? Was I ready to talk about  my family again? Was I ready to possibly be misunderstood again? Was I ready to face my pain and grief that has settled these last few years? Although my body was telling me to call Shalisa to cancel, I knew I would regret it later. I had to remind myself that it is my responsibility to share my experience in hopes to create a better life for those adoptees that come after me. After all, nobody is better to educate on the adoption experiences more than us adoptees.  The time to begin filming had arrived. Shalisa and her team flew me out to Texas to meet up with Ameeta and shoot our interviews. I had a great experience getting to know everybody. The whole film crew had been touched by foster care and/or adoptions in their personal life, so sharing my story in their presence was comforting. I was well taken care of (Lots of vegan food!) and was given time and space to enjoy each moment. The most meaningful part of my time in Texas was when Shalisa, Ameeta and I were able to spend time together comparing and contrasting our childhood experiences that we had growing up in different states, communities, and religions. We laughed and shared some of our deepest secrets with one another. We became dear friends, friends I now consider my sisters.  I look forward to continue filming and sharing how I am now critically thinking about the financial business of adoption, coercion by the church and adoption agencies, family preservation efforts, systemic racism within adoption/foster care, suicide rates, addiction rates, and of course the trauma of being separated from biological family members at any age. I hope that my contributions to this film will help elevate the adoptee/foster care and first family voices.

- Nisha

Film / youfollowthefilm.com Blog / theadopteediary.com Email / nishagrayson@gmail.com