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5 questions I'm constantly asked about being adopted and what I want you to know.

My name is Ruchi Page, and I am adopted from Calcutta, India. 

Although the process was planned, my arrival date was not, so I surprisingly arrived in Melbourne on Christmas day, 1993 at the ripe age of four months old and continued to be raised in Australia. 

My Aussie family saturated me with love, generosity and values which filled my life with support and opportunity. 

Thanks fam. 

Watch: Parents describe what led them to adopt. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

To be honest, I don’t know my life any other way. Makes sense right? But from childhood to adulthood my adoption story (or ‘how did I get here’ explanation) would unfold through conversations and seemed to astonish/confuse many faces. 

I can confidently confirm that each time I have either been asked about my origin or explained my adoption, the following five questions have been asked in this exact order. 

Here’s what I want you to know, as an adopted person.

1. “Do you know your real parents?” 

Yes I do, my parents raised me here in Australia. My biological parents however, are unknown and I have minimal to zero information on their details. 

This can vary, as some adopted people have access to every ounce of information but in my case, nada. Some may find this strange, but I am okay with the lack of information. 

Listen: When Andrew Met Anne: A son's story of adoption. Post continues below. 

Of course it would be other-worldly to simply know my biological mother and fathers’ names, age, appearances, etc. It would be magical, really. But my identity has been shaped by good people which consequently left me feeling whole. 

I always understand the intention behind this question, however at times it can be asked through a distorted lens; as though my adoptive parents are not as capable to fit the parental role because our bloodline doesn’t match. 

So, in short: yep my real parents are the ones that raised me but my biological parents are unknown.  

2. “I’m sorry, are you okay?” 

I am absolutely okay. Nothing bad happened, in fact in my case only great things happened. I have another shot at life in a country that gives so much. Keep in mind, my experience has been positive, but this is not the same for every adopted person. 

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I don’t know my life to be any different, nor do I feel like I have lost any part of my identity growing up in a family that didn’t give birth to me. I felt more confused about my career choice than understanding my roots. 

Growing up, new friends or even strangers would seem saddened that I was adopted which quickly screamed that the world of adoption or mixed families was lacking in conversations. I further learned the idea of a ‘normal’ Australian family is painted as a Caucasian household where each individual’s features are reflected amongst each other.

Because I didn’t fit that specific mould and the way I ‘should’ have been brought into this world was different, it was assumed that sadness would be my core emotion on this topic. My advice would be, listen to the person telling their adoption story and read their tone of voice and conversation before asking if they’re okay.  

3. “Why are your parents white and you’re brown?” 

Ahh, yes a true classic. 

One example I vividly remember was in my teenage years. I invited some new friends over to my home, introduced them to my parents, quickly went to the bathroom to only come back to a cluster of whispers, “just ask her,” and awkward faces.

Image: Supplied 

At first I thought they were playing a harmless prank. But then I was asked the million dollar question. My response was always simple, “oh, I’m adopted from India”. Awkward faces continued. We were young, and I never expected anyone to know, but I can confirm that this feels quite invasive in adulthood. 

I suppose there is always a polite and non-polite way of asking a question. 

In this case, I would have preferred, “if you don’t mind me asking, what is your family’s background?” The assumptions made about my placement in an all-white household slipped through the cracks at times and I found my sense of belonging being questioned. Thankfully, I had a support system to realign with and communicate my fears and concerns.  

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4. “Is it weird that you don’t look like anyone in your family?”

This is a frequent question. When you are adopted into a family that has created a space of safety and belonging, the physical differences are not a form of separation. They are simply present without any strings attached.

When I look at my mum and dad, I see my mum and dad. I learned that I don’t need to physically replicate my parents for them to be my parents. And whilst I may not carry visual features of my adoptive family, I certainly notice similar traits via actions, thought processes and coping skills that have been handed down. 

In saying this, I would find it fascinating to possibly meet my biological mother and father and soak up any shared, physical similarities or traits. That is definitely something I have dreamt about, but hardly yearned. 

5. “When did you know you were adopted?”

This is something I have always understood. From a young age, my parents educated me on my story and we even created a picture book together, honing in on each special part of the process. 

From the what, why, when and how; this was no secret, and my adoption became a part of my identity. It is extremely important to note that each individual’s adoption story is unique. 

Some may not have known until later in life, whereas others have been submerged into the knowledge since they were a child. I am personally grateful to have always known about the adoption process and learning the emotions felt when my parents and brothers received the sudden phone call that I was arriving Christmas Day. 

For more from Ruchi Page, follow her on Instagram.

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Feature image: Supplied.

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