AJ Bryant is an Indian adoptee from Kerala, commonly referred to as “God’s Own Country,” if only by himself. He is one of three children from India adopted by David and Robyne Bryant in the 1980’s. He spent his formative years surrounded by stocky Midwestern boys, and with his brown skin and scrawny body felt out of place frequently in Madison, Wisconsin. When he was 13 his family moved to Central New Jersey, a virtual melting pot of cultures and races, where being Indian was a relatively common ethnicity. While pretending he was not Indian, and being shunned by the Indian-American community, he also managed to graduate from high school.
He took up residence for the next four years in Delaware, attending the University of Delaware and graduating with degrees in political science and journalism. His entire family visited India in 2001 and the trip changed his life, his identity and the trajectory of his passions henceforth.
He moved to Washington, DC in 2005. After years of realizing that DC was full of educated over-achievers he decided to join them by getting his own MA degree. He graduated with a Master’s in International Peace and Conflict Resolution in 2011.
He’s been involved in the adoption community since 2006. He began a blog in 2009 called “WorldCitizens” sharing his story and his evolution of thought as an Indian adoptee. He also speaks on panels and is contemplating writing a book.
In 2011, he spent nearly five months in India working with the Dalit community. The experience conjured up every emotion imaginable and stamped a love of his birth-culture on his life in more concrete way than ever before.
The most impactful consequence of his Indian experience was meeting Sasmita, his co-worker at Dalit Foundation the Delhi NGO where he interned. He and Sasmita will marry in the summer of 2012 and live in Washington, D.C.
Among his many hobbies, tying a perfect Windsor-tie knot, classical piano and international cooking are all at the top of his list. He also really likes walrus for an unknown reason.
AJ is passionate about hearing other adoptees stories, showing that adoption has two sides, taking back the voice of the marginalized adoptee voice and adding his experience and thoughts to the adoption arena.