“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt – it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.” -Hal Boyle
I am ecstatic about and humbled by the opportunity to join the brilliant crew at Land of Gazillion Adoptees as a contributor. As a non-adoptee, I am most enthusiastic about the challenges to my preconceptions (adoption-related and otherwise) that this site has come to represent. I have long believed that the only thing more limiting than defining ourselves for others is allowing others to define us. I also believe that we are at our best when we are transcending arbitrary limitations. If anything about me represents a qualification to write about race, culture & identity (and other stuff) for this site, it is the confluence of those beliefs. I hope to go a step or two further by contributing my willingness to ask difficult questions and explore difficult, unexpected, and challenging answers with an open mind. As always, I’m excited by the journey, and I hope to bring both my exuberance and duende to the voyage in equal measures.
Farnad received his Ph.D. in sociology from Wayne State University, his Master of Arts in Sociology from Humboldt State University, in Arcata, California, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. His areas of specialization include social psychology and identity, social theory (macro and micro), Islam and gender, marriage and family studies, the sociology of religion, and broader gender studies. He has taught at Eastern Michigan University, the University of Maryland – College Park, and for the NCPACE program teaching aboard U.S. Navy ships on deployment. Some of his research opportunities have included: assessing gun use among juveniles in New Mexico, the study of good and evil prosocial behavior and altruism, and the Holocaust, evaluation research on retention among high-risk youth at Humboldt State University, evaluation research on the delivery of intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, and evaluation of an after-school academic enrichment program with Higher Achievement Program in Washington, DC. His academic research includes transnational adoption and identity among adult Korean adoptees, and Iranian American cultural identity formation.
A young Indian woman by the name of Amruta gave birth to her first daughter in Goa, India. Due to her young age and other unknown factors, Amruta was blessed and given the rare opportunity to give up her personal rights as a mother and relinquish Nisha for adoption.
About six months later, Nisha was adopted into an American family from Idaho. Randall and Stephanie Grayson were a young married couple with a seven year old biological daughter named Randa. After a couple of years of consistently following the strict guidelines, they received a baby picture of Nisha with a note stating that they will be welcoming their new baby girl to their family soon.
While growing up, Nisha played sports, took dance lessons, played some instruments, and attended school up until she graduated from San Diego State University in 2007. She remained in San Diego, until her and her friends decided to take a trip to India to help Nisha begin her search for Amruta in 2009. Since this was an “impossible journey” Nisha and her friends decided to film the adventure to later share with her family and friends. After two months in India, Nisha came back with many leads and a lot of hope that she will return to India one day and meet the woman who gave birth to her.
Until then, Nisha will continue to help produce the film, model for a local talent agency, art classes, and music videos. In between her time back and forth from San Francisco for auditions, she is a substitute teacher for the Natomas Unified School District. Nisha also began to act out her passion for painting. Over the summer she began to volunteer at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, which has now turned into an internship with the Facility Use Department. Nisha is a daughter, sister, auntie, cousin, friend, and lover. Nisha has been spending the last couple of years enhancing her relationships with others and her relationship with herself.
Jared is a Vietnamese adoptee. He is known as a singer songwriter, speaker and inspiring filmmaker. Currently he is the proud Camp Director at Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families based in Denver, Colorado for the Vietnamese camp. Jared is also a founder of Watch Adoptee Films (WAF) and a board member of Dallas based non-profit Against The Grain Productions. Jared lives in Queens, NY with his wife Ying.
An adoptee living in Seoul, South Korea.