Questions on Adoption from the Gut-wrenching end to the Sherin Mathews saga

Americans and Indian Americans alike have been following the saga of Sherin Mathews, the sweet baby girl, that went missing from the home of her adopted parents in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Today, the media is reporting that

Police have found a body in the search for a three-year-old girl who went missing after her father reportedly sent her out of the house at 3am as a punishment.

Sherin Mathews has been missing since October 7 after being left in an alley by her home in Dallas, Texas, for refusing to finish her milk.

Police said the remains of a child had been found yesterday in a tunnel around half a mile from the family’s home. Officers said the body was “most likely” that of the missing toddler and efforts to officially identify it are underway today.

Sherin Mathews, who has been missing since October 7 CREDIT: RICHARDSON TEXAS POLICE DEPARTMENT

Wesley Mathews a native of Kerala in India and his wife Sini adopted the toddler’s from India. She was reportedly malnourished when the Mathews adopted her and police suspect that the little girl also had disabilities, which made it difficult for her to communicate. The three-year-old was last seen when her father reportedly took her outside at 3 AM and made her stand near a tree behind the family’s house as a type of punishment for not drinking milk.

Sherin Mathews saga does not end here, but rather raises more questions:

  • About parenting: The area behind the house is wooded and infested with wild coyotes.  What would possess a parent to leave a three-year-old near the house at 3 AM “as a type of punishment for not drinking milk” ?
  • About adoption: Adopting a child is hard enough (link). Will stories like this make it harder for innocent parents to adopt children from abroad?
  • About Indian-Americans: Incidents like these throw a spotlight on the South-Asian, Indian-American and NRI community. Not all the media attention will be positive.

 

Links:

Check out our earlier blog  NRIs have a hard time adopting a child. Maybe this is why

GaramChai.com – Adoption, Adopting, children and Indian Social Links

Dallas News: Missing Richardson girl was dumped in bushes before adoption brought orphan to U.S.

Indian Express: Adopted Indian girl missing in US: Police recovers a body in tunnel, ‘most likely’ to be of Sherin Mathews

Blasting news: Grandparents, adoption agency in India speak of Texas toddler Sherin Mathews

 

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Can a US citizen apply for an Aadhaar card?

This is a question that frequently appears in online forums. Here is the response from our editor, Mohan:

Firstly, check out the detailed official FAQ on Adhaar (link). A couple of relevant questions

Image result for adhaar faq

Can NRIs also get Aadhaar?

As per the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, only a resident who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to 182 or more in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment.

What is the process if NRI / OCI holder needs to apply for Aadhaar? And if they don’t have their own residential address in India now?

As per the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, only a resident who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to 182 or more in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment.

Keep in mind, Adhaar is not a proof of citizenship. Therefore, people (including US citizen, OCI) legally residing in India are eligible to apply for an Aadhaar card.


Also, check out an earlier blog post on the topic: Income Tax and Adhaar updates for Non Resident Indians (NRIs)

Book Review: Children’s book ‘We Are One’

‘We Are One’  is a nice book that celebrates diversity in America, especially focused on South Asian toddlers and kids.

Pinky Mukhi, like many Indian mothers in North America began fielding questions from her curious toddler. While answering the questions, the Indian American author was inspired to convert the idea into an illustrated children’s book.

Book Blurb: After Mintu invites his friends over for dinner, he decides he might have made a mistake. He thinks he’s too different from his friends and that they won’t like the same food as his family. Will his mom and friends be able to change his mind?
Sure to instill pride in children for their own food, language, and culture, We Are One is an inspiring story that will lead to a meaningful dialogue with children of all ages.ISBN: 978-1-63177-847-6

Book review:

‘We Are One’  is a nice children’s book that celebrates diversity in America, especially focused on South Asian toddlers and kids.

The protagonist in the simple story, Mintu is curious and observant, and nothing misses his eyes. He wants to be a soccer player. However, Mintu also realizes that he is different from his American friends. His parents spoke Gujarati at home and his mother made parathas .

Mintu was planning to invite his friends home and was concerned his friends would find him strange for liking parathas. “It smelled, looked, and tasted different from the foods he saw his friends eat.” The narrative builds on from this point with a nice happy ending.

Inspiration for the book

We asked the author, Pinky for her motive behind writing the book:

“I am Indian Mother of a six-year-old curious and observant boy who finds his food, language and culture different from his friends at school and discusses these differences with me at home. He also at times feels food shame. I have written this Children’s book which deals with cultural and physical differences and reveals the secret of oneness despite the differences.”

Publisher: Mascot Books  | Book’s Facebook page


Indian-American Book Review

Book Review: Captain Riddle’s Treasure

Here is a review of a recent book by Indian American author GV Rama Rao, a retired Commander of the Indian Navy.

Review from Amazon

The young-adult fiction, “Captain Riddle’s treasure” an interesting book that children and their parents are bound to enjoy. In the book, Rao skillfully weaves humor and action to keep readers engaged.

The story is that of three kids who have been punished for fighting with their siblings. Banished by the Night Fairy to a deserted island, they must find their way back home using their wits.

Rao draws on his seafaring experiences to imagine the adventures the children might encounter during a voyage onboard a one-of-a-kind ship. The book also has a healthy dose of pirates, leprechauns, a fire-spewing dragon, a knight astride a lion, and the Night Fairy herself; enough to keep any child imagining the art of the possible.

An engaging story for young-adults and their parents alike
-Amazon Review

 

More details of the book on GaramChai.com | You may also be interested in the Books section of GaramChai

When everything is available in the USA, why do people carry so much stuff from India?

This was an interesting question that came from an online forum.

Indeed, US is the land of plenty and almost everything is available in the US. Indian Grocery shops – check out our extensive listing – can be found in almost every city and metro in the US. They stock a wide array of ethnic food, utensils, cookers and trinkets. Indians still prefer to carry suit-case full of ‘stuff’ while traveling to the US. A few weeks ago, we responded to a similar question “Where do I buy Indian mangoes in the USA?”

Here are a few practical reasons why Indians might ‘stuff’ their baggage while traveling to the US.

  1. Food-stuff and dry-grocery – to be used during the initial few days after they land. Many Indian visitors are used to home-cooked food and might plan to cook a dinner/lunch at an extended-stay hotel or at an apartment. [Why don’t they just drive to an Indian store for grocery stuff? Because it may not be possible to drive down during the first few days. ]
  2. Clothing – Indian ethnic wear, like Indian Sarees, Chudidhar (for women) and Kurtas (for men) sell at a steep premium. It is practical to carry sufficient number of these. Indian clothing can be heavy, adding to the baggage!
  3. Trinkets, Curios, handicrafts – ‘what did you get for me?’ is a typical question colleagues, friends and neighbors might ask. Indians returning back to the US generally carry a bagful of typical curios for others and some for themselves
  4. Mom’s pickles – Pickles, papads, ‘homemade’ masalas and savories are perennial favorites even though US customs officers have been known to randomly pick and discard some of these
  5. Indian Utensils – Some folks carry Indian utensils, cookers, mixers and even wet-grinders. Such stuff can be expensive in the US.

Requests from family and friends. Family and friends in the US are sure to make requests from 1, 2, 3 which returning-Indians might be obliged to bring back.

Sushma Swaraj: Even if you are stuck on the Mars, Indian Embassy there will help you.

Last week, NBC’s Megyn Kelly asked Indian PM Modi if he is on Twitter

Indian digirati quickly took to social media asking Ms. Kelly to do her homework before interviewing world leaders. At last count, beloved NaMo had over 30 million followers!

NaMo

With 8 million plus followers, Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj continues to make waves. In the past, we have blogged “NRIs wonder: How do I bring my issue to the attention of Sushma Swaraj?”

Her latest tweet is a bit Tongue-in-cheek, but may not be too far fetched.

 

What do you think about the Indian student touching his American dean’s feet?

mata, pita, guru, deivam.

An Indian Student Touched His American Dean’s Feet And Left Him & The World Happily Surprised

 

Our editor responds:

During my travels around the world, I have been greeted with a Namaste more times than I care to recollect. Many global airlines (e.g Lufthansa – ‘more Indian than you think) have also used this as a marketing gimmick.

The guy in that viral video, Gaurav Jhaveri, must have been genuinely overwhelmed to be receiving his diploma, and probably did so subconsciously, without thinking.

Matha, Pitha, Guru, Deivam is a Sanskrit phrase. The Hindus believe that this is the order in which reverence should be offered.

As for touching an elder’s feet, I am pleasantly surprised. I thought the practice was slowly dying away India. Glad to see at least a few youngsters continue this tradition.

“Science Behind Touching Feet In India” – hindulegends.com

Also in the media: