Heres an interesting topic about skin complexion. When I first arrived here in Mumbai people used to tell me what a great complexion I have. That isn’t so anymore. Due to being outside a lot I tan easily and yes I have gotten darker than my natural skin tone. Everyone is obsessed with skin color. They have categories in which people are placed into including myself. A lot of it has to do with social stigma and everyone here wants to be white.

1) Light
2) Fair
3) Tan on the light side
4) Tan
5) Medium Light
6) Medium
7) Dark on the light side
8) Dark
9) Black

I am so used to passing by all the tanning creams and lotions back in the states. Not for me, I have my color already as most of you know. Here you have a selection twice as large to make you white. There is white cream for every complexion. It’s out of control. I had never thought in my life that I would see all this white cream. Why are we so obsessed with color? I have talked to several Indian people about this color issue and most of them respond by saying “if you are white than you are pure, clean and rich” I have raised the same question when I’ve sat in on an Indian families meeting their child for the first time. They get to spend about 20 min with the child and 8 out of 10 will reject the child because of skin color. What is happening; doesn’t anyone realize that most white people are the first to lie out in the sun to get tan as soon as they get the chance? Apparently not.

I’ve visited Manav Sava Sangh a total of three times now. The first time was in the beginning of my trip and then last week when I stayed over. The first thing the president of the institution said to me when she saw me was “ Sarah you are black,” I proudly said of course and I love it. Looks much better on me. ? She questioned why I was so excited about it and I told her that I thought dark skin is a beautiful. Now, I am not saying this just because I am Indian. If I were white I would want to be darker, it’s in me, I love dark colors. I will tie this color issue into my research studies because it does play a HUGE role with adoption, especially local adoption. Color is among the top 5 reasons children are given into adoption and rejected in local adoption here. There is something to think about.

The man at the store this morning mentioned my color and told me to stay in the shade so that I wouldn't get dark and that lead to this post.

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BV Inspection 

BV is inspected quarterly by the local district authority. This is something, which all Mumbai orphanages go through. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to one of the officers.

I asked him what his job entitled and he informed me that he was there to see that all the proper paper work was in place for the children currently residing there as well as to check for safety and security regulations of the orphanage.

He spent a great amount of time there going over everything and seemed extremely pleased when he left. He invited me down to his office but due to time, I had to take a rain check.

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Besøg hos dommeren i High Court 

Som i alle jo ved var jeg i High Court Mumbai for at tale med dommeren som nu sidder der indtil sommerferien starter her i Indien. Jeg har endnu en aftale med ham imorgen KL. 5pm min tid og vil derefter skrive om begge dage.

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Adoption Meeting in Lonavla 

Yesterday I got up at six am to catch the car with Jaisita to go to Lonavala, Hill Side Station. Along with all the social workers from BV, my crew. Six kids (ages 3-6) we all jammed into two cars. The drive took us about two and half hours and luckily I got to sleep for most of the way there. Check this out. On the way up I passed a bus, which had my last name on it, and also a house. We all had a laugh at that since my name is rare in the US and Dk.

Once we reached we were all greeted by one of the adoptive parents who was hosting this get-together. We all settled into two rooms and waited for all the families to reach. About one hour later everyone had reached and we were all packed into this one room since I was giving a talk on adoption and the project I am doing out here. (I usually always get nervous when having to present but not this time, so I started out by welcoming everyone etc. etc.) I had prepared a 30 min. talk, which turned in to almost two-hour session instead due to parent’s requests. They asked about my experience but it was unique because they had several questions about my actual project and my discoveries. For a minute I felt like I was in school giving a presentation. It was fantastic, I felt absolutely great and after my Q and A session I met with each couple individually. I started realizing what the concerns are for local adoptive parents.

Adoption is one giant topic and you really have to figure out from the get go what you are trying to do and say or you totally loose control. I went through this in the beginning last year and the first week of this trip. My project is huge so I learned quickly to narrow it down, only to discover it expand out again and having to decide which road to take. Quite interesting.

After meeting with everyone and finally getting some food in my stomach it was time to play with the kids from BV. Oh, they all loved coming on this trip. Due to the precaution you have to take at an orphanage it makes it difficult to take the children outside of the institution for fun at such a young age. Around 5pm it was time for us all to take a nap, which we did. I was burned out as I had been up the night before working and only slept for one hour.

The trip home went smooth and we all made it back in time for the water to come on so that we could take a shower. (If there is something I have learned being out here is to limit water, electric use, and not expect TP. Three things, which are not offered around the clock, and sometimes water is out of a bucket. Mumbai is going through at water and electric shortage at the moment so everyone has to conserve. In the beginning it was a little hard to adjust to but after a week it became a routine and I don’t know what I will do when I get back to the states because I am now used to getting my water from a bucket.)

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Manev Sava Sangh 

Spending a full day and one night at Manev Sava Sangh was incredible. Something I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted to see my first home, my family, and all my siblings (meaning all the other boys and girls at MSS) I have previously visited, once to celebrate my b-day and another time to do a project with the girls. (Ages 11-14) This time I just wanted to walk a day in their shoes to get a feel for what an orphanage is really like. Due to my tight schedule I could only spend the one day and night there, but plan to go back and stay for a couple of days towards the end of this trip.

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