Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
How can a daughter be "secret"? I asked myself this question and in the very first paragraph of this book, I found out. A both sad and happy story which takes place in Mombai and San Francisco.
Kavita is in the throws of childbirth - her second child. Her first, a daughter, was taken away from her minutes after giving birth. Her husband's relative took it and buried it - alive. Kavita is determined that, if thss child is also a girl, that she will not be killed. As it happens, she gives birth to another girl. Her husband wants to take it but Kavita is determined to let this child live. She and her sister walk many miles to an orphanage to give up the baby for adoption. Usha is her name for her daughter.
In San Francisco, a doctor (born in India) and his American wife are having a hard time of conceiving a baby of their own. They look into adopting a child from India. And are successful. They adopt Usha and take her back to the United States. The re-name her Asha.
Asha grows up with two doctors as parents who encourage her to go into the medical field. Asha is determined to enter the field of journalism and, in college, gets a grant to travel to India to research a story about children growing up in the slums. Asha stays with her father's family, whom she has never met, and becomes familiar with all that is India. Her grandmother takes her under her wing and they walk every morning and she learns from her grandmother.
Asha wonders about her real parents - why didn't they want her? Why did they get rid of her? Asha visits the orphanage where she was adopted and the director gives her the names of her biological parents. Now there are one billion people in India but her parents did not have a common name so tracking them wasn't too hard. Asha goes to the address she has for them but, unfortunately, her parents are away at a family funeral.
Asha goes back to the United States but leaves a letter at the orphanage just in case her biological parents want to contact her.
This is a wonderful book and you will enjoy reading. Some parts will bring tears to your eyes and other parts you will smile. Happy reading!