Pact’s Adoptive Parents of Color Collaborative raises up the voices and visibility of adoptive parents of color. This month: Meet Ashwin Dharmadhikari and Jhumka Gupta.

How do you describe yourselves?

Ashwin: I identify as a South Asian American. My parents are both originally from India, but immigrated to the US in the late 1970s after several years in Venezuela, where I was born.

Jhumka: I also identify as a South Asian American. My parents immigrated to the US from India in the 1970s, and I am also a daughter of a refugee.

How do you describe your family?

We are a multiracial adoptive family. We are adoptive parents of color and our daughter is biracial Puerto Rican and White.

How or why did you choose adoption to build your family?

We have a complicated medical history, and therefore adoption seemed the most accessible and appropriate means for us to expand our family.

What is the most amazing part of being a parent through adoption?

It compels us as parents to honor, consider, and act upon multiple complexities at the same time, and in the process, pushes us to put our own egos aside. This has helped us grow as people and have reverence for the parent-child relationship.

What is the biggest challenge of being a parent through adoption?

As South Asian Americans with a Puerto-Rican/White daughter, we do not have many models of families (both in general and specifically in terms of adoptive families) that look like ours. This has sometimes felt very isolating as a family. That is why finding Pact, becoming part of the Pact community, and taking part in Pact sponsored activities like Pact Family Camp has been invaluable for our entire family. We attended our first Pact Camp when our daughter was just 13 months old, and flew across country to attend it when we knew nobody else at the Camp! She actually took her first steps at camp. At first, we questioned whether it would be better to go when she was older, but we quickly learned that Pact Camp provides us with tools to help anticipate different issues and challenges that showed up at various stages of our daughter’s growth.

What advice do you have for adoptive parents of color just starting the adoption process?

We would encourage adoptive parents of color to keep seeking out other adoptive parents of color. We would also say that it is really important for your future adoptive child’s/children’s wellbeing, sense of self, and healthy identify development, that you strive to form connections with other adopted individuals (children and adults) and really learn from adult adoptees.

How did you connect with Pact?

When we were in the early stages of preparing to become adoptive parents, all of the organizations and resources we found were targeted towards white adoptive parents who were preparing to adopt children of color. Jhumka then searched extensively for any other resources and found Pact as an organization that acknowledged adoptive parents of color.

What kind of work do you do with Pact?

Ashwin volunteers, along with other physicians, as part of Pact’s advisory medical board regarding health and safety precautions for Pact events.

Why is Pact’s Adoptive Parents of Color Collaborative (APCC) important to you?

APCC provides an opportunity to find community. APCC also provides a safe space at Pact Camp for adoptive parents of color to authentically engage in conversations and learning around adoption in communities of color. It is one of the few spaces that allow for this type of connection.

Would you like to be profiled in the future and introduce yourself and your experiences to the APCC community? Please let us know at