At the age of 26 my wife and I had just gotten married in the US; her from Spain, myself an American. We met in London and were looking for any and all opportunities to continue our lives exploring the world and experiencing all that it has to offer. Both having close ties to our immediate families, the concept of preserving family was always something that was important to us, however, as our desires to live overseas continued and the planning of our own family began. We really had to think, “How are we going to make this all work?”
Fast forward two years and my wife became pregnant with our son. Living in the US at the time and both working within education we knew it would be difficult to sustain the lifestyle we wanted for our family if we stayed. The only options to consider staying were: 1) One of us would quit our jobs to provide full time child care. 2) One of our family members would move in with us to provide full time care or 3) We hire a nanny of sorts and save little to no money. After much consideration all 3 options had more cons than pros but we knew there was more to consider and that's when we started looking overseas.
We made an account on an international educators website and began our search. Long story short, our current school in India contacted us while my wife was about 5 months pregnant and we pursued the interview process. It got to a point where the school liked us and we liked them, they assured us multiple times, “India is the perfect place to raise a baby as an expat family”. This was a statement I ignorantly, at the time, had difficulty believing.
We then had to sit down and tell our first-time soon-to-be grandparents that we were going to have our son, and then when he turned 5 months old, move to India. This conversation is a whole story in itself but the gist of it is, we made it work and found ourselves on a plane to India.
Upon arrival in Hyderabad we were met by faculty, our prearranged nanny, some additional house help and many more members of our now referred to family. The decision to move here, in what later unfolded, to be during a time of global pandemic has continued to always be the right decision. Fast forward a year into us being here and we even decided to grow our family all the more and pursued a local adoption of our daughter.
With two kids at the age of 2 living thousands of miles away from extended family, distance has never felt so close because of all the love, care, and support we get here. It’s difficult not to have guilt or feel like you are missing out, being so far away from what was always so familiar to you, but when you step back and see the life we are providing to our kids, it all makes sense.
My parting advice is to find trust in knowing that family will always follow. Regardless of where we are in the world, I know I have my parents back in the US, my in-laws in Spain and hundreds of others spread all over the world. Despite any physical distance we will always remain close and that is why I use the beauty of social media and my instagram to stay connected- sharing the day to day posts, reflecting on the highlight reels, and creating stories and memories every step of the way. We have a beautiful and happy family and much of this is attributed to our life overseas and the future we have created for ourselves. To all those considering making the move, you’ll never know until you go.
As for our experience of parenting in India, I never thought I’d say this but we’ve been parents in India longer than we’ve been parents anywhere else, so I suppose it is what we know best . This all being said, in best efforts not to generalize, parenting in India tends to differ in many ways from the Western side of the world or at least from what my wife and I have been exposed to. Whether it be discipline, emphasis on education, tradition etc, there are some aspects of parenting we certainly align with and then others that we respect differences.
Our main thing to forever be grateful for though is that house help in India is far more accessible than in the US or Spain. We’ve been lucky to have a nanny who we absolutely love and who has been great with our kids. She has been with us since day one of landing in India, has been with us everyday we are at work, has experienced covid lockdowns and scares with us, came with us to formalize adoption of our daughter and has been with us every other step of the way.
Additionally it is very common in India to have extended family and house help stay with you when expecting a new baby or to support with existing young children. The extended family part unfortunately was not an option for us given distance and covid but we were incredibly fortunate to have lovely women cook and help around the home daily which leads to lots more uninterrupted time with our kids, which has been a true blessing. We all operate as one big family and everyone is an “auntie” or an “uncle “ and supports one another. The best way to describe parenting in India is -supported .
Hope this was of some help and please follow along on our Instagram page (@family_overseas) to see more about why being a family overseas is the life for us.