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Sandhya Oaks

7 Podcast Episodes

Latest 20 Nov 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Transracial Adoption: A Personal Story with Sandhya Oaks

Mama, Take Heart

*Please note: This episode contains conversation about childhood abuse and trauma* In this episode, Robrenna talks with Sandhya about transracial adoption and her story of coming to Jesus. Sandhya shares practical ideas for transracial families to help them navigate and celebrate their child's birth roots. Connect with Sandhya on her website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Sandhya is also a Race & Diversity Specialist Apprentice with Restoration Counseling. Follow Robrenna: Website | Instagram Episode Image Credit: Getty/Elena_Zlatomrezova


17 Mar 2021

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Episode 33 - Sandhya Oaks

Someday is Here

Such a powerful, moving, and informative conversation about transracial adoption this week with the amazing @sandhyaoaks. November is #nationaladoptionmonth. So often the story of adoption is told from the viewpoint of the adoptive parents. Sandhya, a South Asian adoptee, covers so many important topics about growing up as the only person of color in her community and the journey of discovery from self-contempt to establishing a healthy identity formation in the midst of complexity. We talk about hurtful words and phrases asked of adoptees and helpful tips and resources for transracial adoptees.LEARN MORE ABOUT SandhyaInstagram: @sandhyaoaksFacebook: @sandhyaoaksPlease check out the Show notes for more resources and avenues to hear from Sandhya.Stay connected with me onInstagram: @vivmabuni + @somedayisherepodcastTwitter: @vivmabuniwww.vivianmabuni.comCreditsSound Engineer: Aaron Kretzman of Phos StudiosMusic: Joseph Patrick of Passion Net ProductionsExecutive Producer: Chantel RunnelsDesign: Jocelyn Chung

1 Dec 2020

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Sandhya Oaks - Resilient Leadership

The Table Leadership

In this episode of The Table Cyon is joined by Sandhya Oaks. Sandhya walks us through resilience, curiosity, & having a passion for storytelling. She discusses the importance of having a Durham of rest & nourishment & what those things really mean and look like.Connect with The Table Leadership: www.thetableleadership.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheTableLeaders Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thetableleadership/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetableleadership/?modal=admin_todo_tourSubscribe to have the podcast automatically download to your device every week or listen at https://thetableleadershippodcast.captivate.fm/Connect with Cyon: http://www.cyonedgerton.com/On social media @cyonedgertonConnect with Sandhya:@sandhyaoaks


8 Jul 2020

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"The Grief Diaries" Sandhya Oaks presents "Her Story of Injustice"

Los Cazados

Her story screams of injusticeThe story begins with a stab to her mama’s heartShe was young, she gave birth and then she had to partShe was a baby - an orphan - a desolateWith no place to call home she was all aloneThe injustice continued to flow As this little girl was about to walk into a deeper lowHer new home in the midwestWas extremely broken and far from the bestThis little girl grew up in a basement with no one to mirrorShe lived most of her days wondering what's next and in fearInside and outside her home - nothing seemed rightShe had no choice but to grow up fierce and learn how to fightShe tried to use her voice, but was silenced by threat and fearIt was her own beautiful tunes that kept her from tearsThe injustice grew louder as she got olderShe was confused by this and wanted someone to hold herWas this how the world worked?Was this the only way things could be?How did she end up with this story?At age 18 she was abandoned againShe was now wounded by too many women and menThe injustices continued to be hammered into her story They left open wounds, tender sores and buckets of tearsShe wondered if life was going to continue like this for the rest of her yearsAs she sought to uncover the beauty in her ethnicity She saw the enemy seek to steal, kill and destroy everythingThe injustice around her brown skin and black hairWas truly too much for this soul to bearWhy wasn’t there room at the table for me?I looked different but they didn’t hold space for “we”The story doesn’t stop thereThere was still so much to bearIt was a short time ago when the injustice pounded againShe laid alone in silence with tears flooding her bedHe took advantage of her and left a piece of her deadShe screamed on the inside and was overwhelmed in her headHow could someone get away with this I am just tired of shaking my fistThe injustices are more than this story sharesHer body is healing from the load she has bearedHer soul aches and the sting comes and goesShe demands justice from her head to her toesThe multiple attacks and war around her heartIs proof that there is something powerful that sets her apartThe violations she absorbed since day one overseasBrings her to beg the Lord for hope, justice and peace


23 May 2020

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48. Transracial Adoption with Sandhya Oaks


Sandhya Oaks shares her story of identity, loss, and redemption, involving transracial adoption.Resources mentioned:lensesinstitute.com theallendercenter.org theseattleschool.edu/about/innovation-collaboration/resilient-leaders-projectThe Adoption Triad, a private group on FacebookLet Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer is on Amazon.com


19 May 2020

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Season 1, Episode 23: Sandhya Oaks, Maggie Hemphill, and Danielle S. Castillejo talk about Women in Leadership, Race, Covid-19, and Leading in Difficult Times

The Arise Podcast

Danielle and Maggie are social distancing, recording from their separate homes same town.Sandhya Oaks is an enthusiast, an extrovert, a foodie, an international transracial adoptee. She’s a full time missionary with Cru (Formerly Campus Crusade of Christ) and is a part of the Lenses Institute Team.  She speaks and writes and has been a part of the Allender Center.Danielle and Sandhya have many mutual friends and Sandhya reached out to Danielle to connect about being a woman of color in leadership.Sandhya finds herself in Wisconsin, she is self-quarantining. She is originally from India but was adopted by a family in Wisconsin so she grew up in Wisconsin. She lives and works at the University of Minnesota as a campus missionary with Cru, and she is continuing that work remotely. She loves her work but it’s been very strange to do it all through the computer. She is very relational so this has been a challenge for her. She says she is “riding it out,” even though she doesn’t even know what that means. She has been coping with the social isolation by having hangs out digitally through zoom, FaceTime, google hang outs. She is also going on walks and talking to friends on the phone.Maggie adds it is indeed a strange time to be involved in a ministry, business or organization that involves so much face-to-face contact and personal interaction. While the technology is great it is just not the same as being in person.  Sandhya says that it’s hard to have back to back meetings and interactions on screens. She needs the full person to person sitting together otherwise miss out on the whole person. We can be thankful that the technology does exist for us all to stay connected.Danielle says Sandhya’s job is built on relationships. Part of what has motivated her to make those relationships has been from her own story.  Sandhya said she always been very relational, she loved school and loved being around people, but her home was not that way. Her home was filled with trauma and so she was always wanting to be away from home and with other people, taking every opportunity to do so. Not too much as surfaced for her from her own childhood but she does think about the kiddos who are at home now with their families and it’s not a safe environment for their flourishing; think gin about the kids who are living in spaces of trauma.  Her heart is near and dear to those kiddos. Her prayer has been “Would you redeem families through this time? Would this be a time where you actually bring families together? And kids who don’t have great homes, would you protect them? Would  be near to them, would you draw near to them?” Sandhya’s heart is breaking for kids right now that don’t have a good home and are trapped with them and don’t have an outlook.Maggie says, everyone’s lives has been turned upside down. Not knowing when this is going to end keeps us all heightened. What a great prayer to redeem this time.When everything started growing with COVID it caused a shift in her ministry. Her first thoughts were to care for the students who are having to make hard decisions in the midst of upheaval as well as creating spaces for them to grieve: Stay or go. Indefinite online classes. Loss of graduation. Job offers. Living out the rest of their Freshman year…. Sandhya has been leaning into these spaces with the students to help bring them to a place of gratitude. These students were scared when this all started. They have gone from just needing someone to talk to to trying to figure out online classes, and now they have moved back towards discipleship to feel connection with each other. The students are all now back at their homes, sheltering in place, and wanting to engage and connect with their friends not just on social media but with real relationship. Sandhya views herself like a guide, helping lead them through what it could look like to stay connected in creative ways. “We were created for real relationship, to experience each other through all of our senses. How do we engage our whole self during this time when we can’t be in front of each other?”Practical Tips that Sandhya is giving her students to guide them when they are feeling lonely and are reaching out?Affirming the emotion: Believe them, what they are feeling is real. We are all feeling this wayAsking “Who are connecting to? Who are your people? Who are two to three people you can check in with, they can check on you?Name the things you’ve lost — Then grieve for the loss! When we bury grief (rather than experiencing it) turns into addiction, compulsion or obsessions. Grieve and lament together.Create a rhythm of gratitude. Where is their beauty and goodness right now? Let’s name and claim those things. What are your practices right now? Getting into the word, self care, exercise, drinking water, eating healthy. What’s one you can practice today… Then add in another in a couple of days. These students have a lot going on with school and relationships… Sandhya just want to help take a little off their plate so make things manageable.Maggie says these tips are not just good for students but for all people right now. This season we are in is so disruptive and we’re not sure on how to handle it. She loves this idea of creating rhythms of gratitude right now in the middle of this chaos. Maggie finds her self doing school at home with there three kids which is not their favorite or hers. But when she asks, where’s the beauty? Where’s the goodness? Doing school at home creates an opportunity for her kids to ask questions that they wouldn’t have asked at school. And she gets to be there to answer them. Topics that they haven’t even begun to learn about or talk about at school. What a gift!When Sandhya was younger she wouldn’t have called it gratitude she would have called it looking for goodness in places. Even yet before she was a Christ-follower she would look for goodness and that is what would get her to the next moment, the next day. Following a traumatic night of abuse she would look for the goodness yet to come and to her that was God’s pursuit of her even back then. It built residency in her, to keep her from going backwards. It comes from a phrase she heard on the radio between her freshman and sophomore year of high school, “no one can make you have a bad day.” She didn’t really know exactly what that meant but she interrupted that as taking her attitude into her hands and look for the good, what is there to look forward to—a basketball game, meeting up with a friend, a choir concert…  It gave her enough energy to get to that moment and out of the pit where she was.Danielle said there is profound depth to she is offering her students, and us on this podcast. Danielle feels pastored even right now as Sandhya is talking. She took notes, numbered 1 through 5. And it starts with saying, “I believe you and I affirm you” rather than “Hey! Pull yourself up from your bootstraps!” It is first I believe you. There’s this layering with each question, each step she asks. In moments of difficulty, part of resilience is our ability to move between these things: affirming and believing where you’re at, reaching out to folks, experiencing grieving, rhythms of gratitude, offering yourself some care. It’s creating a flow that keeps us from being stuck.Sandhya attributes this ability to many wonderful people who she’s been around: counselors, guides, mentors, spiritual directors… They’ve left crumbs for her to find and pick up.Facilitating at the Lenses Institute - branch of Cru, a ministry founded by Athletes in Action. She attended a 5 day intensive with group work and corporate work around biblical reconciliation and seeing, acting and moving towards biblical oneness as seen in John 17. She was the only woman of color to do through it with over 50 people there. She really wrestled with some of the things that came up. She asked herself, “What does this mean for my cultural identity? What does this mean for the areas I live and work in? What are the things that I have become more awakened to, how has it transformed me and what does God want to do with this? What is He invited me to?”After going through the intensive, she was invited to apply. After she interviewed she was accepted to facilitate group work. The purpose is to make sure in all levels of ministry that people are welcome. That as an organization they would reflect God’s heart for all people. It is to train and equip, taking in people’s stories and ask them “Where are you in this conversation? Where is Jesus inviting you to go in this conversation for the sake of your own life and the people who are leading?”Maggie and Danielle say “Preach!”Sandhya says that she just loves this work. There is so much delight and passion, it is good and hard work. Michael Sylvester, one of the executive directors, says “It’s heavy lifting.” Yes, indeed it is heavy but it is an honor to do this work.Danielle acknowledges “What an opportune time to do this work!” As COVID-19 has revealed the divide: racial, social class, religious beliefs. To hear the good work she feels like women are holding the world up.Sandhya says the racism that is happening right now to our asian brothers and sisters is not okay. “What we’re hearing from the top down is not okay!” She has sat with some of her students that have experienced discrimination. It’s not just the coronavirus and the fear and anxiety, it’s a whole other layer to add in racism. Sandhya herself is South Asian but she hasn’t had any experiences against her ethnicity during this time. Some of the Asian students she leads have told stories of scorned looks and have been afraid to cough out in public because of the fear of what people will say or do. “We have to be informed!”It has not been a linear journey for her as Women in Leadership and as a woman of color in leadership. Sandhya says it’s been opportunities she’s desired but also some that have just fallen into her lap. There have been times where she has been brought to tears by the things people have said to her: “You only get asked to speak because you’re brown.” “We’re going to ask the men first and then come back to you.” It is unique and challenging to be a women of color in leadership, heavy lifting for sure. And there are not many WOC in leadership where she is in the midwest and yet she feels called to these spaces to lead in a predominant culture space. As long as she can go catch a breath with with fellow People of Color, then she can lead in these spaces. It’s hard for her to be in leadership because she doesn’t always feel appreciated or valued or seen. Being a person who has been adopted, some people don’t see her as having a full Indian ethnic identity, having grown up in a white town with white parents. She finds that she has to think about how people are going to react to her based on what they see.It was in this area that Sandhya had reached out to Danielle to connect about being a Woman of Color in leadership. She said she wanted any opportunity she could get to connect to other WOC of leaders. She wants to see more.Sandhya talks about this term in the world of adoption “Mirroring” - it is when a kid is looking for someone to mirror their physical image in order to show that it is good and affirmed. Growing up in a white family, in a white town, there was no one to mirror that being brown was good. She is still finding herself looking for mirroring in other women of color in leadership.And then she looks behind her at the girls she is leading on the college campus that are adoptees… they need a woman of color to guide them! She didn’t have one and so she wants to be one for others.Danielle says that it’s asking yourself, “Am I going to translate myself for you? And how often do I want to do that for you?” Sometimes It is a huge relief to sit with someone and be able to say what your’e thinking and knowing that that thought or feelings is not going to be taken in as an accusation or condemnation of someone. Danielle heard in class that, when the dominant culture has to rethink the historical narrative that they’ve been taught about who they are, all of a sudden there are multiple narratives and it’s disorienting to look and think that their narrative not a complete picture.Get in touch and connect with Sandhya on instagram@sandhyaoaks and on fb Sandhya OaksOr email her at sandhyaoaks@gmail.comSandhya is reading: Road Map to Reconciliation by Brenda Salter McNeilSandhya is listening to: The Blessing by Kari Jobe, Annie F Downs’ podcast “That Sounds Fun”Sandhya is inspired by the all the things she is reading about the medical workers out there on the front lines risking their lives for others. That is LOVE!Read her writing on Red Tent Living: Her hair tells a story


3 Apr 2020

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Episode 76 - What's Your Story? - Sandhya Oaks

Retreat House

Sandhya on InstagramCRUGospel for AsiaNancy Mulligan by Ed SheeranEnneagram


15 May 2019