Thursday, November 11, 2010


This week we recognized the Indian holiday Diwali, that celebration of light winning over darkness, good over evil. With Indian food and candlelight, we placed our thoughts on the Light of the World, and read a few verses about light. I've been thinking a lot lately about the cultural part of adopting a child from one culture and raising them in another, entirely different one.

When we were in our first adoption process, a parent at our school asked us if we were planning to raise our daughter to be Hindu. The obvious answer is that, since we ourselves are not Hindu, we would have no idea how to teach her to be! Another reality to consider is that India itself is home to Muslims, Jains and Sikhs, as well as Hindus and Christians. We love India and are repeatedly asking ourselves how we can honor the traditions and holidays of her birth country (many of which are Hindu), while also teaching her about and including her in our own devotion to Christ. We want her to be proud of being Indian, and we want her to know the history and modern-day realities of the country we've grown to love.

We are still learning how to combine cultures. We want Anya Rashi to know about all things Indian -- and so we teach her what Diwali is about. In our own family celebration, we make Chicken Makhani and Pav Bhaji (full disclosure: the Makhani is homemade from scratch, and the Pav Bhaji is by our good pal Trader Joe), we light candles in Indian candle-holders, and we celebrate the victory of light overcoming darkness.

We think of our friends Usha and Murli, and other Christians in India doing amazing work caring for the poor, tending the sick, loving the abandoned, and feeding the hungry. We think about the boys from Mumbai who visited our church this summer, and marvel over their stories of rescue from the streets thanks to the love of K. K. Devraj and Bombay Teen Challenge. They are all living the victory of good over evil every day, and we pray for them.

So our Diwali is a bit of a mosaic. How about yours? I'd love to hear how other families navigate this part of parenting.


Traci said...

Thank you so much for this post as we are trying to navigate this in our home.

Traci said...

Thank you so much for this post as we are trying to navigate this in our home.

Mommy Missionary said...

That was really cool to read!

Julie & Patrick said...

We are just loving the chance to experience another culture too. Love your little tea lights.


Emily said...

We have many thoughts on how to celebrate Diwali, and this year we just lit candles. Next year, we'd like to make it a bigger shindig, with lots of Indian food and neighbors so that Asha can share her culture with our community. We'll see how this goes, but that's the plan! Emily

theheartofachild said...

Still learning!!! I'll just keep reading your posts and copy! :)

The Labontes said...

We lit "diyas" that the kids made, did sand art with rangoli patterns, and said some special prayers. Tonight we are joining the India Association of Maine for their Diwali festival. Hoping to actually post after that (it's been a shamefully long time). We share your desire to blend the two cultures!

Cindy said...

She looks so grown up in these pics!! Wow!