As I mentioned in the “About” section, Varun and I try to intentionally sort through our cultural ideas, value judgments and traditions to form a rich, hybrid family culture of our own. Most days, this takes very little effort. I experimentally cook Indian food, dance to Bollywood music and explain western cultural phenomena to Varun.
However, yesterday in class we had a rousing discussion that made me realize something: having children will give Varun and I myriad opportunities to sort out our various cultural preconceptions. The discussion question in my “Sexuality and the Therapeutic Relationship Class” was about normal play behavior in children around sexuality. As my program has a diverse student body–with students ranging from 23 to over 80 and from scores of cultural backgrounds, the question arose, “Can a westerner establish something to be “healthy behavior” if billions of other people consider it abnormal?” Naturally, a heated discussion arose. (Heck, even the discussion of such topics in a gender-mixed, non-private setting would cause entire people groups to blush.)
As I relayed the story to Varun on the drive home, I realized how culturally and religiously embedded my thoughts about sexuality, child-rearing and “healthy relationships” are.
I saw the trailer for the documentary, “It’s A Girl” today, and am hoping that it will explore some of the cultural, political and religious influences at play. *Disclaimer* I realize that every culture has blind spots, and while many in the East seem to be devaluing and intentionally killing girl babies, many in the West have made and continue to make similar unloving and self-serving choices.
I hope that this documentary will take a critical look at the confusions and false beliefs that contribute to such an atrocity.
Speaking of children, today I did more research on the process of adopting a child from India. This is something Varun and I are still praying about and are not sure when/how God will use adoption to build our family. I couldn’t help but smile when the woman at the adoption agency exclaimed, “Wow, you’re young!”. We’re not that young, actually. In her experience, however, people try to have kids for a few years and turn to adoption as Plan B. For us, adoption is not Plan B.
We’re still not sure if we’ll adopt and if it will be before we have biological children, but is something we’re seriously considering and working toward. My heart breaks for orphans around the world, going to bed every night–young, lonely and without a Mom and Dad. I so long to adopt: to love and snuggle and even change diapers and clean up after a little one.
Until then, Varun and I will keep up the entertaining cultural exchanges and continue creating a family culture that is uniquely ours.