About the Author

Michelle Reyes, Ph.D., is an Indian American pastor’s wife, writer, and activist. She is also the Vice President of the Asian American Christian Collaborative and writes regularly on faith, culture, and justice. Michelle lives in Austin, TX with her husband and two kids. Follow her on IG @michelleamireyes.

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  1. Michelle,

    I wish I could have known my grandparents also. The paternal grandparents & maternal grandfather all died before I was born. My dad was adopted by a family relative. I don’t really know my history. Some research shows I’m part German, English & Scottish. My parents never got into celebrating their families history. We are all from the lineage of Christ. Made in His image & we can celebrate that. We can embrace & shower the world with His love & grace.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Beth! We all have complex stories. You’re also right that God brings our story into his own and we can celebrate what God is doing in our lives!

  2. So interesting. Explains why parents/grandparents just want to move on with their lives and leave the past behind, never revisiting it in storytelling. It’s not just culture: it’s experiences as well, particularly, I think, war. The second world war was never something my grandparents wished to dwell on or recall.

    Does this ‘ignoring’ of the past really help us? I can think of several friends and relatives who effectively buried difficult experiences of various kinds. They appeared to navigate life efficiently, but I still wonder…

    This begs the question: there is the trauma of leaving one’s culture behind, but what about personal trauma – abuse, etc? Not something to leave behind. Surely all trauma needs to be dealt with, safely of course? And how can we help those of our family and friends who find it too painful to talk?

    • Angie, you’re asking such good, deep questions! You’re absolutely right about war and personal trauma. I don’t have all the answers to this. I do know that our journeys are life-long and the more we lean into Christ, the more he heals and redeems our stories. More than that, God is a just God and he promises to bring justice to the evils we experience in this world. I cling to the promise of Revelation 7:5 that God is making all things new and also, as God promises in Acts 4, that he is continuing to refresh us until that time of ultimate restoration. That being said, on this side of heaven, for those who are suffering from abuse and trauma, I also encourage folks to reach out for help, counseling, community support. We can’t do this alone.

  3. Beautiful! Yes I have often wished I have more of a connection with my irish, scottish, german… and whatever other roots. <3 Thanks for writing this.

    • Hi Adrienne! For sure! My dad has German and British roots and one of the first things I did to explore my German heritage was buy a German cookbook and start working my way through the recipes! It was so much fun. Our family made a list of our favorite meals from the cookbook and we’ve incorporated them into our regular dinners. God gives us the grace and freedom to create new traditions when old connections are lost.

  4. Thank you for sharing and expressing your lovely article. It touched me very much and I’m sure so many others who read it. I am a pastor with NotesOnLife.org, an online ministry which I’d like to invite you and the other readers to visit. My husband, Wayne and I have posted 500 + articles now after 5 years of dedication to this ministry God has given us. We also have our own television broadcast at: NotesOnLife.org/TV which reaches to those who know the Lord Jesus and those who are still lost.

    Many blessings to you, dear sister for expressing so well how we are all connected to each other no matter our ethnic inheritance. and the greatest blessing of all is that we are connected because of our love in Christ.

    God bless you,

    Dr. Jeanne

  5. This is really helpful.
    Thank you.
    I work a lot with refugees from several different cultures and these insights will prove valuable to me as I help them to settle in a new country

    • I’m so glad to hear this post was helpful! My mom immigrated to the U.S. in the 70s and I know firsthand the difficulties of being an immigrant family and wrestling through how to fit in, whether to assimilate, how to preserve a home culture, and more. These are such unique challenges. I will be praying for you as you navigate these important, but difficult conversations with those you serve.

  6. Patricia Reid from Coquitlam B.C. Canada
    Just lately I have found real comfort about my past with many homes and families in my childhood, abuse and neglect.
    I am 79 years old and thank our Lord and Savior for His reaffirming His Word to me that by the precious blood of Jesus Christ we have been adopted into the family of God! No one can take that from us. It is ours for all eternity!
    With age comes fewer relatives to relate to, I have found the scriptures and music with the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, my solid rock, comfort and peace. We are his and He is ours forever! God bless all of you my sisters in Christ who are searching for more. He never fails!

    • Hi Patricia! Thank you for your vulnerability and sharing a part of your story. We have both joy and pain in our stories, don’t we? I know my childhood is a mix of grief and bright spots too. In exploring who God has made us as cultural beings, he can also bring us healing and freedom from those pains of the past. You are also spot on that, as believers, our story becomes adopted into God’s story — and that is beautiful! That is something we can celebrate! God is constantly redeeming, reconciling, and refreshing who we are.

  7. Michelle,
    Thanks so much for this post. I am one of the adoptees you mentioned. My biological sister and I were adopted a year apart by the same couple.

    They were and always will be my parents. I identify with who they were. My dad retired from the Navy, went to college later in life and was a pastor and school teacher. My mom stayed home until we were in school. She went to work and then to college and was a social worker for seniors.

    Their rich and varied history is mine. They adopted things they liked from other cultures and incorporated them I into ours.

    I know a little about my personal cultural background. Maybe it’s time to see the history behind that culture.