Bringing Asha Home is the story of a fictional family waiting for their adopted baby girl, named Asha, to come to them from India. It grew out of gatherings I was invited to years ago, of families in Maryland who had adopted children from India, and whose stories stayed with me over the years, moving me to write this version. Realistic fiction. At least, that's what I thought it was.
But I am only the writer. What do I know? Today, I received an e-mail from my editor at Lee & Low, with a news item from the Salt Lake Tribune. It turns out that Utah's first family is planning a pre-Christmas trip to India to pick up their 1-year-old adopted daughter. Her name is Asha. Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., first lady Mary Kaye Huntsman, and their seven-year old daughter Gracie Mei began the journey to adopt their Asha around the time my book was going to press. The story of their wait is the story of the fictional family in Bringing Asha Home, with a few differences. The older sibling in my story is a boy, Arun. The sequence of events is off by a few months. And the rakhi motif is missing from their experience. But in all other respects, the Huntsmans are living my fiction.
Coincidence, of course. Asha's a common enough Indian name. Meaning "hope," it was a natural name for me to pick for the child in my story. I'm sure there are other families in the US who have adopted baby girls named Asha from India. Still, life weaves patterns in its own organic way, makes truths out of fiction, knocking complacency out from under my typing fingers. It's why I do what I do.