Saturday, December 31, 2005

Umma Dee Dee

Throughout the whole adoption process, we were caring for your Umma Dee Dee. She had cancer that couldn't be fixed. One of my greatest joys in her last year, was telling her about you. I couldn't tell her what you looked like or anything like that, but I told her about the idea of you entering our lives. She was so excited about that.

You would have loved her. She made the best sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles on top at Christmas time. The tree shaped ones tasted the best. She also loved to give hugs and kisses.

She always asked me if we had any more news about when you were coming. I think she knew that she was too sick to actually meet you and I realized it too. I tried to think of a way that you would be able to touch her and she you. I had all of your grandparents leave their handprint in brightly colored paint on a picture I am making for you.
Umma Dee Dee picked purple paint. She was very weak, but managed a smile and enjoyed our art project very much. This picture will hang in your room so you can touch any of them anytime you want.

December 8th, 2005

Sadly, Umma Dee Dee passed away on December 8th, 2005. She wanted to meet you so much. The last moments I had talking with her were about you. I was holding her hand and was very close to her face. She was heavily sedated, and could not talk, but I know she heard and understood everything I said. I told her that I would make sure that you know who she was and all of the wonderful things about her. I also told her that I had a secret for a long long time and was waiting for the right time to tell her. The secret was that we would name you after her. You will be known as Dee Dee. I hope it suits you :) Umma Dee Dee was very pleased about this. She gave me a look that I will never forget and she stared directly into my eyes...a look that went all the way into me...into my heart.

On this day, we received our first letter from US Embassy in New Delhi, India. We received our 171-H or the Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition. It means we can be parents!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Impulse Buy #1?

In November 2005, we attended the Art with Heart non-profit event. One of the silent auction items was the most darling pillow case dress with an embroidered front and a matching coral chenille jacket that I just fell in love with. Patrick and I had decided not to purchase anything until we were positive that this adoption was going to happen. It was a protective measure to help spare our emotions if, for some reason, we could not adopt. Well, Patrick saw the little dress and threw our level headed idea out the window. As the auction was ready to close, we hovered over the bidding sheet. That dress would be ours! It is...and it hangs in your closet waiting for you to come home!

It was at this time that we realized we were falling in love with you, even though we had no idea who you were or if you were even born. (Keep in mind that we still have no idea if you are one or two!) Up to this point I was afraid to imagine your little face or tiny hands or cute little chubby body, but it just happened and now I can't stop thinking about you!

We began to wonder all about you. What will you look like? Will your hair be curly or straight? What will your voice sound like? I hope you won't be painfully shy like I was :), but we will happily work through whatever comes.

We also began to envision our lives together. Pat and I like to take long walks on the weekends with the poochies and we always end up talking about the day we have you with us in the baby jogger. Or, the wonderfully comforting feeling of having you FINALLY falling asleep upstairs in your room as we watch the movies we've rented downstairs –with the sound kept low, of course :) We discuss what the long plane ride will be like, bringing you to your new home from India. Yikes!! Pat says we will just apologize to everyone around us before taking off. That way we've got it covered. (I secretly know you'll be an angel!)

We talk about your room and how we will paint and decorate. We've been saving our favorite clothes for years...since we got married. My hope was that we could use them to make an heirloom quilt for you. Guess I better get sewing!

All of this...because of a cute little pillowcase dress!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Now that pretty much everyone knew about our adoption plans the flood of questions started coming in.

Q Why International Adoption?
A Well, when I had my first professional graphic art/design job, I used to typeset a magazine called Adoption Today. I think it is still published. Anyway, it was then that I read wonderful adoption stories and thought what a wonderful experience International Adoption could be for me.

Q Why India?
A Patrick had an Aunt...Aunt Mary, who he was extremely fond of. She introduced us to the wonders of the Indian culture. She wasn't of Indian descent, but she and her husband lived in Pakistan for a few years. I believe she was involved in International studies and she loved the diversity of other cultures. I will never forget my first visit to her home in Georgetown. You entered the living room and stepped onto a dense tapestry rug that carpeted the floor. The room was flanked by two lamps with camel skin lamp shades that gave off a golden light and a live bamboo plant grew in a pot in the corner (This was long before bamboo was popular). It was at this first meeting that I was introduced to Indian food. We had a delicious chicken, apple and raisin dish that instantly left perspiration on your brow with the first bite. The intoxicating spices took you thousands of miles away...we were in India! The last time we saw Aunt Mary was at Pat's sister, Lisa's wedding. She came dressed in a brilliant sari, complete with a bindi!

Q Why a girl?
A Pat says it would be perfect...his princess and soccer player, all in one (or two)!

Q Why does it take so long to adopt?
A The timeline is effected by so many things. The most important reason is that the Indian government is trying to do the best thing for all of it's children. Patrick and I are content to wait, knowing that God will bring our family together one way or the other. All good things are worth waiting for :)

Monday, October 31, 2005

We Are on the LIST!

October 11, 2005, we completed and sent in our dossier! It is the packet of information about us that is sent to India to make sure we comply with all of their requirements to adopt. Every document had to be certified notarized! That is a lot of paperwork and it includes our homestudy report.

The best news is that we are on the LIST! We are officially waiting for a referral of our child/children. Remember, we still don't know if there are one or two, but we will feel blessed either way.

The average wait time is 9 to 12 months from this date for a referral and then another 4 to 7 months waiting on a VISA. These numbers are subject to change, but hopefully will be shorter :) This puts us traveling hopefully by the end of 2006. And it also means that our girl/girls should be ready to be born anytime! It is all so exciting.

Another looming factor is our age. Patrick and I can only have a combined age of 86 to adopt from India. We are getting dangerously close to that now. YIKES!


US Citizenship and Immigration Services requests our presence on October 25, 2005 at 11am for fingerprinting!

WOW! What an eye-opening experience. We arrived, were given a numbered tag and then were herded (moo!!) into a room with row after row of chairs and a sea of people. There was every imaginable nationality represented in that room; a great people watching spot! Some people looked westernized, while others were colorfully clad in clothing appropriate to where they came from.

We waited, and waited and waited. It became apparent that this was an all day excursion. Occasionally, a woman would enter the room and call out a set of numbers. That numbered tag we got when we entered was like gold. There was no leaving the room, hence lose your spot in the order, so Pat and I lunched on what we could buy from the vending machine with the change we managed to scrounge between the two of us.

Finally, after assisting several very confused people who were struggling with English, our turn came. We were surprised to find that fingerprints are now more black ink! We were in and out of there in 5 minutes! The best part was we got to tell the fingerprinters the reason for being there...our pending adoption! It always seems to strike up the best conversations!

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Ball Barely Gets Rollin'

In March 2005, Patrick is laid off from his job. He was put in an unethical situation and would not stand for it (I was so proud of him for standing up for what he thought was right!) But now, we were faced with the problem of having him be out of work.

We continued to move forward by starting our 1-600A form (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) which was approved by Citizen & Immigration Services on May 15, 2005. Next step, waiting for an appointment for FINGERPRINTING!

By July 2005, we were ready to have our homestudy done, part of which is about our employment. Yikes!! The ball barely got rollin' and now we have a problem. We had to place our first "panic mode" phone call to Dillon. This is when we realized that we had made a good decision to adopt through Dillon. They were so calm on the phone and assured us that people change their jobs during the adoption process all the time (ie: take a breath!). So we did.

Children's Home Society did our home study. It consisted of interviews, and a visit to our home. Both representatives were so nice. Patrick and I were both so nervous. I suppose it is only natural to try and impress, but I resisted the urge to bake cookies or anything like that :). The meeting went great. It was like we had known them forever, except the conversations were all about us and we didn't find out anything about them!

During the homestudy, we were told about a family who also adopted a little girl from India, named Malini who had just turned 5. We were dying to hear another families adoptive story and so we met them one sunny afternoon in a local park. After a full day of talk, talk, talking, we paused for an ice cream. It dawned on Malini as she sat on her daddy's lap eating ice cream that she didn't really understand who we were, so she asked her daddy. He told her that we were adopting a little girl from India too. I will never forget her response. She said, " OH! Can I watch?" We explained it wasn't happening that day and all got a good chuckle out of it.

Is It A Sign?

I began receiving a magazine called Working Mother...which was funny because it was addressed to Patricia! One day I collected the mail with my magazine on the bottom of the stack. I absent mindedly flipped over the stack of mail revealing the back of the magazine and there was an advertisement. The picture was of a spider's web with words spelled out within the webbing. It said, "You will have twins in 16 months!" WOW! Is it a sign? It still gives me shivers!

Independence Day

In August 2005, we celebrated India's Independence Day with Malini and her family. It was a wonderful event. The festivities were filled with music and dance that told the history of the evolving country. Everyone was dressed in their beautiful saris in every color in the rainbow. Patrick and I really stuck out at this event! Dinner was served at dusk on this extremely hot day, so we chose to eat our delicious curry outside. All the teenagers were gathered along the parking lot talking, probably dying to leave the event that as teenagers seemed boring, I'm sure. A car pulled up along side the gaggle of teenagers, the driver cranked the stereo and got out which brought the crowd to life. The music was obviously from a Bollywood film and all the kids knew it, as well as, the choreographed dance moves that went with it. The scene was fascinating to watch. First the girls sang and danced and then were echoed by the boys just like the movie. It was so hard not to stare at our private show. The kids were oblivious to us watching; the amazing event unfolding as if the dancers were performing on auto pilot. And then, just as quickly as it started, the music ended, the formation of dancers dispersed and the kids went back to talking. It was just too cool!

Finally, on September 15, 2005 our homestudy was complete and Patrick was employed.

Monday, February 28, 2005

In Twos or Threes!

Application 2 arrived, February 2005! We were really on our way. We followed Dillon's suggestion of starting a 3-ring binder to keep track of all of our papers. We were shocked by how much paperwork there was to fill out. Tracking down birth certificates, wedding license, and writing an autobiography of ourselves...reminded us both of writing that "What I did Last Summer " essay in grade school. Plus, our secret was out; part of the application package required letters of recommendation from our friends. Naturally, everyone was thrilled about our good news!

Somewhere along the way, I read or heard that it was a good idea to request all the documents in triplicate. Boy! has that saved a lot of time along the way.

It was also during this time that we had to commit to our desires. We were truly set on India from the start. Patrick had strong feelings for wanting a girl. Both of us wanted an infant and I sort of reasoned Pat into circling the twins box! (Although we are told that twins are rare.)

We both realize that the whole adoption process can take years, but when each request for a form to fill out or a document to be supplied came, we felt this tremendous sense of urgency to get it completed immediately. Although it seems ridiculous, the faster we send in our application, the sooner we will meet our daughter and we hurried to save even just one second.

We sent in our Application 2 on February 15, 2005. Milestone number 2 is crossed. We celebrated with dinner and a movie...Gateway to India for dinner and then we rented "Monsoon Wedding". Funny, India is popping up EVERYWHERE!

Monday, January 31, 2005

Testing the Water!

We'd visited the Dillon International site a thousand times before we finally sent away for the adoption package. I guess it is sort of like dipping your toe in the water before diving right in.

Patrick and I had talked over the scenario of becoming a family a thousand times too and as I envisioned our future together, just couldn't image him NOT becoming a father. It is a title that suits him to a T.

Call it a New Year's resolution; we decided that in January 2005 we were going to become a family and we completed Application 1.

Two weeks later, our application was accepted; first mile stone passed.