Monday, June 11, 2007

My Godh Bharna

My long time lady friends Donna, Cheryl, Wendy and Wendy’s two daughters; Addy and Emily hosted the most wonderful baby shower for us last Saturday, June 9th. In attendance were a prominent group of ladies: my sister and sister-in-law, my mother-in-law, ladies from my dad’s side of the family, co-workers, past co-workers and a few friends.

The hostesses loosely incorporated a few elements of symbolism from a Godh Bharna into a traditional American shower giving the afternoon a little twist of Indian flair. It was a very fun afternoon. Typically the Godh Bharna is the ceremony that celebrates the first pregnancy of the bride of the house and is held in the seventh month of pregnancy. Devi is in her seventh month of life so we thought that was a fun coincidence. The ceremony begins with the mother to be, dressed in traditional finery chosen by her mother, enters through the front door and parades to where the worship will begin. With each step, silk cloth and coins are placed at her feet. Sadly, my mother is no longer with us, so on her behalf the "finery" I chose to wear was my sweet sixteen gold ring and gold earrings that were both gifts from her. For our parade, as each guest entered, a dupatta of their choosing was put around their neck. Photos, of each guest were taken against a backdrop of orange flowered silk decorated with a Welcome Devi Rose sign. Later, the photos were printed and passed out to their owners who each left a welcome message for Devi on the back. The collection of photos were put into a photo album to help introduce Devi to all these wonderful women!

Obra presenting me with a nada chhadi

Next, my sister-in-law, Obra, tied a yellow bracelet around my right wrist. This auspicious thread is known as a nada chhadi. It is very significant because it is supposed to ward off evil our case it was to protect us from grumpy judges! While it is presented, the guests are suppose to be singing traditional baby shower songs, but we didn't know any :)

Devi's great-grandma having her welcome photo taken. She thinks Devi might be a "rascal" :)

We played a word scramble and a game where we each came up with nicknames for Devi beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. My 91 year old grandmother chose “rascal” which I thought was so cute. Others included, precious, angel-eyes, lovey, gorgeous, honey and one hostess Cheryl chose Daisy....after her cute dachshund! Part of the entertainment was watching Devi’s video. Being able to share a glimpse of our girl with everyone we love was the highlight of the day for me. She is more amazing each time I see her. I think the overall consensus is that she is pretty darn cute!

My sister Joan, and me. What a filled lap!

Donna taught us that Godh Bharna in Hindu mythology means “to fill the lap” (godh meaning the lap of the woman, and bharna meaning to fill). Traditionally, the lap is filled by the expectant mother’s mother and mother-in-law with items that symbolize good omens. In our case my lap was filled with baby necessities and thoughtful gifts for Devi. No question she is loved and spoiled rotten all ready! An additional “lap full” of wonderful donations to take with us was another huge surprise.

The afternoon was topped off with a delicious high tea. A table full of cucumber and curry finger sandwiches, quiches, and scones were guarded by a gorgeous flower arrangement and diaper cake centerpiece complete with a stuffed elephant representing Lord Ganesh on top. We ended the afternoon with angel wing cupcakes decorated with cardamom frosting and watermello punch.

I am still reeling from this amazing day. I can't thank the hostesses enough for throwing the best party I've ever attended. To know that Devi’s life will be touched by so many amazing woman gives both Patrick and I a tremendous sense of comfort. We are so truly blessed.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

NOC approved!

What a way to start out a week! I was surprised by an email from Tami, the India program director with Dillon, stating that we had received our NOC (no objection certificate). Essentially, a set of our paperwork was sent to CARA, in New Delhi, where they presented it to a committee for approval. Our case was approved!!! We were told this could take up to 4 months from the time that we received Devi's referral. Although we were secretly hoping to hear news of approval sooner than the adoption process goes...we had all ready anticipated a much longer wait. It was a pleasant surprise clearing this hurdle so quickly.

As I type this, our NOC is being sent to Kolkata. When it arrives, our case will be submitted to the Kolkata courts for scrutinizing of the documents and a Guardianship hearing. We have been told this process takes 2 months or longer....emphasis on the LONGER.

I have mentioned many times about the struggles of other adoptive families at this stage. The progress of this adoption is now in the hands of the judge, who has a reputation for being a bit difficult. In the past, he has caused delay upon delay. We hope and pray he has all the kinks worked out of his system and we and the other families who are at this stage of the adoption process will sail right through. Patrick and I have all the confidence in the folks at Dillon, CARA, and the orphanage who are representing us.

We are learning the patience to survive the wait from a tiny girl who, at barely 13 pounds, has stolen our hearts. A short video of her arrived last week. Suffice to say, the tape is nearly worn through from repetitive viewing! Depressing the PLAY button for the first time brought a flood of happy tears to our eyes. I don't think either of us could focus through the river of saline to even make her out! Now, with each viewing we discover another detail about our Devi and her developing personality. She looks happy and very well cared for and seems to be progressing very well. We discovered on the tape that Devi loves giving those wet, open-mouthed baby kisses to anyone who gets close enough to receive one. I can't wait until it is my turn!