Thursday, September 27, 2007

Our Sponge

Devi is making great strides since being home. She loves to go visiting as we are making the rounds to meet family and friends. She is smiley for everyone, but knows who mommy and daddy are and saves the biggest giggles for us. Good girl!

Crawling came almost immediately. Open floor, will travel. She seems to have no fear when pulling herself up on things so I think that walking will be coming soon! Poor Cayenne is constantly on the move to get away from her now!

Sleeping is still an issue, but we are improving all the time. We are slowly moving away from the co-sleeping as she seems to have a more restful sleep when she is alone. Devi does not like it at first, but if I lay her in her crib and stand there until she begins to close her eyes she does fine. Little stinker tests me sometimes. It is as if she is peering through partially closed lids to watch when I will leave the room. As soon as I make my move she opens up her eyes and voices her objection. So far we are having two naps. Then morning is short and the afternoon is long. Devi is sleeping about 11 hours a night, but wakes about 3 times during that time looking for a little consoling.

One of Patrick's dreams was fulfilled this morning. Proud papa had Devi asleep on his chest while he watched a world cup soccer match between the US women and Brazil. The US lost, but I don't think it mattered to Pat. He was happy as a clam to have his girl with him, though asleep, sort of taking in one of his

This week has been full of firsts and so far all of them have gone well. The grocery store today was a huge hit. Devi smiled at everyone and really helped mommy read the difficult labels. She got to hold a loaf a bread too. She is such a big girl.

The jogger was also a winner. Devi enjoyed the brisk fall air and the feel of her first leaf. It is so cute to watch her take in the world. Food experiences seem to be the most entertaining. Tuna is a big NO in her book, but a nice baked yam and she is in fat city! Carrots are also a NO, but she is delighted to have figured out the hand to mouth movement with goldfish crackers, which always bring a squeal of approval.

She is definitely a sponge right now, taking in and processing all new things. We are enjoying her exploration with great enthusiasm too. After a week at home, Devi is still simply a joy.

Monday, September 24, 2007

HOME, I think?!

Last night in Kolkata!

Our little helper

Packing and repacking our goodies from India

After two weeks in India, I think we were ready to come home. But there is so much to still discover about this wonderful country, I'm sure, at some point we will be back. We set out for our return trip on Friday early evening. There was a huge downpour, our first reprieve from the heat since we arrived or maybe Kolkata was crying because we were leaving, I guess we'll never know :)

The first flight from Kolkata to Delhi was a two hour flight of aerobic exercise for all three of us. Devi was
happy, but active. We were over the seat, under the seat, into Pat's lap, back into mine. Then looking at the people across the aisle then behind us then grabbing the beverage cart then undoing my seatbelt. Exhausting in every sense of the word.

Arriving in Delhi for the last time, we were warned that the transfer bus from the domestic to the
international airport only runs once an hour and so we rushed to the sign-up desk trying to reserve a seat. We ended up with a 1 hour delay as the the first bus was full. We hulled up in the corner of the airport watching the mayhem, waiting for our bus, but not without some entertainment. A woman sitting beside us began to scream. Turns out a rat was running around our luggage; not an uncommon site in this airport. Devi loved it.

Fifteen hours of holding us all captive in a small space is not my idea of a good time, but we managed to make it through the flight to Chicago in one piece. Devi slept most of the way of this flight....thank you
God! I had really stressed about the flying with the baby, but it was working out okay. We were unable to get the bassinet with bulkhead seats, but thankfully there was an empty spot next to me which became Devi's make shift crib. Leaving at 12:15 am and traveling over Russia, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada- we never saw the sun- it was night the whole way which made it easier for us to try to catch an hour or 2 of sleep. Once on the ground we headed for the Starbucks counter for a hot sip of home....almost there!

Interesting to note that we had been carrying all these papers along with us to get Devi safely back into the country, but every time we offered up what we had prepared, no one wanted them. I guess it is better to have more than you need, but for crying out loud, we've been toting this notebook around for the past two weeks...some of the papers had even been to the Taj Mahal with us to keep them safe.

Final leg of the journey was finally here. Just 5 more hours until we would be home. Devi slept the first hou
r of the trip and then awoke out of sound sleep and decided she was absolutely positively done. She has not been too much of a crier, but when the girl is done, she means it. She could not be consoled for the next hour so I spent my time at the back of the plane with her bouncing on my hip. We unfortunately learned the bathroom habits of most of the people on the plane. In the end, everyone heard our spread throughout the plane and many of the passengers offered us congratulations as we departed the aircraft. The flight attendants even surprised us with a gift wrapped bottle of champaign to celebrate- very thoughtful.

Immigration was a breeze. After having our passports stamped we headed to a small examination room waiting for the final stamp of approval for Devi. I don't think I will ever forget the words that came from the examiners mouth. "Welcome home to the USA, Bhargabi!"

We were met by Pat's parents at the security gate. All of us beaming at our good job well accomplished. Devi even gave her Oma a smile right off. On to the baggage claim where we were met by my family; my teary eyed dad holding up a "Welcome Devi, Princess of India" sign, his friend Gail, my sister Joan, brother David and sister in-law Obra were all sporting cameras to commemorate the occasion. Our friends Ben and Denise, balloons in hand, also just couldn't wait. It was a wonderful reception after being out of touch from loved ones for so long.

Nearing the driveway, even in our blurry eyed state, we could make out a pink glow coming from our
address. As we drew nearer still, it became obvious that our house and yard had been filled with pink helium balloons that were dancing a welcome home jig in the breeze. It was a wonderful home coming. The front door was filled with signs wishing us congratulations and welcome homes. Thank you neighbors, co-workers and friends for making that experience a Moment for us to share with Devi... somehow she managed to miss it. A story that is told and retold many times over, I'm sure.

Exhausted and completely out of touch with time and feels good to be home.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Icing on the cake!

Another evening of acrobatics with Devi in the middle...not as active as the night before. She seems to really feel most comfortable sleeping on our chests. It is something to feel the heart of this tiny child beat so very close to yours. She is simply a joy.

We seem to have found our routine; up for breakfast, and out for shopping! Today we headed to the New Market which seems to be about the middle of town. Meat, belts, spices, sarees, and auto parts, you can find it here in abundance. Another gauntlet to walk, there are store fronts on one side and vendors on the other. Salesmen working on commission try to lure you into the stores that they have a prearranged deal
with for a little pay-o-lah. Then there are the beggars coupled with the fact that we seem to draw a crowd anyway. I'm sure we looked like the pied piper as we made our way from store front to store front. It is always so interesting to take one of these shopping trips on foot. People watching is insurmountable.

Air conditioning is something I thought I would never wish for, but the heat here is really something else. Even the babies are drenched with perspiration the second we step outside. AC is what lead us to Ontrack, our lunch destination. As it happened we were able to sit in a railway car from the Orient Express. It was really cool.

Back to the hotel, it was time for a little siesta. Devi is very good about taking naps although she continues to wake her self up to check and recheck that we are still here for her. She looks to me for comfort and to Patrick to be silly. Each day a bit more of her personality comes through, today she is a bit more fussy than I know what that would be from one day of being with her :). I'm sure it is partly the heat that
we walked around in and also I think she is aware that she is not going back to the place where she spent her first 10 months. Her cry has a mournful tone to it and she raises her arms up to me to pick her up, but that is a great sign! We now know she loves formula, banana and rice and she HATES dal (lentils), guava juice and noodles. She loves to giggle at Roger and the boys and loves the wind to blow her in the face when riding a taxi.

Picnicing in 525 was the choice for dinner tonight. Room service was ordered and the Welser's came into out room with extra chairs. We were all exhausted from the heat and the girls were just plain done for the day. Enjoying one last conversation with the Welser's we chatted about how we would continue to see each other in the years to come. Departing in the early morning, we said our goodbyes and hugs all the way around. Patrick and I don't leave until the early evening.

The kids: Andrew, Devi, Evan, and Jenya
We are so fortunate to have met this family. Their ideas about things, likes and dislikes, are very similar to ours. Experiencing this trip together has made it a much more rewarding quest. Because of them, we took more risks on this trip. We tried more things and went to more places than we could have probably handled on our own. We now ask what our best and worst thing of the day was, know about whoopahs, and have seen India through the eyes of other adults, an inquisitive nine year old and imaginative five year old boys. It is hard to believe that a family from the west coast and a family from the east coast had to go half way arouncd the world to meet and become fast friends. We owe it all to our two beautiful girls born in Kolkata.

This will be the last post until arriving home I think. We will have a small outing tomorrow and then we head to the airport to begin the final journey home. Wish us luck, we are going to need it. If all goes well, we will be arriving at SeaTac on American Airlines on Saturday at 10am. Departing as two and arriving home as three. This trip all ready feels dream like. It is hard to fathom how much we were able to do while here. IT has been so far beyond great. Adding Devi, our princess, our daughter, our little Indian souvenir, to our family was amazing. Everything else is just icing on the cake!

Our First Full Day!

Our sweet Devi Rose is such a joy!

Kolkata, as seen from our room

Here they where helmets on more than just the driver.

First off, I have to say thank you to everyone who has left comments on the blog. Words from home are wonderful to receive and are a source of comfort as we bumble along as first time parents. Half way around the world, it is nice to be connected with this little bit of home.

Gymnast or wiggle worm, Devi is very active in her sleep! We had her between us trying to provide comfort to her in the event that she should awaken in the night. She was perfectly still until about 1am then she began searching for the boundries of her crib that are no longer there. This continued until about 4 am when she finally settled down. It is odd because she is totally asleep but in constant motion, moving from back to front to side and back again. It reminds me of one of the those dime store balls that rolls into a wall and then bounces off in another direction. Fortunately, when she awoke at about 7:30 she seemed rested and was all smiles.

We joined the Welser's for breakfast in the hotel asking for a table for eight instead of six! Everyone is doing great. Jenya is adorable and can steal your heart with her krinkled up nose face. She is feisty...a necessity to keep up with the boys....a perfect fit. I love that at 10 months she is already a woman with an opinion.

We decided to go out for a bit of shopping and the girls took to it as if they had been out in public their whole lives. We are a spectacle for sure. A gaggle of American tourists, one snapping photos, most clad in floppy hats, one with dreadlocks, one carrot topped boy and two Indian babies in tow. We are stopped frequently to answer questions about who, why, how etc etc. We've also had to get used to the very small amount of personal space people here require as well as how they squeeze the cheeks of the children as we walk by. People have no problem stopping a mere foot away and just staring at us everywhere we go...into our taxi, shopping, restaurants and hotel.

The heat and humidity here are intense. I love it, but even I need a rest from it on occasion. We try to have lunch at places that have air conditioning and Naan bread, of course. So after a spot of lunch we walked the streets back to the hotel.

Kolkata is far different from the other cities we've traveled through this far. It is a crowded city, for sure, but it seems fewer people speak English here. A mish-mash of shops from tourist stops to upscale bags and shoes all within the same block the people watching possibilities are endless. The sidewalks are lined with food vendors and people selling just about any little trinket imaginable. As you take in a city block on foot, the smells are hard to resist in spite of the conditions in which they are preparing the food. At a typical stall one might see a few sweaty men cooking over an open flame and several customers in business attire as well as blue collar workers scooping the days fare from their tin plates with the first three fingers of their right hands into their mouths as they clutter the sidewalk with their presence. Amongst the heat from the preparation and scooping and chewing you hear men discussing what I assume are politics or work matters in Bengali. When a meal is complete the tins are hand washed in buckets at the shoulder of the road by crouching boys and the waste water is tossed into the streets evaporating in the heat as it hits the pavement. This goes on for blocks and blocks and after awhile you get the feeling that you are experiencing the true essence of what the city of Kolkata is like.

Nap time arrived and we headed back to the hotel for a siesta. Devi is still a bit unsure and wakes herself up often to check and recheck that we are still here. She seems to really like her momma and her daddy has a way about him too. We are convinced that she is a keeper....I think she is maybe still sizing us up!

ISRC and Dillon did us a huge favor by processing our paperwork for Devi's visa for us while we were traveling because the person at the US consulate was not available the dates that we had scheduled. We and the Welser's felt we needed to thank them for taking on this task, so while at the babies home, we got a list of prescription medicine and basic supplies to donate to the babies while we are here. With this is mind off all eight of us went in search of a chemist with list and donation money in hand. Destination PG hospital with a chemist store close by was the direction we were given and we're off.

An Indian hospital is much different than anything medical related that we know of in the states. There were people laying everywhere...benches, sidewalks and under bushes, I think waiting to be seen by someone. If I didn't know it was a hospital, I don't know that I could have figured it out.

Off we trotted in search of the chemist store. After asking directions a couple of times and wandering off aimlessly we finally came upon the Franklin Ross Chemist. The building was two steps down from the sidewalk into an open area office about ten by ten square. Karen and I approached the counter with our request for supplies. After trying to convey our message to two or three of the employees, the pharmacist finally came out to help us. By now, a crowd had ensued and the squishing of baby cheeks and questions about why we have Indian babies started to flow. Curiosity knows no limits. Our order was unusual in size and in quantity of items, plus trying to arrange for delivery, pay now and get a receipt...the whole transaction was difficult to explain and even more complicated with the language difference. Providing a donation like this to the babies we just met the day before was so gratifying. As we left the store, Karen turned to me and said "This is a moment". It really was one of those moments that makes you feel good inside and holds a memory that lasts a lifetime.

Hailing a taxi we were off for a bite of dinner at the Kwality restaurant and then home for a warm bath, warm bottle and nightie night. No sooner had we shut out the lights when we started to hear a tremendous commotion outside. The street has been exceptionally loud due to the upcoming Durga Puja festival. We have been seeing statues of Durga being transported all over town, bringing cheers as the statue drive past. This was a sudden extreme rise in the noise level. Something immediate. Then we heard yelling in the hall way of the hotel outside our door. We were afraid to open the door because it sounded like a fight between many people. At one point, I thought that they were in the Welser's room. Just as quickly as it started, the noises died down and all was quiet again. Hmm, turns out it was cricket. India beat England by 10. Apparently, there are sports fans staying at the hotel....we were hearing drunken sports fans. Who knew :)

Yeah India!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Forever Family Day

It is 9:30 pm in Kolkata, Devi is asleep and we are on top of the moon! This day has flown by and each and every second I wish could be captured, never to be forgotten.

After signing our papers with Ms. Roy, we met our Devi. She is more beautiful than we imagined; perfect in every way. Her little personality seems calm, inquisitive and, thoughtful. She was quick to laugh today. We hope this is not the calm before the storm but welcome whatever comes.

The ayahs do not understand much English but we managed to get out of them that Devi and Jenya are naughty together. Sounds like typical girls :) They apparently did share a crib and sometimes also with Rup, Rashi and Diganta. All the children looked happy and well cared for. The ayahs are dear, somewhat shy, and you could see that it was hard for them to say goodbye. Shopna, one ayah was quite fond of Devi and could easily get her to giggle, something we are still working on.

After touring this facility, we also went to the special needs facility nearby. There we met all the children less fortunate. The facility is clean and nice, and the children there are receiving good care. The caregivers there were so friendly and have big hearts doing the work that they do. If we could only bring them all home. In spite of their needs, they all were happy to have visitors and many are making great strides.

Arriving home with Devi asleep, the hotel staff, knowing the reason for our stay, greeted us warmly.
Praising us for our life choice and swooning over the children. They have been non-stop arriving at our door with cookies, fruit, and towels even though we have not requested the service. I wonder if they just would like a glimpse of these beautiful girls. (In case I have not mentioned it, the Welser's are next door with an adjoining door.) The staff are slow to leave and enjoy smiling at the children.

Let the wailing begin! Okay, so there were a few tense moments when we arrived home and Devi discovered her voice. She was not pleased with the cereal the babies home sent with us, but eventually came around and enjoyed a biscuit or two and a warm bottle. Soon after, the over stimulated tiny tike fell asleep for a good couple of hours. It is hard not to stand and stare at this miracle of life. She is precious.

Awaking to a new environment, you could see she was looking for comfort and found it in mommy and daddy's arms. A very good sign. She is making good eye contact with us and is quite the cuddler. We played together on the bed for a while and she enjoyed hitting daddy's belly! She also seems to enjoy raspberries
on her feet and is quite ticklish.
We chose to wake her around 6:30pm and join the Welser's for our first dinner out. It went great. Devi was content to watch the other patrons and searched out the source of anything making a baby noise. Bar-B-Q's (Indian and Chinese food) staff was great to serve us quickly and also took a genuine interest in us and our day. The food was fantastic, recommended by Kristi another adoptive mom. Devi ate a few clumps of least I think some went in :)

Taxi service in the big city is nothing like that of the other places we have been so far. It seems more like
New York than India. Patience is a virtue here sometimes. Our driver was disappointed with his fare, but after being in India over a week, we are feeling not so much like the newbie tourist anymore and have a better sense for what something should cost.Now back in room 525, our home for this week, we decided to try our first bath. Pat donned his bathing suit and in she went with him. Hesitant, having never been emersed, she did great. It was our first time taking in her slightly pudgy naked body. Ever so cute, she has all the proper equipment; ten fingers, ten toes and even an innie belly button!
Swathed in scabie cream (just in case) we snuggled her up in her new jammies and she soon fell asleep. According to her schedule, which I doubt means much, she does not usually fall asleep until midnight. (At the babies home, they just dim the lights and the children fall asleep where they are) As first time parents, we have no idea how long this SLEEP will last but for now I hope she is dreaming pleasant dreams; we sure will be.

Isn't she lovely?
Truly the angel's best.
Boy, I'm so happy,
We have been heaven blessed.
I can't believe what God has done.
(For) us He's given life to one.
Isn't she lovely, made from love.

-Stevie Wonder


I read yesterday on the plane from a famous Indian man whose name I can't recall- He said "Butterflies don't live month to month but rather from moment to moment"
Today was definitely a moment- both Pat and I were a different kind of excited the closer we moved towards 10:30- the scheduled time the hotel arranged car would take us and the Welser's to the ISRC- The Indian Society for Rehabilitation of Children. We all trooped out with bags in hand of donations for the babies- we used every inch of the SUV, but managed to get it all in. The drive over from the hotel took us through centuries old streets lined with people cooking breakfast, or scurrying off to work, some bathing at communal water pumps. It took only 15 minutes but seemed so long- the anticipation of finally meeting our Devi made the car ride extremely long. People were waiting for us as we pulled up to a building with the first floor covered in black metal bars lest the area for the front door. The second story had 6 clothes lines draped across the width of the building full of baby clothes drying in the hot morning sun. The group was escorted upstairs where Ms. Anju Roy greeted us all. The first room was small, it was very hot but ceiling fans tried their best to keep us cool. The Welser's went in first to Anju's office, signed some paperwork, were given instructions on the passport, how immigration was going to need paperwork as we transitioned from Delhi bound for the US. In the meantime, Pat noticed movement through a door covered in heavy lace- both Devi and Jenya were sharing a crib a mere 10 feet away. The Ayah's- caregivers were busy changing clothes, combing hair and getting all the babies ready us to come in to the room. The moment had arrived for both families to meet their babies, the door opened up and both girls were standing holding the railing on the crib, a look of wonder on both faces as we all walked in to say our first hello's.

More is a butterfly moment kinda day :)

Devi Day!

Today we go to the orphange to meet our sweet Devi Rose. I thought I would be more nervous. Maybe that will come as I become more awake.

In the early hours of the morning while it was still dark, Patrick squeezed my hand in bed and whispered, “Today’s the day!” We’ve waited so long for this day and it is finally here.

Up until this part of the trip, I haven’t been really looking at her picture too much, trying to enjoy the site seeing we chose to do first. We’ve told anyone who will listen about why we are here and have received mostly positive results. Even the security guard at the airport in Delhi opened my wallet and saw Devi’s picture inside and asked if she was my daughter. I explained, “yes, my daughter”, and she smiled and said, “Good.”Now, all I see in my head is her image as I remember it from her last picture. I hope that we recognize her. I also hope that this meeting is not too tramatic for her. We have been preparing for years for her and have loved her for along time all ready. She is going away with us today, having never seen us before. I’m sure it will be confusing and frightening.

Kolkata at Last!

Yerterday we left Delhi for our destination city Kolkata. It was a two hour plane ride that touched us down about a half hour outside of the city. We arranged for a driver to meet us at the airport to take us to the Hindustan hotel. Construction is going on everywhere here. The driver informed us that they are building apartments, a clear indication that this city is booming. The traffic was gridlocked once we hit the city. When I asked the driver he said it was because it was Monday, the first day of the business week.

Kolkata is much different then the the other cities we have visited. It is much hotter and more humid, which is hard to believe is possible. The countryside seems much more lush to me, almost jungle like. Palm trees are everywhere, unlike the the occasional up cropping we noticed on the west side of the country.

Having been spoiled by the Alsisar Haveli in Jaipur, we realize we are once again in a big city at the Hindustan. Our room faces what we think is a convent and the street below never sleeps. I think it is the major road through the heart of the city and it is a continual symphony of horns, yells, beeps, and engine noise. Just a hotel, not the charm of a heritage property. It is hard to imagine that tomorrow there will be a small child playing in this very room.

Karen and I circled the phone as she called the orphanage to set a time to meet our girls. Tuesday at 11:00 am! It was confirmed that our paperwork was sent ahead from the adoption agency to the US consulate because the person we were to see there was going to be away. This means that after we tour the orphanage and get Devi today we are done with the legal process here in India. All the mounds of paperwork come down to one piece of paper that gives permission from our agency to take custody of her. When Karen hung up, I can honestly say my legs were shaking.

At long last, we can finally transfer the donations for the ayahs and babies out of the suitcase for travel to ISRC. They have had a long journey form our home to the Nikko where they remained locked up with the bell man while we did the rest of our traveling. We reclaimed them there and they made the trek with us to the Kolkata. The logistics of the packing and shifting of suitcases is finally coming to an end, I think.

After settling in, we and the Welser’s decided we needed a spot of lunch and decided to venture out on foot to find it. After receiving directions twice we finally happened upon a sign for Cal’s terrace view cafe. Following our noses, we eneded up an elevator and a flight of stairs, all the while thinking that the building was abandoned. Not so, at the top was a little cafe loaded with local teenagers celebrating a couple of birthdays. We were surprised to hear them singing Happy Birthday in english so we joined in.

The food is inexpensive so we tried a sampling of food items. Very interesting things arrived at the table, my favorite was a stuffed dosa - like a crepe with different fillings that you tear off in strips and dip in a coule of yummy sauces. We also had a paneer and garlic pizza that was equally as delicious and slightly sweet. Everything here has a bit of a kick to it...not just hot....but flavorful spicey.

Airborne has failed Patrick on this trip and he has managed to catch a cold so we decided to take it easy and stay in the hotel for the night. We watched a little television and fell asleep early. Surprisingly, even with the street noise we slept soundly. The first full nights sleep of the whole trip thus far.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saying Goodbye to Jaipur

Today is our last day in Jaipur. Really, all we want to do is ride around where ever Raees wants to take us. The rides are still so fun. We are feeling, however, that the focus of our trip is starting to shift. Now, we find ourselves wondering about our Devi and what she must be doing at various times of the day. We have been quick to tell people why we are here and have gotten positive responses.

Our final few hours were, of course :). In our travels, it has become a game to announce the animal we may be passing which is great fun. A typical richshaw ride could very easily sound like this.."Moo, cow, goat! pause...camel, another camel, Moo cow." Today we even came across a snake charmer.
Our final destination in Jaipur was to Krispal Singh's house. He is a famous potter specializing in the blue pottery of Jaipur. He is in his 80's and still throws clay on a wheel. Fascinating man, he has lived all over the world and was a true delight to meet.Kingfisher air flew us from Jaipur back to Delhi. It was a 25 minutes flight and in that time the flight attendants managed to pass out headphones for us to watch half a program, we had juice, then they came around with a snack lunch and finally water. We were cracking up! Barely enough time to choke down all that stuff and they had to take it away because we were there. I don't think I even had a chance to change my seat from straight to reclining before we were there!

Tomorrow we are on to Kolkatta, where our Devi awaits us! The thrilling part of our journey is just about to begin!

Hawa Mahal

We enjoyed our day so much with the Welser's we tagged along for another adventure to the Hawa Mahal today. This five story structure was constructed so the women could watch the comings and goings of the city street without being seen themselves. Tiny shuttered peep holes line the structure which in elaborately decorated on the front and plain on the inside. We climbed all through it imagining what it must have been like to live during those times.

Raees continues to be our driver. He speaks good English and is a safe and good driver...if there is such a thing in a place where there are no rules of the road. The rides through the city continue to be one of our favorite things even though it feels like we seem to be taking our lives into our own hands.
Raees with his son, mother, shop worker and Welser boys

Shopping was the afternoon activity and Raees knew right where to take us. We are certain he is earning a commission by taking us to some of these places, but the guide books indicate that this is a common practice. What stood out for me was the bangle shop that happened to be right next door to Raees' house. Hmmm...It was great fun to have this darling young girl try bracelets on Karen and I. I'm certain she thought that we were crazy Americans, but all in fun. Meanwhile, the boys (the two adult ones and the two younger ones) of our group, were sitting street side attracting quite a mob of people. The little children especially want us to take their picture and if nothing else enjoy staring at us.

Chatting with the local children

These interactions with the people have been the highlights of the trip for me. I love trying to talk with them and hear about their lives. As we concluded our business at the bangle shop, we got to meet Raees' mother and his son. An interesting side note about his Australian couple is paying for him to attend American school in the afternoons because Raees can not afford these luxuries. It is 3000RS every 3 months for him to attend this school and he is very proud of him.

Dropping off the men poolside, left Karen and I free for a couple more hours of shopping. Raees took us around a bit more. I think we've traveled every street in the city at least twice and still nothing looks familiar. On this night, a Hindu festival was beginning and we got caught in a huge traffic jam. There were costumed people and and beautiful sari's everywhere not to mention music and wonderful smelling foods wafting form the vendors.

Reaching the Alsisar Haveli marked another successful day. I am loving Jaipur. It is dirty, busy, chaotic and unpredictable and fabulous. This kind of place heightens your senses and it is wonderful.


We decided the best way to attack the hustle and bustle of this city was by group, so we joined forces with the Welser's to head to Amber fort. Just outside our hotel we met the auto rickshaw driver, Raees, who assured us that all six of us could fit in his rig. (The size of the back seat of a VW bug). It was a tight squeeze, but I think it was what was holding us in. The streets here are spotted with pot holes at least a foot deep. This coupled with the fact that you are also dodging and sharing the roads with bikes, cars, camels, elephants, cows and people makes for a memorable ride. We all decided who needs amusement rides when you can come to Jaipur. Off we bounced astonished at the small places in traffic we managed to squeeze through.
Cresting the top of the hill, we viewed the Amber fort in its glory, built into the hill side. There we entered the gauntlet of tourists waiting in line for an elephant booking. Swarmed by vendors selling things, we managed to make our way toward the front of the line, but not before having puppets, hats, film, paintings etc. flashed in front of our faces for a hopeful sale. These men are persistent and I mean PERSISTENT. It does not matter how many different ways you say "No thank you" they are certain they have the best price and that you need what ever it is they are touting.
Taking a seat on the elephants was so incredible. To feel the sway of their body weight shift from left to right as you lumber your way up the hill to the fort's entrance was an experience of a lifetime...we just couldn't stop smiling and laughing. Once there we were met by a guide, arranged by Raees, who took us throughout the fort sharing the most interesting stories about the kings and queens who lived there. Turns out that the fort was designed and used to keep the queens happy. "Changing the climate" was the goal so there were winter and summer palaces. The winter palace was designed so that when candles were lit in a room full of tiny mirrors the reflection off the mirrors helped to warm the room. In summer, the open air palace was outfitted with gutter type piping that dripped scented water onto hanging mats of kush kush to keep the women cool. This fort was equiped with a ballroom and pool too.

Entering a Rasjastani market, I had my first experience with a carpet salesman. He had several boys throwing out rugs and explaining their qualities to us. They were beautiful, but I don't know how we would manage a 6 foot roll of rug with our other luggage and a baby so had to pass. Lunch followed to refuel for another outing in the evening were Karen and I had the attentions of a couple of shop workers showing us sample after sample of whatever we decided looked interesting. It is hard to get used to this sort of attention while one shops, but it was kind of fun. You take a seat and point to what you would like to see. Then they start there dance of flinging out samples, holding them up to themselves for you to look. We would very casually say, "Kind of nice, but do you have in other colors?", or "No, I don't like that", "This is okay, what is your best price?" and "Too expensive!" The idea is to not let on how much you like something and always be prepared to walk away.
Dinner happened to land us at a spot with night time entertainment. Naturally, the dancers gravitated to the Welser boys trying to persuade them to join the dancing. It was very cute.

Falling into bed marked the end of another long day and Devi is now 10 months old!

Hitting the streets of Jaipur on empty

It’s 4 am on Friday morning. After a very long train ride from Agra to Jaipur, thoughts are racing through my head while Julie sleeps. I am hoping that I can tap my thoughts enough to be able to climb back into bed- we’ll see.

Yesterday morning was another early start- up at 5:30 to catch a 6:15 train at the Agra Fort station- a different departing station from where we came in just 1 day before. Out taxi was right on time and the route he chose took us past the main entrance to the Taj, down hill paralleling the river and the Agra Fort. I didn’t appreciate the massive size of the exterior walls until we drove past- an incredible massive structure. It took only 10 minutes to arrive at the station after negotiating a typical India before sunrise- people sleeping where they lied the night before- bicycle rickshaws from a by gone time carrying people to work, freight of all sorts, and whatever else needed transport. The station was smaller than Delhi, but everything else the same. There were vendors across the dirt road mostly cooking breakfast- the smell of incredible food was fighting for it’s place against other interesting smells that I didn’t care to know the source.

Entering the station required us to negotiate a labyrinth of people sleeping on the floor in every direction- luckily it was mostly east to west so the shikane of humanity was navigated without a misintended kick to the head, body part, etc. Not an easy feat with both of us with backpacks too full to begin with threatening to topple us like weebles.

Our train was delayed to 7:20- turns out delayed was the theme of the morning which almost made it to afternoon. We chose a spot on platform 1 and took in what walked by. Business people, freight porters with carts that looked way too old to work with bundles stacked 20 feet across and 12 feet high, vendors selling packaged fruits out of stainless steel carts that looked to me like world war 1 tanks less the gun barrel. Dogs roaming looking for a bite to eat, and turns out monkeys that do the same. The animals are incredibly smart- the dogs choose the tourists to stand by, give the puppy dog big eyes, hoping for a morsel.

Every kind of person walked by in the 5 hours we were at the station- the variety was incredible. Beggars, rural farmers with their families, students we met who were dressed sharp going on job interviews for the Indian Air Force, tourist natives who regard Agra as a vacation destination with the women in their glimmering saris of every bright color in the rainbow.
While waiting after a time, Roger and Karen and kids in tow walked past in a perfect line navigating between the humanity and the edge of the platform following the porter who was on a mission to walk them it seemed to Jaipur. Julie said our hello’s as they went past. India sunrises come on strong and it was not very long before they came over packing their bags from relief of the heat.

The covered area of the station acted like a wind tunnel keeping the heat at bay- it didn’t hurt to be standing under a ceiling fan suspended 50 feet from the girders holding up the galvanized metal roof. A trampolene of entertainment for the monkeys banging along the top playing with each other before descending to walk the rails. As always, we had loads to talk about, we both received great news that another step in our adoptions was surprising accomplished without us being in Kolkata.
The train ride itself was very different this time.

We booked a sleeper car which has 3/4’s of the compartment sections holding 6 bunks- 3 high probably 15 total compartments. On the other side of the aisle 2 bunks went perpendicular to the sets of 6. Turns out, we booked a top bunk on 1 side with the middle bunk on the other- all the other bunks had personal belongings strewn about with no people- we knew we were in for an experience. It wasn’t long before the first of 12 traveling men plopped himself down and said “sit”. Not sure if it was a directive or a question- of course we took it as a question, and in concert stereo we both said sit. As they arrived, each was on a mission to purchase different types of food. Julie and I were surrounded by a buffet feast with sights and smells, burps, laughs and finally groans as the men each worked out a place to lie down to snooze the ride away. The chorus of snoring after awhile made for good entertainment and the scenery that passed the window was as varied as the people in the station.

Arriving at Jaipur, we were met by a young over ambitious fellow- we had tourists targets on our forehead. He helped us get to the prepaid auto rickshaw stand, and escorted us to his machine. A pull of a lever and the 2 stroke engine came to life, making the machine shutter as we started on our way to the hotel. As we were driving, it seemed like we were part of a bloodstream of cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, anything that moved and carried people to their destination. The street was narrow- on the left shops, open air kitchens, on the right a concrete barrier.

There was a sudden stop and after the driver tried to start the machine, gave up, said he would be back. Of course we were partially blocking the throngs trying to get past, but we had great fun watching as they went by. Further entertainment for us was the store front to our left, which was a puri stand. So we watched as dough was formed into small rounds and cooked on a flat iron over an open fire on the sidewalk. After 5 minutes our guy comes back with a water bottle full of petrol- his brother had worked the night before and didn’t fill the tank. Off to the hotel taking back alley shortcuts, dodging pot holes, navigating a zig zag pattern of obstacles both moving and stationary. There was actually a speed bump before the main road- really an after thought after the 2 feet deep potholes in the 3 wheeler- we both got a good chuckle as the machine bounced us on the bench seat.

Pulling in to the hotel we got the hard sell from our driver- “Do you have reservations, do you need transport tomorrow- I take you to Monkey Fort, Water palace, nice places. I had to hand it to the guy, he was persistent. Handing over the voucher so he would be reimbursed and a tip we said our goodbye’s and entered an oasis in the middle of the city.

Hotel Alsisar Haveli is a family run, near fort like, hotel. Pretty gardens full of birds, archways and verandas in different directions. It’s really a beautiful place. The room is furnished completely with antiques- the four poster bed with a thin but firm mattress at least afforded me a 5 hour sleep. We had dinner at their restaurant- Indian food that didn’t disappoint. Julie was especially excited for dessert- her favorite gulab jamen, or milk solid balls deep fried and served in sugar syrup. The whole trip the food has been terrific- I think it will replace pizza as my favorite.

It’s been an hour or so- Julie woke up intermittently and asked what I was writing about- “oh things that happened yesterday” was my response. The best thing about it all is 1 more day has past and we are closer to seeing our baby girl. It’s the 14th today- Devi’s 10 month birthday is tomorrow. I can’t wait to hold her together with Julie and start us off on our new chapter.

Friday, September 14, 2007

From Agra to Jaipur

We've now moved on, via train, to the city of Jaipur. It has been a couple of jam packed days, but with internet prices at a premium the difficulty we've had in finding places to connec we will catch up with the stories and photos when we return to Delhi in a couple of days. I can say that this is my favorite place thus far. This city is rich with history, full of people and shopping galore.

We've connected with the Welser's and have spent the day today enjoying each others company and experiencing this wonderful place and the connection that we have because of our girls.

Didn't want the family to worry that they hadn't heard from us....we are having the times of our lives here and will post more later.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All Aboard! to Agra

Bags stowed for a few days in Delhi, we headed out this morning with backpacks for Agra via the train. We were both excited as this was our first train experience ever. We had been warned that the train station can be a bit daunting and they were right. Swarmed by people eager to carry a bag or give directions for a price, we made our way to platform 1. Everyone pretty much listens when they hear a stern “no” and we’ve learned you just have to walk with confidence like you know were you are going. No sooner had we found some ground space to call our own, we ran into the Welser’s again. The 2002 Bhopal Shatabdi was late so we circled the wagons and chatted with them to pass the 2 hours time delay. Their youngest, with red curly hair and pale skin creates quite a stir. It seems that people of India have rarely seen someone with his physical characteristics and stop a foot or two away, staring with intrigue.

Pulling away from the station, we could already see the terrain begin to change. From congested city life we rolled into blips of color amongst a sea of green, only to find that these were the women workers tending to the rice fields. Occasionally, you would see a few cattle or a factory, but for the most part the country side remained flat and green. Aboard train, we were served a veg breakfast which consisted of 2 slices of white bread with jam and butter, 2 potato patties with a scoop of mixed vegetables and a couple french fries. Mango juice and tea were served to keep the edge on the incredible thirst we have here. Agra soon arrived and the scramble for the prepaid taxi booth began. It is nerve racking to try and figure out where you are supposed to go, all the while hearing people yelling for you to come here or there and trying to drown out the horns and train noise.

By the time we reached the Tajview Hotel, we had made friends with and arrangements to have our drivers Alseph and Satish guide us through our day of sites. Life is short, so see the Taj Mahal first, I always say, so that is where we started the tour. Let me just say that because the famous Taj icon is absolutely everywhere I was prepared to be disappointed, but honestly, it is one of the most stunning and peaceful places I’ve ever been. Pictures simply do not do it justice. The marble inlay is incredible and in excellent condition considering that construction of this masterpiece took 20,000 workers and 22 years to complete in 1663. The gate leading to the main structure, mosque and guest house, although not typically in pictures are remarkable in themselves. Alseph guided us through the grounds telling the story of life and love between Shan Jahan and his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal and how he built this temple to honor her in her death.

Along our journey, Alseph shared that he has an arranged marriage that just took place in May. Alseph became ready for marriage when he completed his schooling and took a government job as a tour guide. His parents chose for him a local girl. The parents of both families met on several occasions finally agreeing to the marriage. He hopes to have two children, one boy and one girl, although he smiled and said two girls would be okay too ;)

Next we went to a marble inlay co-op to see how it is crafted. Truly a labor of love, the seventeen family descendants of the craftsmen who actually built the Taj are still staying true to the procedure that was originally used....carved marble and gemstone by hand, not by machine. The government pays the salaries of these artisans so that as the Taj requires renovation, there is a professional to do the job. Fascinating.

We stopped for a spot of lunch at Indianas where I ate myself silly in lentils (dal) and rice. Yummy food only refueled us for more site seeing. Agra fort was next on the list, which is where the mughul leaders actually lived. There is a long and twisted story of how each of the mughal leaders had come into power and how they performed during their reign. Alsep explained how the city of palaces operated during the time of each of the reigning rulers. One, Alkbar, managed to house and keep 3 wives and 362 concubines in these amazing grounds!

Currently, we are sitting in our 5th floor room of the Tajview hotel enjoying just that....a Taj View. Is is absolutely incredible. Slowly giving up the day, the sun is beginning to set casting the most beautiful shadows across this symetrical wonder. Once white, then tan now a hint of pink. Awesome.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Delhi Day 2

Weary travelers we are for sure, but loving every moment of it! If I haven't mentioned it, the Nikko has fabulous coffee and that is coming from someone who only drinks the foofy drinks!

Because our time clocks are so off, last night we ate dinner around 11pm. We stayed in the hotel and enjoyed an Indian meal at the Chutneys. A lasting impression was made by the Kulha, which is Indian ice cream. It was flavored with green tea and pistachios with a tiny amount of vermicelli noodles on top. YUM!

Today we ventured out to the Crafts Museum. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed, but the place was an intricately weaved labyrinth of rooms encompassing the history of India through it's crafts. We were awestruck as we wandered through rooms displaying pottery, tapestry, wood carvings, metal work, textiles, ornately carved ivory and stone. This was not your typical museum, no air conditioning, no glass cases...nothing to perserve the works and not a single "No touching" sign. We even saw a live lizard living amongst the displays. It is the closest we will probably ever be to art work produced in the 17th century and earlier. Huge pottery horses that stood over 7 feet tall, ornately carved wooden door jams from Nepal, and fine needle work of fabric for sari's were some highlights.

We stopped for a bit of shopping, although we are saving that for Jaipur. Wool...who knew that the most highly sought after variety comes from the chin of a goat that lives in the Himalayan mountains. I will admit, it feels nothing like the wool that I know. The fabric has the softest texture that will not wrinkle. Now that is an attribute worth the money :)

Stopping at traffic signals brings out the beggars from the fringes of the roadside. Today they were very small children performing gymnastics and contortions in the streets right next to your car. Then, before the light changes to green they tap on your window vying for your attention before you drive away. They are hard to ignore and resist.

Venturing out on foot, we finally got the courage to walk the streets this afternoon. Courage, in that dodging cars, bicycles, auto and pedal driven rickshaws along with fellow pedestrians is a well choreographed dance. You find yourself so busy bobbing and weaving that it is hard to see the shops and vendors. Plus, as a pedestrian, you are at a disadvantage without a horn! One large circle around the surrounding area was enough to get a feel for the neighborhood. People are extremely friendly however, and it is sometimes hard to understand that people are genuinely interested in who you are without wanting anything in return.

Evening entertainment was a performance of "Dances of India" by a local dance troupe. Colorful costumed performers danced to live music as each movement explained part of the history of an evolving India. The interesting thing about this group is that they perform everyday at 6:45pm at a tiny auditorium and have done this for thirty one years! A few minutes before the performance was to start, Pat and I were the only ones in the auditorium, due to a huge traffic jam caused by the prime minister who was hosting a dinner party tongiht. Thankfully, as the music began people began to shuffle in and we ended up with a pretty full house.

Pat treated me afterwards to a dinner of indulgence at the Imperial hotel. The Spice Route is a Thai restaurant that is quite well known for their excellent cuisine. We had a signature dish of prawns called Chemeen Thoren. The prawns come from off the coast of Mumbai and are the size of my fist and were of so tender and delicious. We both had secretly hoped to shed a few pounds on this trip. Thank goodness for elastic waists as I don't think weight loss is a possibility here. Everything we have tried is scrumptious :)

On to Agra tomorrow....and our first train trip! Less than a week until we meet our sweet Devi!

Delhi Photos Day 1

Monday, September 10, 2007

US Embasy and Delhi

The stillness of our sleep was like death. We were exhausted from the trip and knew that we were facing Embassy day today. Surprisingly, we awoke fairly refreshed and we both seemed to know who we were :)

Not more than two minutes into our trip, BLAM! our taxi blew a tire. Yash, our English speaking driver was johnny on the spot to fix it. He was a delightful man, about our age, married 15 years with 3 children. We really enjoyed his company and he was easy to laugh with us, especially when I told him the tire blew on my side because I am too fat! The police stood guard at a distance, as we exited the car to allow Yash to make the exchange from flat to inflated spare.

The embassy experience, only hours old, seems like a dream. At long last, we met the Welser’s and the whole experience seemed far less tense with friends there for support. Conversation with them came easily and made the wait go by very quickly. Manoj Mahay was our examiner. He happens to know someone in Washington state...small world. All the paperwork was in order, although we are one of the first families working with Dillon to go through a new filing procedure. There were a couple of tense moments when he asked for Bhargabi’s passport which is in Kolkata for the completion of the filing there. A brief explanation and everything was resolved.

Business done for the day, we set out site seeing with Yash as our guide. First we stopped at the Indian parliament buildings in New Delhi. It is a huge span of red sandstone buildings with immaculate grounds built around 1913. The roadway is the Rajpath at the end of which is the India Gate. India Gate is a war memorial honoring the 90 thousand soldiers whose lives were lost in WWI. It seems to make sense that this area and our Washington DC mall with capital followed by a line of monuments are similar in design as both countries have ties to Britain.

Heading into Old Delhi, we stopped at Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, built in 1658. It sits high atop a long flight of steps overlooking the city. This area is the home of a large Muslim population some of whom were worshipping while we were there. We also took a couple pictures of a cute boy who was having a wonderful time running at a flock of pigeons forcing them into flight. Darling!

The marg, or way (street) leading into the mosque is public mayhem. It is crowed with lower level shops selling everything from car parts to fresh fish, and upper level apartments. We arrived when school was letting out so the street was a gridlock of auto rickshaws and bicycle rickshaws both giving uniformed students rides home. In addition there were horse drawn carts hauling goods from here to there and taxis who drive by way of horns. Mode of transportation is determined by how much can be strapped on and we witnessed some pretty precarious loads. One bicycle rickshaw was riding with two new refrigerators still in their boxes bouncing along behind him.

We passed the Red Fort which was closed (hope to go in tomorrow) and went to Raj Ghat the place where Mahatma Ghandi was cremated after his assassination in 1948. It is a huge and lush peaceful garden, in the center of which lies a simple black marble slab covered in beautiful flowers with the scent of incense wafting by. Ghandi is still very loved here as was evident by the many locals that still frequent this memorial.

Although I begged him to join us for lunch, Yash stayed outside the restaurant Splash, our first sampling of real Indian food. It was delicious. The best garlic naan I’ve ever had. This was the first place along the way where we encountered anyone who did not speak English well. We managed and both parties got a few chuckles over what was trying to be said versus what was heard. Our bill with tip for our multi course meal was only 10 dollars, amazing.

We summed up the day by visiting the Qutab Minar in South Delhi. Building on the five story tower began here in 1193 when the last Hindu kingdom was defeated in Dehli and it is truly a wonder. The chirping of brightly colored parakeets and parrots greet you as you enter this place. The ornately carved structures are in excellent condition given their age. It was here that Rausen, a young Indian univerity student approached me to ask for a picture together because I am a woman from the USA. He was very cute about it...flattery gets you everywhere!

Discovering Dehli today has been a dream. The people are friendly and extremely proud of the their country. Even pressed, I could not get Yash to mention anything about crime or gangs. He handled the beggar situation honestly, as we were approached often throughout the day with several different tactics from pitiful to the clever...all trying for a spare ruppee or two. We did see cows laying in the streets, but surprisingly, they actually look like that is where they belong. Unphased as sari clad women sitting sidesaddle behind men on motorcycles go whizzing by. The last moments together with our new friend, Yash were spent trying to teach me some Hindi words, a language I continually butcher. In my attempt to say thankyou, which is danyavaad I kept hearing and saying Tanya Ford. Who is she? It gave Yash, a good laugh. Parting ways, he shook both Pat and my hands hard, saying about our adoption, good luck and danyavaad.

Pictures to come as soon as they are uploaded

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Up and Away Into the Wide Blue Yonder!

With a warm Starbuck’s coffee warming our bellies, we are currently flying at 23 thousand feet in route to NY and the day, thus far has gone off without a hitch. Pat and I are giddy with the excitement of what lies ahead and are sharing our story with just about anyone who will listen. Those we’ve encountered have been excited with us which only perpetuates our enthusiasm.

Two hours of our 23 hours of travel down and doing great :)!
Patrick had a moment of celebrity in NewYork. He saw David, the first winner of the DesignStar contest who now hosts his own show on HG-TV, Color Splash. Where was I? In the restroom. This is humerous because every time our paths cross someone famous, I’m in the restroom. Bummer...missed again! The flight from New York was LONG and uncomfortable. I sat in middle of the middle section. It was during our evening meal I realized I was getting a bit punchy. In our cramped
conditions, I could only manage to move my arms from the elbows down. Something came over me, my hands formed claws and I began to make screetching noises similar to a T-Rex devouring a meal. Pat howled! Way to keep things light, I say!

We currently are in Paris awaiting the last of the 8 hour flights to Delhi. We seem to be covertly watching parents traveling with small children and are silently taking notes. One thing is for sure, we would never have been able to even fit half of Devi on our laps in the last set of seats we had. I hope the return flights have a bit more living space :)!

Tomorrow is a day at the US embassy for some paperwork.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

One Elephant + One Cow + One Shrew + A Goldfish

No, this is not a new character to be featured in the next Dr. Seuss book! But as our departure for India is only two days away, I can't help but reflect on the experiences and the time line that is ultimately leading us to Devi.
Blurry as it now seems, we sent in our first application January 1st, 2005. Depending on how you figure it....we have been working toward this goal for roughly 2 years-nine months OR 33 months OR 990 days (I'll spare you the hours and minutes!) I've always joked that the adoption process is like being pregnant with a gestation of elephant, but in our case, I had to also add a cow, a shrew and these last fourteen days are the goldfish!

Even though we have not even met our daughter yet, the adoption process has enriched our lives in so many ways. Preparing for our new life, we have met (mostly via email) some wonderful people from all over this country who have chosen to grow their families in this way too. Attending local Indian festivals and cooking classes has opened our eyes to the rich culture and wonderful food of this country half way around the world from us. Our friends and family have totally embraced our choice and have emersed themselves in learning along with us. We have been surprised to find how many people are participating in international adoptions. No matter where we go we have met others who know of someone who has embarked on a similar journey. They seem to light up with excitement sharing their story and are always quick to add their congratulations.

From completing the first form to finally purchasing tickets, this emotional journey has so far exceeded our wildest dreams. Although it is no longer cool to say the phrase, it has been totally awesome :)

Look out Devi, here we come!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

We're Going to India!

At long last, we have tickets in hand! We are still waiting for our ICPC to come through and for Devi's passport to be issued in India. The ICPC paperwork is basically the process of making sure that Pat and I have complied with all the adoption regulations in both Oklahoma and Washington states.

Our plan is to leave on September 8th at 8:40 am, making our way to Dehli via New York and Paris. We arrive in Delhi at 10:15 pm on September 9th. We will be discovering the Golden Triangle of India which includes Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. We will arrive in Kolkata on September 17th and be united with our angel on September 18th. Thankfully, we will be picking up our Devi on the same day as the Welser's will be picking up Jenya. Jenya and Devi have been sharing a crib and it will be nice that neither of the girls will have to be alone in the crib for any length of time before uniting with their forever families. We will be arriving home on the morning of the 22nd at 10am as a family of 3 plus Cayenne!

Our house
has taken on a transformation in the last few days as we prepare for the curiosity and wonder of a near toddler. Our outlets and doorknobs have become booby trapped and all breakable items have found higher ground. Every enticing hallway has been gated and the distinct baby pastel colors are illuminating from our cupboards and linen closets. Yes, by all accounts we are as ready as we will ever be with a plethora of BABY everywhere.

The quilt arrived Friday. It is beautiful. I totally admire the sewing talents of anyone who enjoys this pass time and know I have NOT missed my calling. It was truly a labor of love and am glad that whole experience is over :)! It will be fun to one day explain the stories behind the cloth to Devi and let her know how she was thought of during the process of making it.

The day was further highlighted by the Stevie Wonder concert we attended that night. He is a wonderful talent who evoked an emotional place in both Patrick and I as he sang praises that God is good and that love is the answer. Isn't she lovely was sung early on, marking one of my favorite tunes which now seems so appropriate.

Tonight is our last DATE NIGHT without child. Pat and I are getting gussied up and going out to paint the town red...hitting one of our favorite seafood restaurants and enjoying an evening of just us. It seems rather funny, as the only thing on our minds right now is the sweetness of finally being able to meet Devi.

We are so excited about this trip and are savoring every moment in it's preparation. We are planning on taking the computer to keep family and friends updated and so that we can remember each moment as it actually happens. Tomorrow the suitcases will make their first appearance, and with any luck, packing will commence :)