Monday, June 23, 2008

Kicking Off Summer

Wow, were we totally unprepared the evening Devi announced "potty?" Pat looked at me, and I looked back at him puzzled. What do we do? Like any proud parents, I grab the baby and Pat grabs the camera and we document this momentous occasion, which by the way, produced results on her first try! This is still a work in progress, but we are surprised more and more each day with how much she understands. Smart girl :)

Sound to Narrows Run, June 14th, 2008

A long standing tradition in our family is participating in the local running race. The whole Sound to Narrows race is a 7.4 mile hilly course that takes you through our local Pt. Defiance park. This is the first year in many that I decided not to run (chicken?) but Devi "ran" in her first diaper dash. Heat two, the under 2 years category was very competitive...not because of the children? Parents were elbowing each other claiming personal space as their own as we cajoled our children from the start to finish line. Notice all the cameras!!! It was a hoot! I love the photo where she is looking back for reassurance from daddy at the start, thumb in mouth!

Father's Day, June 15th, 2008

So proud of the crown she made for daddy, Devi just couldn't wait to present it to daddy. His morning started out with a little "quiet" to actually read the newspaper - a past time that rarely occurs these days, while Devi helped momma make smiley face pancakes for dad. Operating a spatula at age 18 months is a little shaky, but daddy loved his breakfast. Once our tummies were full, we headed out to a local festival for a bit of sunshine and dancing. Devi loves live music...I think she experienced her first crush - on the trumpet player from one of the bands that was playing.

First Road Trip, June 20-22, 2008

Looking at "ishies" with Uncle Bill in the pond.

Reading "Green Eggs and Ham" with Uncle Howard

Meeting Aunt Sandy from Tallkeetna, Alaska for the first time.

Devi's first road trip was to attend a wedding and visit my mom's sisters' family in Oregon on their Century Farm. The wedding ceremony took place in a clearing in the trees atop a hill overlooking the country side. A beautiful setting with beautiful scenery and perfect weather. Devi missed the ceremony however, due to her short attention span and extreme interest in cows, which she could see in the clearing below! Moo!!!!

Before the ceremony we spent our afternoon at a park chasing ducks and blowing bubbles. It was fun to explore the park, part of which is a cemetary filled with very old head stones dating back to the early 1800s.

In the morning, my aunt Kathy invited us all back to the farm house for a hearty breakfast before hitting road for home. The farm holds special memories for all of the cousins, as we all have spent summers there over the years helping to hay, lay irrigation pipe or help my aunt cook. Although we haven't been there in years and our time spent there as kids was really not long, this place feels like a second home to all of us. The farm house is one of those places where you always feel welcome and although not overly large, it's walls can always hold just a few more. The food was delicious, as always, complete with homemade cinnamon rolls that I have been told hold no calories! Time to go is always met with hugs and tears. My Aunt Kathy and Uncle Howard are always such gracious hosts. With a full belly, Devi slept the first 2 hours of the car trip home. A successful weekend!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Adoption Day

May 30th, 2008 was the culmination of nearly 3 years of hard work - to actually become the parents of Bhargabi. It is hard to believe that this day finally arrived and that she shares our last name at last. Judge Cuthbertson proclaimed that from that day forward our sweet Indian princess would be legally known as Devi Rose Bhargabi Ross, the daughter of Patrick and Julie Ross!

Devi's Great Grandma Verna

To our surprise, our support team filled the court room that day, including my 92 year old grandmother, who has been ill for several months battling a nasty case of shingles. She is a dear woman, delicately balanced by her toughness, compassion and zest for life. It was an honor to have her there.

Uncle Dave, Aunt Obie, Aunt Joan, DeeDee, Oma, Uncle Bill

From the moment we entered the court room, Devi stole the show. The judge said this was her day so let her do what she wanted. Devi "visited" the lap of everyone there and became kind of sweet on the judge, so spent time
in his too.

After raising our right hands and acknowledging our intent to become Devi's parents, the judge asked us to explain a little about our adoption experience. In the millisecond of pause at the conclusion of his question came the flood of 3 years of emotion. Our highs and lows and the indescribable moments of ah, when we first saw her picture and when we finally lifted her tiny body from the white paint-chipped crib and held her in our arms half way around the world.

Not an easy crier, I just lost it. I was sobbing, unable to even squeak out a reply and looking for support from Patrick, who was standing beside me bawling too. In fact, the whole family, social worker, attorney, judge and court reporter were all watered up. This must happen fairly often as boxes of kleenex suddenly appeared in several places around the room. We mustered enough composure to finally make it through the questioning, but honestly I don't even know what I said :)

The Ross family with Barbara, our social worker, and Joyce, our attorney

At the end of the hearing, the three of us were asked to join the judge at his pulpit for a minute for a photo opportunity. Standing beside him, he told us he wanted to share that the way some families come together can not be explained, it is simply meant to be and he felt we were one of those families. It was such a sweet thing for him to say.

Afterwards, we all went to the Children's Home Society's celebration room for cake and Indian sweets from Punjab Sweets, a local Indian store I recently found. Hugs were given all around and we celebrated Devi through her first year with us in pictures. Amazing how fast she as grown even though she still seems like our little peanut.

Incidentally, the dress Devi is wearing has an interesting story. We were shopping on one of our last days with the Welser family in Calcutta. We read about this great place for Indian clothing so we all piled into a taxi and headed for the store. When we arrived, the store was filled with these very American looking garments. All beautifully hand smocked, just like the kind of dresses my grandmother made for me when I was a young girl, we just couldn't resist bringing a couple of them home. It was also in this store that an Indian woman approached me and explained that I was roasting my child. "We never put socks on our children in this heat!" My first bit of motherly advise, well taken :)