As I sit and recall the past year, a smile comes to my face and an overwhelming desire to the share the emotions of the most unique life changing event that Patrick and I have ever experienced. Her name is Devi Rose.
We traveled at the same time as the Welser family, whom until the trip to India, we had never met face to face. Fortunately, it is as if these people were put in our path to help us capture and recall the details of this event, years from now, tapping the memory banks of two more adults and two children, who added an interesting insight to the trip, I might add. But, even with the recollections of all these great minds, the height at which a human can feel, at any given moment, just can't quite hold onto the exhilaration that we felt the moment we raised Bhargabi from the chipped white bars of the orphanage crib and into the longing arms of her new family, solidifying her place in our lives as Devi Rose Bhargabi Ross.
As vividly as I can recall, this is the course of events leading to that union. With two families arriving in an donation stuffed SUV to pick up babies at the same time, there was a bit of confusion as to how the union of child to family would unfold - who would go first and so on. So, while the Welser's sat in Anju's office signing papers, Pat and I waited, somewhat patiently, outside in the reception area, sitting in two chairs directly under a circulating fan. I mention the fan, because with the adreneline that was flowing through us, this is the first time during our whole trip and we didn't notice the sweltering heat.
Directly in front of us was a wood trimmed door with a large lace curtain covered window in the middle of it. We could see movement on the other side, but paid little attention to it, anticipating our turn in the paper signing office. As we settled into our wait, we began to notice that the door, less than 5 feet in front us was now the only obstacle keeping us from our child, because the movement behind the covered sheet of glass was the children! Straining to focus the fuzzy shapes, we could barely makeout the outline of the ayahs dressing and preparing the girls to leave this loving place they had called home for the past 10 months. Our ears, not famiiar with cooing sounds and baby noises, suddenly became audiobly clear, confirming that we had arrived at the right place.
Our group reconveined at the door and then, just like the raising of the curtain at a grand performance, the door was opened to reveal at center stage a small crib with two wide eyed cherubs standing at it's side, their chubby little fingers gripping the top rail. They were staring right at us! The loves of our lives, whom we only seen in still photos and two short videos, lived and breathed and had movement! That is how our family was born.
We celebrate this day with the utmost gratitude for Devi's biological mother. Her choices and courage have helped join a childless couple with their baby girl who happened to be born half way around the world and God ensured that it was a perfect fit. I can't imagine having to make the decisions she was faced with at such a young age, but I hope that she has peace with those decisions and that she has smiles in her heart for her daughter who is simply a joy.
Tonight we dined at Gateway to India, the same place we ate the day we received Devi's referral. It is here that one of the owners beamed with excitment for us and proclaimed that we were adopting a Bengali girl. She also helped us with the correct pronunciation of the unfamiliar grouping of letters making up her Indian name. Tonight, we recounted all these memories and shared as much as we could with Devi as she sipped her first mango lassi, smacking her lips to soften it's overly sweet flavor. I also wrote a little book with photos, which we read at bedtime, to help illustrate Devi's story - the girl never tires of looking at her own photograph and seemed to really enjoy it :)! We also have a Forever Family Day goblet that Pat's mom, who is a potter, has given us. I think a little sparkly water from it will round out our evening.
I often think about my mother, wishing she could have lived long enough to meet Devi, see me as a mother and the three of us as a family. Tonight, as we left the restaurant and were silently walking to the car, out of the blue, Devi said, "Grandma DeeDee in Heaven?" I guess there is the answer to my wish, she has been with us every step of the way :)
Even today, as I stared into the slightly almond shaped dark eyes of my little turnip, the fine line between reality and dreamworld is somewhat blurred. To quote Stevie Wonder..."Pardon me please, while I pinch myself, for to know this is not a dream"...because even after a year this is exactly what it feels like.
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