Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pardon Me Please, While I Pinch Myself...

Ross Forever Family Day - September 18, 2008

Ross Forever Family Day - September 18, 2007

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.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dooo The Puyallup!!

You can do it at a trot, You can do it at a gallop;
You can do it real slow so
your heart won't palpitate...just don't be late... Do the Puyallup!!

I've been attending the Puyallup fair my whole life and once Pat and I got married, I started dragging him to it too. It is tradition and marks the beginning of a new school year as well as the coming of the fall harvest. Being city dwellers, it is an opportunity for us to see farm animals up close and rub elbows with the 4-hers and grange folks. Vendors, carnival rides and games round out this fair experience which is one of the largest on the west coast.

While "Doin' the Puyallup" is not near as exciting as the train trip to the Taj Mahal, which was occupying our time last year, we were thrilled to share this time honored attraction with Devi. She chanted ", pet!" all the way there in the car, which only heightened our excitement to take her.

In a steady trot, we headed for the livestock area, pausing to admire the eight darling piglets born on September 1st to the very exhausted looking mommy pig. Devi's comment, "Piggy's eating, mommy?"

Her tiny "Moo, moo" echoed through all the cow stalls we passed in route to the fair farm petting area. As a parent, it is funny to watch Devi try and work up the
nerve to
actually touch the animals. She has no problem touching
and laying all over our big dog at home, but somehow these animals are different for her. I know she wants to pet them in the worst way, reluctantly sticking her arm out and jerking it back to the safety of her side again, trying to convince herself that it is okay. In the end, the pygmy goat and the sheep got a little lovin', but not much. After oogling over the bunnies and chicks, she learned that turkeys say gobble, gobble (a new favorite phrase) and we headed toward dinner.

Nothing beats fair food - or at least the smell of it! Something about curley fries that have spent half the day under warming lights, and fried onions floating in grease mixed with the sweetness of cotton candy and carmeled apples just evokes a hunger that no man, woman or child can deny. At least we couldn't! Devi tried her first krusty pup corn dog and loved it...she would have eaten the stick too if we would have let her.

Once fueled, we couldn't resist Devi's pleas to "ride the pony?" so she and daddy chose the tamest horse on the merry-go-round. Pat said later that she had a death grip on the bar and was talking to the horse as they went round and round..."neigh, neigh!"

Now for the controversy. Pat and I always try to guess how many pounds the biggest squash will be. The idea is whose guess will come the closest without going over. This year we were surprised to find several categories of squash and pumpkins. Apparently, gourds have gone hybrid. Now there are the regular seeds, giant seeds, and the giant giant seeds producing this years winner of 1034 pounds!! We didn't even come close. Our guesses were in the 684 and 836 range. Hard to believe that a vegetable can grow that large. Awesome.

We ended the day with a bag full of Fischer Flour homemade scones with melted butter and raspberry jam. Just enough to give us a few to eat immediately and a few for breakfast as a reminder of our fun day. Devi ate her own right out of the bag. Yum!!

As dusk came, we headed for the exit gate with full bellies and jelly faces. By the time we reached the car, Devi was saying, " Bye-bye fair. Mommy, nigh, nigh?" Yep, goodbye and good night. We DID the Puyallup!, pet!!
First Krusty Pup...oooohhhh!

1034 pounds-o-squash

Monday, September 08, 2008

Two Friends Meet

The Bengali girls meet!

Making good on my offer of a "Starbuck's coffee, if you're ever in my neighborhood", we had the wonderful opportunity to meet part of the Werre family who were visiting from Anchorage, Alaska a couple of weeks ago. Daya and Devi both spent the early months of their lives at Matri Sneha in India together. Although they were probably there at the same time, their age difference is just great enough that I doubt they had ever met before this Sunday morning, although no one would ever know it.

Over the past couple of years Kristi and I had been corresponding over email and blogs. Funny how you come to know someone simply through key strokes and somehow a friendship emerges. I believe this to be even more true when you are sharing the vast array of emotions that an adoption journey brings. I can't even begin to tell you how many consoling and congratulations messages have been sent back and forth, but I do recall devouring every word of Jason and Kristi's blog entries during their India trip while we still sat stateside waiting news of a referral. The thought of riding an elephant and having mendhi (henna drawings) drawn on my hands seemed so far away. Sharing in their adventure was so therapeutic.

Other than the Welser's, the family we traveled with, the Werre's are the only other Dillon family we have met. After exchanging hugs, both moms took one look at the girls, whom we've only seen in pictures, and couldn't believe how tiny they both are. And, true to form, we also commented that both of our girls were acting completely out of character ; Daya was quiet and reserved and Devi was screaming!

Daddy's girls.

The kids hit it off from the start and had a great time playing together. Conversation came easy for us adults too, with these darling children naturally monopolizing the conversation. It was so nice to put faces to names and watch the girls enjoy each others company so much. They held hands going down the slide, ran with ribbons, climbed monkey bars, played train and by the end of our visit, wore themselves out.

We were delighted to hear that the Werre's will be moving to Boise in the next year or so, making future visits a possibility. Instantly, I am planning camping trips in my head! It would be so nice to have them closer. We are also both in the throws of adding to our families from India again which was a huge topic of conversation and would make future reunions that much more fun.

The Werre's are such a nice family and our time spent together was very fun. We can't wait to do it again and this time meet their two boys and Shaili, their daughter on the way. Nearing nap time, we decided to call it a day, although as soon as we got into the car I had a million more questions to ask. Devi, on the other hand, barely made it out of sight before it was lights out for her. We all had a very fun day!!!

Pat, me, Devi, Jason, Daya and Kristi

The final farewell bear hug that ended up in a tackle on the ground :)