Thursday, October 30, 2008

Diwali with a Twist!

According to the Hindu Calendar, Diwali fell on October 28th this year. Although we are not Hindu, the message that is celebrated during this festival of light is good prevailing over evil and light over darkness. The hope is that the year will be prosperous and full of good things. In an effort to help Devi feel connected to her roots in India, we have chosen to make this one of our traditional holidays to celebrate and we are learning and forming our own traditions for our version of Diwali along the way. With a looming election, and with the state of the economy such that it is, it seems like some Diwali celebration is just what we need.

We started our celebration with rangoli drawings on our doorstep. The cheery, colorful chalk drawings are our symbolic invitation for good to enter our home. Unseasonably warm rays of sunshine were bestowed upon us for the occasion too...perfect for enjoying some outside play time before the rain hits later this week :(

I prepared an Indian meal of tandori chicken, vegetable korma, ghee rice and naan bread. Yummy, yummy, was the general consensus. Gold foil wrapped sweet treats rounded out the meal, as sweets generally play a large part of a traditional Diwali gift giving.

Aglow at dusk, candles and small lanterns were lit, both inside and outside of the house. In India they are called diyas. This is our way of honoring our friends and family who have brought light to our lives, which is another of our small twists to the original Diwali story. We all enjoyed the beauty of the flickering flames for a while before sending our little turnip up to bed. Tonight's bedtime story was "Lighting a Lamp" which she appropriately picked out herself.

As I cuddled Devi and we said our last night night "God Blesses", I had to add one more to our long list. God Bless our family through Diwali. How fortunate we are to have found each other and through our union, have come to learn a little about the cultural diversity of the world. That brings light to my life.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Make Room For Another Princess?

To date, this blog has been about our little turnip, Devi Rose, and if it were not for her, the dream of another princess would have never materialized. She has just brought so much joy to our lives, who wouldn't want more? So here we are teetering on the brink of officially joining a waiting list. I would be remiss in documenting our lives for the future reading pleasure of our child or children, if I did not share the behind-the-scenes, series of events as of late.

We currently have finished our final home study interview with Barbara, our social worker, who has had to wade through our childhood upbringing and remembrances, has discussed our personal and professional relationships, prodded through our medical issues, and opened the doors to our financial structure. She has visited our home and we've chatted about our parenting abilities, answered questions regarding cultural differences and our desire to add another child to our all ready busy life. Revealing one's soul to someone is not easy, but Barbara has always made us feel so comfortable that at the end of this process, it is so easy to now call her a friend. The report that she is writing from the compilation of these interviews is what becomes known as our home study report. It suggests her opinions of our ability to successfully adopt another child from India and raise them as our own in a safe and nurturing environment.

This document is then joined by copies of our birth certificates and marriage license and the I-800A form, also known as the Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country. The whole package is then sent to US Citizenship and Immigration Services in the hopes that they, too, will approve us to move forward in what we call our "International Adoption Journey"! This then leads to more fingerprints and forms that I'll explain another time.

Simultaneously, we have been collecting the documents that will make up our dossier, which is sort of like a resume of your life's experiences to date. These documents include tax returns, and financial information, background checks from FBI and state or local police, HIV test results, forms, forms and more forms. It also contains letters. The letters encompass reference letters from friends and family, letters from our physicians regarding our health, a letter from the bank and our employers, and the one I've enclosed a copy of is the notarized letter that states that we have had a discussion with Devi regarding her desire to add a brother or sister to our family followed by a picture drawn for the mystery child. Sound ridiculous? I know, I know, how can a not-yet-two-year-old comprehend the adoption of a sibling? But the whole scene was rather cute and went down something like this:

Scene opens...Devi is coloring and mommy is videotaping...

Momma: Devi, daddy and I would like to bring home a baby sister for you from India. Would you like a baby sister?
Devi: Sister? (pause in thought) SISTER!
M: You would like a baby sister?
D: Uh-huh.
M: What should we name your baby sister?
D: Daya!
M: Would you like a baby brother?
D: Brother!
M: What would you name a baby brother?
D: Daya! (pause) Puppy.
M: Are you coloring a picture for your baby brother or sister?
D: Uh-huh. Done momma. Done coloring, momma.

And with that, the conversation ended.

I started the heart and Devi did the rest.

She is still my best kitchen helper and now asks to watch the Cooking Shows!

She is still my best eater too!

Just how many bibs can YOU wear at one time?
Devi can wear 18 before running out of neck.

22 months going on...? Makes a mother worry!

We girls and morning people....daddy is not :)

2 yearish pictures

Still best friends!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Great Idea!

Holding on to the fringes of our last summer days, we have been trying to make the most of each and every second of fading daylight. Last Sunday we ate an early dinner, and while I was cleaning up, Devi went into her drawer and pulled out her "princess cup". This cup was given to her by our friends Roly and Chris and therefore only ever holds special substances. Devi announced, "Milk Shake?" My goodness, that was the best suggestion I had heard in a long time. Great Idea!

We live in a small city, population 752 (Devi being one of the last few residents to take up residence here) and we are proud to have one stop light, one bridge, one tunnel and we still have one old fashioned malt shop just a couple blocks away. So off we went on a mission to get dessert...a root beer milk shake split three ways, our family favorite. This calorie laden tradition begins every year with the coming of the first warm days, and this year sadly ended last Sunday, slurping our last shake of the season, Devi's served in her special princess cup.

With the leaves on the trees graduating toward harvest colors, this past week has officially brought with it the chill of fall. With this change has come some new Devi accomplishments. She has decided she likes to sing and nows all the words to Happy Birthday, Rock a Bye Baby, Twinkle twinkle, the ABC song and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Knowing the words is how we identify the song as melody is another matter.

She can count to 13. I'm not sure why she chose 13 as her resting place, but we are thrilled to listen to her count. A fork and spoon have become more than just drum sticks and actually do get food from the plate to her mouth which she is extremely proud of. Devi has also taken a sudden interest in helping me cook and in caring and feeding for her dolls which, up to this point really didn't hold her interest. Devi has become quite the conversationalist. I love that when asked who her best friend is she will tell you, "Cayenne is Devi's best friend!" Sadly, I think the dog bases this friendship heavily on the food that is shared between them but does enjoy the gentle pets that she gets from Devi too.

The biggest news is she has gained a pound! We are so thrilled about this but it seems that pound went straight into her feet, as we have had to buy new shoes again too. This time a size 6, thus rounding out our summer days.

Discovering her shadow

Bucket head bathtime

Helping mom make waffles for breakfast

First skinned knee, complete with bandaid


Out for Indian food

I love my Aunt Joan

I got my US Passport

Tasting a sour lime with grandpa

Little mommy feeding her baby

My best friend