Friday, September 18, 2009

We Really ARE A Forever Family!

Forever Family Day, September 18, 2009

Forever Family Day, September 18, 2008

Our first family photo, September 18, 2009, India

Fast approaching is our second anniversary of being together. The minute details of our first embrace are a little less vivid than they were last year, but I still find myself staring at Devi with amazement from time to time, finding it difficult to believe that this life we’ve been sharing for two years is real. Teaching, disciplining, learning, observing, care giving - we are really doing all of it. It still feels surreal, but we ARE a forever family!

We are often asked if becoming parents in this way has become all that we’ve dreamed it would be, and I have to honestly answer that I don’t know. My answer has nothing to do with disappointment, or an unrealized vision, but rather that we never allowed ourselves to risk thinking of life after boarding the airplane. For if, for some unforeseen reason our union did not happen, the heart break would have broken us.

To call an adoption journey emotional is a gross understatement. We learned early in the process that to keep our sanity we must be guarded at each step of the way, for you have absolutely no control over what might happen next. While celebrating the small steps of progress, we always held a little back, never knowing if your hand may be drying the eyes of your spouse or if your shoulders might become the one’s providing the strength your partner needed to clear the next hurdle. Our focus quickly became getting a judge in India to assign us guardianship, but even then, our vulnerable hearts were not totally open to receive a child’s love until our feet hit Indian soil. The day that happened, the magnitude of this journey was realized. We were in the same country as OUR Devi Rose and the time until we were joined could not pass quickly enough.

This is why the two years since that union have been like exploring unimaginable uncharted ground - full of excitement, some terrifying moments, the unexpected and more joy than we ever thought could come to three people sharing our lives together. I can’t recall another time in my life, except perhaps discovering my budding love for Patrick, that I could physically be with someone and have the hands of time stand still. To be with Devi, watching her play, or learn, or overhear her silly conversations with her daddy or even to steal a glance at the stillness of her sleep fills me up. It is a warmth that contents one’s soul, how could anyone ever imagine that kind of magic?

September 18 is here. Call us weird or perhaps creatures of habit, both Pat and I wore, again this year, the same outfits that we were wearing the day that we met Devi. Out to Gateway to India we went seeking a table for three. We had a great meal of Mutter Paneer and Tandori Jinga with all the necessary appetizers and breads to go with. Devi downed a whole mango lassie on her own. All through dinner we discussed our story; how we were told to come at 11 am, how Anju Roy answered our pages of questions and told us how calm and quiet Bhargabi was and how we couldn't take our eyes off of her once the door was opened revealing her standing crib side. At home we sang "Happy Forever Family Day", blew out a candle on a shared cupcake and went through Devi's life book. So these are the things that traditions are made from. Gone is the awkwardness of trying to do it right, or make it meaningful. We are really doing all of it. It is surreal, but we ARE a forever family.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Drip Drip Drop....

Only few steps away from the Farmer's market sporting a new raincoat!

Awaking on a recent Saturday to the sound of a light shower tapping our windows, we realized that our sunshine will soon be saying it’s final goodbye, bringing our summer outside activities to a close. Rinsed away was the long acquired layer of dry dust that covered most flat surfaces and leaves, leaving everything with a shiny appearance and an unmistakable freshness to the air. All three of us are true sun worshipers, but I have to admit we all enjoyed a little rain that day. None more so than Devi, who was dying to try out her new rain coat.

Before the weather took it’s turn, we were fortunate to accomplish a few more summer activities. Aunt Shannon, and cousins Olivia and Jordan were in town to attend vacation Bible School at Oma’s church. The classes were held in the morning, so the afternoons were spent with us. Devi is too little to attend, but maybe in a few years.

Zoo explorers - I love that the binoculars are backward!

Cousins enjoying some Rahki love with furry purple bracelets

Our herd at NW Trek

The girls helped us celebrate Rahki with a trip to our local zoo where they became explorers searching for the answers to animal trivia and later exchanged furry purple bracelets to commemorate the occasion. We also managed to squeeze in a trip to NW Trek, a wildlife reserve that gives guided tram tours to it’s guests. Just as we were to board the tram, Devi began an uncharacteristic tantrum with lots of stomping and sobbing. Before we realized what was happening she spat a wasp out of her mouth, but not before he stung her on the side of her tongue. Poor baby was so brave, and other than a slightly swollen tongue managed to enjoy the bison, moose and caribou who flanked our bus throughout the tour.

Helping daddy rip up the old sod

Helping daddy lay the new sod

Part of our new stone patio before mortar.
Devi is wearing the same pair of size 6 month shorts she wore the day after we met in India!

Long in need of an overhaul, our calendar finally freed us up for two weekends in a row, which provided the gumption needed to tackle our backyard. Try as we might to find ways to make what was established work, it just didn’t. Gone went the wooden deck, plants, and the grass got ripped completely out way beyond the roots - we thought it best to start with a clean slate. With clouds of dirt swirling in the air, Devi slept soundly in her car seat while daddy shoveled topsoil into our mini van beside her. That marked the first of the many projects we took on. Devi had her hands in all of it with lots of hand washing in between. She really can’t stand to have dirty hands! Most of her time was spent in her little pool that we set up adjacent to our work area. She was delighted to “cook” for us with her pots and pans in the pool. With sod laid, patio stones down and concrete set we are ready to put in the finishing touches - trees! (something we’ve never had in our back yard before)

Sharing a muffin with a friend at the Farmer's market.

Helping mom with the laundry?

Great Gramma Verna is back in town.
At age 94 she has always been one of Devi's greatest supporters!