Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baby Steps Forward, Eyjafjallajokull Sized Steps Back

Visiting 12 orphanages all over India; 67 specific children, 47 of whom have waiting families. This is a huge undertaking for anyone, but is the task of our agency rep who left for India on April 10th. With this trip comes the promise of a small delivery to Treya on our behalf and with a little luck a new photo for us and, dare I wish for it, a video of our 15 month old (today) cherub.

Last Wednesday, at the urging of our agency, we xeroxed the four copies of our dossier (a total of a couple hundred pages) and sent them over night with an earliest possible arrival to Oregon. The package immediately was express delivered to India, so our rep, last Monday, could hand deliver it to SOFOSH where our little Treya is now living. This would start our clock ticking, hoping that in 6-8 months we would find ourselves on a plane bound for India.

Even the best laid plans can be foiled, and they were. I just happened to have the paperwork we needed to send in the car with me at work that day. The xerox machine performed beautifully, without even so much as a single jammed paper. The delivery man arrived on time and could guarantee the 8:00am delivery. Everything went smoothly in route up to leaving the office of the agency. Who would have thought that the snag in our plan was a plumb of ash blown 3.7 miles into the air from beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland. Really? A volcano? These are the unpredictable turns that exist in adoption that give this mom almost more gray hairs than I can keep dyed.

The good news? Well, we have wonderful representation! The rep in India has rescheduled her trip to SOFOSH to accommodate our dossier's late arrival. This is huge. I am thankful beyond words. The bad news? CARA is behind in issuing the NOC (No Objection Certificates), what we are waiting for next, extending the average wait for this step to 2-4 months. Will we be united before Treya's second birthday? I
desperately hope so!

On the home front, tonight Devi practiced making room for Treya in the bathtub! It was darling. Laying on her back, she squished herself over to one side of the tub, pretended to put her arm around her little sister and soothed her with a comforting conversation about not being afraid of the water. PRECIOUS!

Recent Devi jaw droppers are...

Does Puerto Vallarta have "art" in it?

Why is India so hot?

Does it take more than two carabiners to climb Mt. Everest?

And then there was this conversation....

Devi: Mom, do we need to go to the airport to get Treya?

Mom: Yes, we do and it is going to be a very long plane ride.

D: Does she belong here?

M: Yes, just like you.

D: Does she belong in India?

M: Yes, she does right now. We can't go get her until the judge says it is okay.

D: When she comes home, is she going to stay here forever, like me?

M: Yes, just like you.

D: Where are the ayahs? Are they taking care of her until I come for her?

M: Yes, sweet pea, they will take care of her until we can go get her.

D: Can we go today?
M: I wish we could. I wish we could.

And while preparing our garden beds for planting comes the biggest news of the week...from the depths of her soul, Devi found the courage to....


Days later, she is still incredibly proud of herself.

In a moment of silliness, we get a glimpse of Captain under panties!

Nothing like a juicy apple, a bunch of flowers and dancing to live music to
announce that the Farmer's Market is BACK!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We Are The Truth!

The Moment We Met! - September 18th, 2007

A Princess Born of India is written for my daughters. It was created to record the story of how our family; Devi Rose, my husband Pat, myself and soon our daughter Treya Marie, have been formed through the miracle of adoption. My hope is that some day they can recount how we fell in love with them from half way around the world; before even feeling the warmth of their beautiful brown skin touching ours or ever witnessing the rise of their chest when taking their next breath.

Today’s entry is not written for them. It is a plea to any reader who stops to pause over this post and peruse the archives - that they might see the truth in adoption. The truth is that it takes work to find a reputable agency, to fulfill the courses of adoption and parenting study required, to prepare all the paperwork, to open your home for review, to investigate the medical records of a child you so desperately want to love, and to open your heart to ALL that child brings. The truth in adoption is constancy; steadfastness and above all faithfulness.

Devi joined our family September 18th, 2008 in Kolkata, India. I could tell you a lengthy story about that day, the weather, what we ate, what I was wearing, what the orphanage looked like, but all that really matters is that a tiny girl was placed in our arms and in an instant the three of us were whole. It was good and right. In the nearly three years that we have been together, our lives together have had their challenges, but no one ever said parenting would be easy. I’ve come to realize that although grown in the womb of another and born thousands of miles away, there is no doubt Devi, Pat and I were meant to be a family.

Spurred by this knowledge, there was no squelching the tiny flame inside my soul calling me to another child soon after Devi's arrival. Although we researched other countries, there was no denying the constant pull towards India. Logistically, adopting from India was ludicrous - the process is difficult, our ages a potential road block, and most agencies were not even accepting applications. The chance that no child would be matched with us was huge but the risk was one that we felt compelled to take. The truth in this second adoption journey is once again based on constancy; steadfastness and above all, one’s faith.

This truth has lead us to Treya. As we stare at her picture prominently displayed in several areas of our home, one quickly forgets the diligent work that it has taken to get us to this point. With the hope of traveling by the years' end we enter the gauntlet of the court process this week, and once again, have come to realize that we are just satisfying the legal requirement of what we all ready know in our hearts to be true. This union with all of it's unique challenges, is simply meant to be.

For those unaware, this post comes at the urging of the adoption world in an effort to dispel rumors recently surfacing about international adoption. This week an internationally adopted child was returned, unaccompanied, to his birth country by his adoptive mother. It is a tragic situation, the details of which still seem unjustifiable as they surface. Although trained and supported through the agency that they were associated with, this family felt this was their only option. This poorly handled situation greatly saddens me – that a family felt so isolated from help, that a child was desperately crying out for help that he did not receive, and that stories like this tarnish the ideals of "family" that adoption creates.

As a result the US is under the scrutiny of other governments in countries that facilitate international adoption with the USA. Currently, a hold on all adoptions is being considered, awaiting a thorough investigation of this matter. While further study is definitely needed, placing a hold on adoptions is not the solution.
The reality is that slowing or halting adoptions, especially those in progress, ultimately hurt the very children they are trying to protect. Every child deserves a family and comfort of a home over life in an institution.

While ours is not nearly as "newsworthy" as this rare tragedy, it is our success story. Our child knows every last detail by heart, but still begs us to tell it again. I am certain it mimics the priceless moments shared by countless families who have grown in this most unique way. When considering the news, remember this...We are the truth!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

Junior Daffodil Parade

Getting a daffodil from one of the princesses

Feeling like winter would never end, we finally got a glimpse of the sun, and it shone down upon us for our Junior Daffodil Parade. A slight chill still evident, we were at least able to unzip a little and enjoy the event without hats or gloves. Marching in costume, with a mutt on a leash, or representing a boy or girl scout troop, this event gives the children in the neighborhood an opportunity to wave their selves silly over the course of the 6 or 7 block route and welcome the coming of spring. For Devi, it is ALL about the princesses.

Easter Bread

With Oma's kitchen undergoing a complete remodel, there was no question as to where the famous Easter bread should be baked...our house! The recipe is one of Oma's mother's and is baked once a year at Easter time; this is how it has been done for as long as any of us can recall. Dense and buttery, the bread rises like no other and bakes up with a golden brown flaky crust that has a nice "thump" sound to it when rapped with your finger. Even typing the key strokes to write this makes my mouth water. I've always wanted to know how to bake it, which seems to be more of a recipe of look and feel rather than of precision in measurement. Yielding only two loaves, each slice is savored until the day long process begins again the following year.

Easter and Eggs

Aunt Joan helped us to dye some of our Easter eggs AND we also helped Oma blow some eggs for her churches EGGSTRAVAGANZA that we plan to attend tomorrow.

Devi's find...a basket full!

Easter dinner at our house...Oma won the egg wars again this year!

Grand Floral Parade

With a prevailing North wind, we were reminded that spring might be in the air some of the time, but that coats, hats and gloves should not be stowed away just yet. We all froze to death, but as avid parade goers we roughed it to the bitter (cold) end. Marching bands were the unanimous favorite with the princesses a close second. Devi's highlight was a pom-pom high five by one cute drill teamer. She asked Devi if she was enjoying the parade and Devi gave her an open mouthed stare of awe! Priceless!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Limber Up

Sonalika's referral picture.
his is the one that we had to sign across her face.

Have I mentioned that we are adopting again? Yes, it feels about that surreal to us too. Naturally one leans on any bit of experience they possess and in our case that is the adoption story created while adding our little munchkin, Devi. Now she is our reality check, reminding us daily about the needs that Sonalika will have...being a baby and all. Dev is forever coming up with things that they can do together, what she can teach her, where Sonalika will sit, sleep, ride etc. etc. Why, this second daughter will barely need Pat and I because she will have a doting little mother in Devi...although Dev did announce in the restroom at Costco the other day after observing a mother caring for her child on the changing table that “she is not used to changing diapers so she will be unable to do that for Treya when she comes home”.

Truth of the matter is that with both children, that slap of reality came when I held each of their child study reports in my hands and read them. These are the well used, wrinkled, stained and fading pages that contain the forms and statements made and filled out by those who have cared for them in India since the day they arrived at the facility that took them in. For Devi it was a healthy stack with hand punched holes strung together with string; for Treya only 8 or 9 pages, stapled album-style down the spine, but contained within are the few sentences of circumstance that provide the path for God to bring us together.

Excited that we were finally signing Sonalika’s life into ours, we limbered up our phalanges and began to autograph. The first of many signatures are required to go across the photograph of our daughter’s face. I can’t tell you how hard that is to do! Then, just as unexplainable as the first time, I became overwhelmed and began to weep. I can’t explain this explosion of emotion, other than to say that inside my head a collision of huge proportion was occurring: the joy over adding a daughter to our family after such a long wait, colliding with the anguish and sorrow that Sonalika’s birth mother must have faced as I realize and feel the magnitude of her decisions. If only there were a way to comfort her, to let her know that her flesh and blood is loved and cared for deeply, possibly deeper than if we were actually biologically connected. This is something as adoptive parents, that we think and pray for often.

Tonight, with the help of our neighbors, the rest of the papers will be witnessed and notarized, then off to the Secretary of State to be apostiled. Their last trip through the postal service via our agency, will take them to India, where they will eventually land on the desk of a judge, whom we hope is sympathetic to our cause. It is here that our documents will be scrutinized and finally he or she will give the green light of guardianship! Soon thereafter, her Visa and passport will be issued with an estimated time until travel of around 6 to 8 months from now. Geez...that seems a long time to wait and to hang onto the few funny translations from Marathi to English in her child study, like the fact that Sonalika has "black hairs and chubby chick" or that she currently drinks "fresh beffelows milk".

Sharing our good news with friends.

To busy ourselves, we have had introductions to make, a quilt to sew, a life book to begin and a mountain of slightly used baby things that we will need to learn to share :)

Amid these preparations we continue to play dress up hone our egg cracking skills, and answer the interesting questions that pop up on a daily basis like, “Where does Mother Nature live?” and “Why is she so mad?”