And after only twenty-two plane rides, Lisa, our rep has finally made it back to the United States. Due to some scheduling conflicts, our name rose to the top of her phone list and we got to be the first family she spoke with about our waiting sugar plum. With cheeks aching from the smiles brought to my face, do ya wanna know what I know?
Sonalika had surgery on her hand to separate her fingers. They appear to be healing fine, giving her more mobility. Apparently, she was a real stinker trying to take off the bandages herself and even enlisted the help of her little friends when no one was looking. We have no idea if more surgery will be required in the future, but the first one is done. Her doctor had predicted that at about one year old this surgery would be needed, but it was really a wait and see situation, dependent on the growth and development of her digits. We are relieved that it was done, before going to get her. Our fear was that we would have to have it done immediately after returning home and didn’t want that tramatic event to interfere with our attachment and bonding process.
It is reported, contrary to the photos we have :) that she has a sunny, happy and playful disposition. She can pull herself up to a standing position and is just starting to take 3 or 4 steps at 15 months old. We hear she is eager to try again and again...look out Devi she is going to be after you!
Sonalika is saying words and has a pet name for her ayah (caregiver). I have to add here that Lisa had never been to this facility before, but says that they are well organized and it is the “cadillac” of the orphanages she has seen. The caregivers do a great job of caring for the children and are very loving. They even had a little presentation for her while she was there.
Lisa also shared that this organization primarily adopts within India and to adopt a child to a US family is rare. Adding this to the other details of how we came to find each other, is really quite astounding, and is only further proof to me that she is meant to join our crazy family.
The never ending battle in foreign adoption is making it through the court system. I have a large network of adoptive families that I am in contact with, who I’m sure would agree. Naturally, a good portion of my questions were about this process, as we are adopting from a completely different part of the country this time, and so all past experience does not really apply here. The good news is that the Pune court system has been moving along "relatively quickly" and they respect the practices of the orphanage where Sonalika lives. The tough news is that CARA is being more strict on cases that they approve, enforcing the limits in their guidelines, slowing down the process. In the end, what we know for sure is that all of our paperwork is in order and in the right hands, after Lord only knows how many trips back to Texas during the Icelandic volcano uproar. It is anyone’s guess as to when we might travel, but are still optimistically planning it will be before the years’ end.
It is starting to hit me that the process this time is so very different than our journey to India the first time. The 2007 Calcutta trip was paved many a time over by the families who experienced it before us, giving insight to the facility, the caregivers, travel advice AND photos of our children waiting for us to come for them. Through the power of the internet, we tagged along to experience joy as each child found the loving arms of their forever family and through this we developed a connection of friendship with these families and Devi's cribmates. This connection has continued as we have watched each others children grow now home. This time we feel somewhat isolated, or like pioneers headed to Pune. We know no one who has adopted from this facility and have no idea who Sonalika's little friends might be. This makes our job as her parents a bit harder, as traveling will require a bit more research and careful questions of the orphanage director to help us paint as informative of a picture for Sonalika as we can for later in her life. My hope is that they have documented her stay somehow—either in a journal or through photographs for her.
Still to look forward to, are two....YES 2....DVD’s of our little girl that will be in route to us tomorrow. We hear one was taken by the caregivers to deliver to us. Apparently, she is on some sort of scooter and is laughing and zooming around the floor. The other is a more reserved one, taken by Lisa while there.
There....now you all know what I know...