Thursday, June 24, 2010

Flurries In The Forecast Today

Our sleepy Sonalika - a frame captured from recent video

Flurries of excitement have come this week.

First, we received the video taken of Sonalika in May, during our reps visit to SOFOSH. As you remember, the visit took place right before her nap time so her demeanor is rather somber. You can hear the ayahs describe her, in their very distinct Indian accented English, as being normally very smiley and lively, but that she is "not comfortable now because it is nap". At one point, they let her pick something from a tray of treats. Into view, comes a purple wrapped granola looking bar that the ayah announces is chocolate covered. As the three of us watched our baby girl on the computer screen, the two Ross women present took notice. Devi's comment, with her nose nearly touching the screen, was that her baby sister likes the color purple just like her and my heart flutters that another in our expanding family appears to like chocolate! All too noticeable is the flattened "swoop" comb over of her hair that we have come to recognize in the few photos we have. It is just screaming for a little mousse, a bit of scrunching, and a girlie bow. I just know there are oodles of curls there that are just dying to be set free!

Our second flurry came 3:21 am, to be exact. Our Article 5 letter arrived from the US Embassy in Delhi! It states that the US Central Authority is pleased to confirm that US competent authorities have determined that Pat and I are eligible and suited to adopt; have ensured that we have been counseled as necessary; and have determined that Sonalika will be authorized to enter and reside permanently in the US following the grant of legal custody to Pat and I. Furthermore, they feel the the grant of legal custody may proceed. Hooray! we are now able to enter the court process. Next step, wait for NOC from CARA.

Now behind the scenes, we've been scouring calendars, taking notes from other families, consulting forums, and calculating averages all in an attempt to make an attempted guess at when we may travel to India to meet our daughter. Today, I feel like being optimistic and therefore have mentally made a forecast of no more inclimate weather —smooth sailing....leaving in mid-October. Sound good? Any later and we run into the convergence zone—Diwali, India's festival of Lights, falls on November 5th this year. To those in the adoption world, this means a couple weeks of court closures to observe the holidays. Our storm watch begins :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates; You Never Know What You're Gonna Get

This was the feeling Pat and I had as we entered Devi’s preschool last Saturday. We had come to watch our princess perform her first dance recital, which was the culmination of a year of classes in ballet, tap and jazz with the Little Dancers group. Every Thursday since last September, the children have been attending one hour dance lessons during school hours, which, not surprisingly was Devi’s favorite day of the week with show-n-share-Friday’s taking a close second. After dance day, we eagerly would check Devi’s arms looking for the reward of two rubber stamps on her wrists from teacher Cat; one for having good listening ears and one for participation. Evidently, at 3, earning a stamp is not that easy of a goal to achieve, as some Thursdays Devi came home with only one stamp, and other days came home all together stamp-less, as she admitted that she just couldn’t have good listening ears or that the skill they learned was so hard that she kept “falling” down. Now I know my girl, and if “falling down” brought a surely would occur more than once in a day....sigh.

Leading up to the recital, Teacher Cat had coached the parents to encourage our children to at least put on each costume and to encourage their dancing, but to expect that they might just stand there. We were to cheer madly for each child regardless of participation, while remaining prepared to yank them off stage if contagious crying began.

With a good understanding of our role, we made our way through a sea of tripod legs, flash attachments and camera accessories and took our seats among the other paparazzi parents seated all around, each with a Nikon, Cannon, or Panasonic pointed and at the ready.

The nine member group took us by storm! Four dances were performed, each with a costume change. All but one dancer felt compelled to dance. They all appeared to have retained some level of Teacher Cat’s tutelage AND they were smiling and enjoying it! Devi, well, not too terribly surprising, was a ham, giggling throughout each performance and giving us a narrative of what they were doing. Hilarious!

The first was a jazz tune to get limbered up. The second a ballet, performed in pink tutus with glittery foam crowns. Teacher Cat began, “Little Dancers, take first position!” Each ballerina put their heals together and pointed their toes out. Evidently, one of Devi’s feet was not cooperating, so she looked down at her feet and said, “Naughty Feet!” which sent the crowd into hysterics. Mid way through this performance, her foam crown inched down over her eyes forcing her to wander mummy-style into the audience for some assistance with repositioning. She gave a loud and audible thank you and joined back in with the group, barely missing a step. Again, leaving the audience in laughter, in spite of the more serious tone of the music.

The third number was a tap rendition of an inch worm song. Sparkling with green sequins, they manged to heal toe and shuffle their way through the song. Definite constant tap noises were heard throughout the routine, to what rhythm, I’m not quite sure.

Finally the Grand Finale!! Another jazz song, danced to a popular rock-n-roll song with scarves. Devi was all smiles until the teacher handed her the two scarves she was to use. Not pleased with the color selection she received, Devi’s strong will took hold and she chose NOT to dance this number. Instead she looked at her feet pouting throughout the routine, while the others danced around her. Remember we were prepared by Teacher Cat that they might just stand there? Well, she did, as the scarves and other dancers floated and swirled around her. It was kind of amusing.

In the end, all the children received certificates and flowers and covered their ears with their hands as we clapped and cheered. I can honestly say I have not smiled and laughed so hard in a long long time. We were so proud.

The Little Dancers

Friday, June 11, 2010

Provisional Approval Granted!!

Yes, as of Monday, June 7th, the next step in the process can be checked off the list!!!! What is a provisional approval on an I-800 someone might ask?

Well, it is a NEW step for us since the Hague treaty was instituted, after Devi's adoption.

Once we received the referral of our sugar plum, Sonalika, we applied to the USCIS for provisional approval to adopt that particular child. USCIS made a provisional determination, based on the information available to them, about whether she was eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. We are thrilled to say that this approval means she is! Yippee!!!!

Now this approval and another set of forms go to the US Embassy in Delhi and we await our Article 5 letter.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Growing Pains

New past time...blowing bubbles in the rain

As the pitter patter of two more feet in our household approaches, we are slowly beginning to fully understand the magnitude of this event’s impact. From a logistics standpoint, the crib, booster seat, diaper genie, pack and play and other accessories have to be taken out of the moth balls, not to mention age appropriate toys, sippy cups, clothing–mountains of clothing, and the like. Wow! In addition, I am trying to be sensible and mindful that Treya needs to have a few special things of her own. This means mommy gets to go shopping and Devi has requested that sisters should have matching outfits!

For size, once again it is that shot in the dark. Pictures can be so deceiving and in our video, Treya is never close to anything that may help judge her size. I know our eyes played tricks on us with Devi. She looked huge in the pictures of her lying in the bassinet, but we trusted her weight and it was right, making us put back the 6x sized items for the more sensible 3-6 month items that fit perfectly at 10 months of age. I know there must be some mathematical formula to apply here to arrive at Treya’s size, but for the life of me, I can’t figure it out, so I guess we will rely on a ponderous squint aimed at her photographs and gut instinct method instead.

Then there is the issue of shoes. The unique twinkly toes of our sugar plum may require special shoes, or perhaps shoes in two different sizes; one for each foot. All ready we find ourselves pondering things that I’ve never given much thought to before. Who would ever question that shoes only come in matched pairs? Hmmm....

While on the subject of size, Devi is noticeably taller - even to the trained eyes of mommy and daddy who swear we know every inch of her. She recently has had several bad nights of leg aches that wake her from a sound sleep and the past couple weeks of naps find me waking our groggy girl after 3 and a half hours. Thankfully, a warm rice bag and a bit of Tylenol (the non recalled batches) help the leg ache and the long naps have rekindled our love of cuddling in that sleepy time state. I, for one, am loving that :)

Killed by curiosity, we measured her again this week and found that she has grown 1 and 3/4 inches in two months standing tall at a smidgen under 40 inches! Her weight, on the other hand is holding steady at 27 and a half pounds supported by her long and skinny feet that have also gone up 2 sizes in the past few months.

While all this growing has been going on we’ve kept ourselves busy finding new sources of entertainment during our unseasonal wet and cold weather. One proud moment being just last week when Devi announced that she was going to get dressed all by herself. There is no doubt that she is capable of dressing herself and has been able to do so for a long time. Getting her interested in doing it is a whole other story. But on this particular day, the idea of being all grown up was appealing and so she selected her own outfit and dressed herself from head to foot including shoes (I helped with the hair, as our imaginary furry friend Willy, generally leaves several rat’s nests in her hair with his toes overnight that require a gentle touch and patience to work through)

The two big pieces of news are that Devi has moved up to a level in swimming lessons that no longer require an adult to be in the pool with her AND our answer to prayer, she has moved up to the next level in preschool (although ready for more challenges for a long time now, there simply was not an open spot in enrollment for her to move up) We have been so torn wondering whether to wait it out or find a new preschool. This is truly the best scenario, as we like this school and her little friends and teachers and Dev does not take to change very well. This is a huge source of relief for us all. We are so proud of her accomplishments, which are just another sign that our baby is growing up.

Lastly, a bit our recent conversations that for the life of me, I have no idea how they surface.

A recent bedtime stalling conversation:

Devi: Mommy what is a jail?

Julie: A place where people go to the thinking spot for a really long time.

Devi: Mommy what is a dungeon?

Julie: A dungeon a jail in the basement of a castle.

Devi: Okay, good night.

While driving in the car...

Devi:When I grow up can I drink wine?

Julie: When you are a grown up, yes, you may choose to drink wine. How old will you be when you are grown up?

Devi: 5

When Devi woke up this morning she said, “Mom when I grow up I wanna be a mommy. Treya is growing in my tummy right now!

Later in the day she opted to take her woman’s prerogative and said, “Actually, I am going to grow up to be a big sister, not a mommy. Big sisters have way more fun."

First trip of the season in the trailer

The magic of a bike trailer at work

Rainy day project - peanut butter and bird seed feeders

In between rain showers, we take a nature walk and discover slugs
and this chair carved in a log...

...and make wishes that Treya can come home soon!

Rooting for our home team....anxiously awaiting World Cup!