Waiting in the lobby of the hotel Devi was busy playing on mom's lap- I spy, as we were anticipating the auto rickshaw arrival of Meenal- the social worker appointed by the adoption agency arranged to escort us to SOFOSH where little Treya lives with around 100 other little children. It's hard to believe for the past 24 hours we were a mere 15 minutes apart.
Urmilla met us at the office and was joined by the director to discuss our first meeting. Gleaning as much information about her as possible, we learned that she is a favorite amongst the workers, is a slow eater with a little appetite, and as affectionately been nicknamed Barbie...pronounced Bobby. They kept saying how incredibly shy she is and to give her plenty of space and time to become adjusted; not to expect more than eye contact and playing with all the children in a group for today. The photo book we sent is viewed nightly, however, and she does recognize us in photos and naturally she is especially fond of Devi's picture. In an attempt to prepare her for her new family, they have introduced her to English and have started speech therapy because she is slow to talk, as all the children are because their routine is so tightly run, there is no need to ask for anything. During this time, Devi was on my lap constantly badgering me, "Can we meet her now? When can we meet her." Finally, they said we could go to Shreevatsa.
We came so late in the day because of an earlier performance for donors but it seemed that the welcome rangoli at the entrance was meant especially for us.
Upon entering the courtyard you could hear many tiny voices, but were completely caught off guard when we rounded the corner and saw our fair skinned sugar plum (known by Devi now as Momy Poka Pants after a Hindi commercial for diapers). Not only did we see her, but she was thrust into my arms which after our discussions was completely unexpected and caught us almost uncamera ready. I don't know what we had expected to see, but she is the cutest petite beauty. She has marvelous thick hair like Devi's and a grin that steals your heart. Her eyes are huge and her stare captivates. Her wobbly gate resembles a dance and she swings her arms to let you know this is her house of comfort, teasing us to follow as she gave us her "tour" of the place, showing us where she sleeps and all of her friends.
We sat on the floor together the 4 of us, and studied each other and then the smiles and playtime began. She was hesitant at first, but soon thereafter the strawberries and kisses began to fly and the tension was lifted. The staff was a flurry of excitement and shock that things went so incredibly well. Pat, Devi and I could not get the smiles off our faces. Treya even joined in too. To quote Devi, "She is great!"
She is not quite ready to be held or cuddled, but willingly came to sit on Pat's lap for juice and a snack. Meanwhile Devi and I were adorned with Mendhi on our hands as a welcome and then it was time to say so long for today. Our meeting was over in a flash. Treya came running out to wave bye bye and it became so hard to leave.
Tomorrow we go back at 9:30am until noon to play and then at 3:30 we will receive her file of records and will have a small opportunity to ask questions. Friday we have our traditional Indian "ceremony" of family and we can leave together. Wow...parents again the most surreal and wonderful feeling we've ever felt!
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