Pachyderm, Piglet, Puppy, Peacock, Parrot. I suppose at this late hour one might throw in other P words, such as Preparation, Panic, Perserverence or happily, PACKED, but in truth the combined gestation of the animals listed above equal the 904 days this adoption journey will take once we meet our sweet Sonalika on the 19th of January.
The other P words came into play this week as we hit road block after road block, sending our stress level at times through the roof. I was on the phone for the better part of two hours one night trying to explain to the airlines that Sonalika does not have a last name yet. To which they explained, no last name, no ticket. If we booked a ticket that did not match her passport, it would be null and void. If the plane that Pat, Devi and I were scheduled to be on became full before we acquired her passport then one of us would have to buy a new ticket and fly with her...and although she offered, it was not going to be Devi. With some patience we found out that we are the first family to adopt a child from Pune under the JJ Act, making Sonalika a US citizen as soon as she stepped on US soil. Typically this type of adoption is only done if you are Hindu, but they are waiving that requirement for us. The reason is that CARA is finding that many families get their children, bring them to the US and then don't finalize so they never become US citizens. The way we are doing things, not only is she a US citizen, but she also has a last name. Dilemma solved! We could buy her a ticket...and did I mention that we will be traveling 7 days past her 2nd birthday, so no lap fare for her. Her ticket is full boat!
A small altercation at the pharmacy while trying to pick up travel meeds, nearly had Pat sending me to the car - a precautionary safety measure for everyone. I tactfully pointed out an error they were about to make with one of the mixable prescriptions which made the pharmacist feel the need to show a bit of his power. He obviously had us over a barrel and in the end would not fill the medicines without first chatting with the adoption specialist about who would have responsibility if the medication was administered incorrectly. This makes no sense to me as we all know that people choose to ignore the directions on vials of medication all the time, but no one has you fill out forms to state that you might take a pain medicine, for instance, 15 minutes before the prescribed time so don't sue the pharmacist. Geez...don't get me started.
Then there was the urgent emails I got saying that our home study update files had been lost and that there were no more originals left fo send to me. Or that the top five places I had hoped to stay in Delhi were all booked, or that the internet was down so the retainer we had sent to reserve a hut in Goa may not reach them in time and the last meager dwelling in Goa would be rented out from under us. At long last, the itinerary was finally set and I was cleared to worry about the important things....our girl, our first meeting, our first hugs.
Holding a tiny pair of jeans down to the ground in anticipation of her approximate height, it hit me that in a couple of weeks another tiny living human being will be relying on Pat and I for everything. Egads, that thought is thrilling and frightening all at the same time. I spend a great deal of time thinking about her life now and how it will change so when we meet. And, my life...how it will change making the hope of ever sitting down to read a book during day light hours an even more unattainable goal than it is now...though happily so.
Then there is Devi, so excited to have a sister and yet, so upset by all the change in the house. Each day, we try to prepare her for a bit of what we might expect to see while in India. She was beside herself when I mentioned that some places may not have the sort of bathroom amenities that we are used to, like for instance, some might only have two spots for your feet and a whole in the ground in the middle. After a long EWWWWWWW....she said, "Well, I'll just sit down on the hole." "OH NO YOU WON'T" I replied with a shutter. After much discussion, I think she gets it now. She is baffled too, that if the beggars want money and need homes, why can't we just give them money and build them a house? So simple, yet complicated in ways that a 4 year old simply can not understand. She nearly went through the roof when I told her that the elephants in one of the spots we are going have a chain on their from legs to keep them from charging. Thinking quick on my feet, that chain has now become a bracelet and has got her to stop saying that she is just going to reach down and take them off.
We leave tomorrow, or rather at this late hour today. First stop after a few minutes shy of 30 hours of traveling, Mysore and then up into the mountains of Madikeri to see the Golden Temple.
8 hours ago