August 8, 2004

We’re Home!

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 1:08 am

We’re home a day early oops! I’m so sorry to those of you who were hoping to be at the airport and were unable to be. I miscalculated because of the date line and we ended up arriving on Saturday instead of Sunday. I hope all of you get this message!

The plane trip was OK. The first trip was seven hours and was pretty uneventful. She slept through most of it. The 12 hour trip was going very well. She even wanted me to hold her for a while at the beginning of the trip. She had watched the takeoff and it had made her nervous. About 5-6 hours into the trip it got very turbulent. I was so worried that she would get hurt so we decided to put her into a seatbelt. She freaked! We kept her in the belt and hugged her and rubbed her until both she and the plane were quiet and then brought her out. She fell asleep on Dave but 10 minutes later she started screaming bloody murder for “Mo Mola” and “Saila” again. She was acting crazy and Dave couldn’t even get her to lay down on him. So I took her to the bathroom and sat in there with her. She started screaming for “mo Daddylo!” I spent about 30 minutes telling her if she could “no cry” we would go to Daddy. All of a sudden she started grabbing my head and pulling it, then pulling at the bodice of her dress, all the while looking me in the eye and saying something in Oriya. I told her I didn’t understand her. After about two minutes she got frantic, right before she pooped in her pants. She was telling me to move because she had to use the bathroom! I felt so bad! I got her cleaned up and then asked her if she could no cry so we could go see Daddy. She seemed to agree, so that’s what we did. I gave her to Daddy and every time she started whimpering I’d take her hand as if I wanted her to go with me to the restroom and she’d stop. Finally she fell asleep and slept the entire rest of the trip.

The dealing with immigration and customs in LAX was a joke! It took us three hours and we almost missed our flight. During that time she would have nothing to do with me again so I was the bag lugger.

The flight to SLC from LAX was ok. She slept for the first half and whimpered for the second half. When we got off the plain we started talking about “the brothers” and she seemed really excited. The sad thing is, there was no one there to greet us. It didn’t take us long to realize that it was Saturday and we had posted the wrong day! We called our family and a few family and friends came to greet us and brought our boys!

It was a tearful yet joyful reunion and I was so thrilled to see my guys. I had forgotten how big my baby is! Wat a chunk, and oh so heavy! And guess what, he nursed right away no problem! Oh that was sooooo very nice.

Rani had a blast with all the kids at the airport. She was hugging everyone and running after them. We were worried after the seatbelt incident on the plane that she would cry in her carseat all the way home. She didn’t cry at all thank goodness and even fell asleep.

We fed her her first fast food tonight. Probably not a good idea because she still has diarreah. She loved the fries and the nuggets and that made me relieved because she hadn’t eaten much in a while and I thought she might refuse to eat them too.

The hardest thing is we can’t get her to bed. It’s 1:18 AM and she’s probably not very tired after all that sleep on the plane and in the car. DH is holding her and watching TV. I hope he’s chosen a good program.

I still feel wierd around her. Like I’m not sure what to do for her….*sigh* I hope we figure things out quick because I sure hate feeling like this. I’ll upload some pics of our airport greeting as soon as I get a chance. But for now I think I’m going to bed.

August 6, 2004

Last day in Delhi

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 2:08 am

¬†Goodness, I had this whole post written up and accidentally erased it! I guess I’ll start over!

Today is our last day in Delhi. And while I’m sad to leave India and I will miss it dearly, I cannot wait to get home to see my boys and especially to nurse my baby!

I cannot believe that this child is the same child I wrote about a week ago. She has blossomed unbelievably fast! Today she let me hold her hand and walk with her, blow bubbles with her(she calls them buggles), and even let me hold her for a while. In fact I was holding her when I was writing this post and I think it was something she did that erased it.

This kid is unbelievably independent. She wants to do everything herself if she can. She will do whatever she wants to and won’t be slowed or stopped. I’m beginning to see what everyone meant about her being “naughty.” She is a tease, a giggler, a squealer, and unbelievable smart. I can tell allready that she will be into everything when we get home! She won’t let me feed her water anymore, she has to hold the cup. Feeding her is becoming more and more difficult as she wants to do it herself. She has even mastered a spoon. This kid figures things out fast!

I’m really hoping the trip home will be good. I’m so ready to be there. I can’t wait to see everyone and be “on my own turf!”

August 5, 2004

For those coming to the airport

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 4:08 am

Here is our flight schedule.

We leave from Delhi on China airlines flight 182 at 3:30 AM India time Saturday which is about 4:00 PM Friday UT time. This flight is seven hours.

We get to Taipei Taiwan at at about 11:00PM UT time and leave Taipei 2:40 AM UT time on Saturday. This flight is about 13 hours long.

We arrive in LA at 3:05 PM Utah time on Sunday the 8th. Our flight leaves LA at 5:55PM UT time on Sunday and we arrive at SLC airport at 7:37 PM on Sunday. The flight is Delta 716 from LA.

On our way to India the flights were pretty close to on time. With the weather so nice, I don’t forsee a delay. I suppose we’ll see you down at the baggage claim or somewhere! She may be a little shy, but I’d love to see everyone!

Another really marvelous day!

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 3:08 am

Rani woke up this morning kind of fussing. I still don’t know what she wanted because she didn’t really talk to me. But last night, Dave actually put her down and she didn’t cry! She played with toys for a couple of hours! Dave was so happy.

This morning we decided to try and bathe her again. We showed her the bucket and little cup and she started crying. It was not a cry of fear, but a cry of protest. We had those baby bath wipes that you just moisten and they soap up. We used those to soap her body then put her in the tub to rinse her. I started rinsing and she was definately protesting but not scared. We washed her hair last and while she was loudly protesting she was also tilting her head back so I could rinse her hair.

When we went down to breakfast Dave got her to walk holding his hand! She followed us while we were at the buffet and even walked back to the table without holding his hand! She sat next to him on the bench while we ate and even tried feeding herself with a spoon. She’s been exibiting many emmulating behaviours. At the mini Taj she wanted her shoes off like we had, she lays on the bed in the same position as Dave and she was trying to eat with a spoon.

We went shopping for a few hours and she walked almost the whole time! Dave was loving it. She still won’t come to me. Dave had to use the bathroom and Rani screamed the whole time, much to the chagrin of the other patrons. Oh well, she is learning that he will go and come back, which she needs to know because Dave has to go back to work the two days after we get back.

We are having health troubles though. She has a yucky cough and bad diarreah. She didn’t have diarreah till yesterday. I don’t know if it’s the different food or if she’s caught a bug. Poor thing. She gets really fussy right before she goes and after it she’s very happy. She must be in pain a little as well.

Right now, she and Dad are watching Sesame street. She’s absolutely enthralled. She really loves the TV, maybe she’s using it to pick up the language.

One more thing, she didn’t ask for her orphanage book all day. She didn’t even think of it.

The below picures are of her sleeping, watching TV with Dad, and some of her comforting behaviours. She bites her nails and puts her arm to her lips for comfort.

August 4, 2004

One step back and one step forward

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 5:08 am

Well, Rani was pretty sad all day. Not much crying, just laying on Dave’s shoulder. Not many smiles either though. Poor Dave is getting so tired. He just wants a little break, like to use the restroom :wink but she’s not having it! I feel so bad for him. It’s so hard watching from the sidelines and not being able to do anything. I am handling all of the bag carrying, car calling, man type stuff. We make such a funny couple right now. We’ve recieved our share of strange looks that’s for sure. :veryhappy

On a VERY happy note though :sing today we went to the embassy and filed the I-600 (orphan petition) and we also filed for Rani’s visa. We were expecting problems but really didn’t have any! I did forget the child study report, but thank goodness it didn’t matter because I have all of it memorized! Some papers we brought, like the homestudy addendum he didn’t even glance at. But I’m glad we had it there anyway just in case.

After that we had to take Rani to a local photographer for her visa photos. She actually sat on the bench next to Dave rather than on him for it! Turned out cute too! Luckily we had secured a driver who knows the process. He knew right where to take her. Next we went to see a Dr. for a child physical. I was about sick when they asked me for her immunization records. I didn’t think I had them but it was in the things the orphanage gave me! Whew! I also had to show them our intent to immunize form.

After the Dr. we headed home to lunch. We were a little nervous because we didn’t realize the visa fees were so high($335) and we didn’t know if we had that much left in traveller’s checks. Lucky for us the Lord is still looking out for us and we had a little bit more than enough. We headed back to the embassy after lunch and filed for Rani’s visa. After about an hour, and a little interview about how the adoption process has been for us, the man behind the counter smiled and said “Congratulations! We will be issuing your daughter’s visa. You can take her home.” I started crying. Many Indians were smiling at us. They seemed genuinely happy for us.

I have to say that I absolutely love the Indian people. They may not be rich, but they definately know what it takes to have happiness. They are so family centered and I have been so impressed at how much the staff of different places and just people we’ve met have been worried for Rani and have kept up asking how she is doing. It has been such an incredible experience. I’m finally comfortable in India and rather than feeling strange I feel right at home.

Dave has slipped up several times over the past week and even a couple of times today and said “Next time we do this……etc.” I’m just blown away! He knows that I really want a sister for Rani but at this point I’m the one who is hesitant. LOL He keeps saying he didn’t say that, or he meant when we visit India again for fun, not for adoption. But today in the embassy he said “Next time we do this you are going alone.” I kid you not! This man has fallen deeply in love with India. He is so impressed with the people, the way of life, the feelings and just general everything about India. It has been an amazing experience for him and I love watching it happen. I have to say though…next time we do this I will do many things differently that’s for sure!

As for the one step forward. Rani is really starting to communicate. The language thing has been so difficult because she really was/is fluent in Oriya. She has tried and tried to talk to us and must think we are idiots to not understand. Today though she looked at me and said “Wahneh”. At first I didn’t get it but then it dawned on me and I smiled and said “Water! Rani you said Water!” She smiled. I gave her water right away of course. Later she was saying “more wahneh” over and over and wouldn’t take water. I’m pretty sure she wanted more fruit snacks(which I didn’t have any more of) and didn’t know how to say it. It made her so frustrated. Of course I gave her a bunch when we got back to the hotel. Today she was also laying on the bed watching TV with Daddy. She started fussing and I said “What Rani” and she pointed in the direction of the bathroom. I smiled and grabbed her and ran, even though she was screaming and got her on the toilet just in time! YAY! She really hates pooping in her diaper and this has been one of our biggest hurdles. She holds it in until she’s in so much pain and then gets upset when it gets in her pants. So far though, pottying has been Mommy’s area much to Rani’s chagrin and she doesn’t seem to be fighting it. I’m so happy for her. She must be feeling so much better knowing that she can communicate her needs more effectively.

I must say, it’s got to be the mommy in me but I am understanding her body language and sounds so much better than Dave is. He just holds her and I watch her like a hawk and help him fulfull her every need. She has gotten to the point that she doesn’t cry for me to feed her anymore she just says “uh” becuase she knows I will do it. I carry around chappatis wherever we go so she always has a snack to munch on. So in reality even though Daddy is the consoler, Mommy is the communicater and server of needs. When she cries and I say “what do you need Rani” she usually will communicate it to me the best she can, where Dave is oblivious.

I feel like she is doing amazingly well. She is so smart. I cannot believe that brain inside that head. I think that is one of the things that makes it hard. She is not a baby at all and really is so much more grown up than that. She will not do something that she doesn’t want to where a baby would just not have a choice. She loves the computer and anything with buttons and her long skinny fingers love untying, unbuttoning, and unwrapping whatever she can get her hands on.

Her eyes do move a lot and she has a head shake. I have noticed there are times when they don’t seem to move at all. It is so funny to watch her try to focus on something small or to the side rather than straight ahead. Her head starts really wobbling. The poor photographer had a hard time with this.

And now here we sit in Delhi with two days left and nothing to do. I guess we’ll sleep in and relax tomorrow and maybe we’ll feel up to a little shopping or sight seeing, though we are getting low on cash. I wish we could change our plane tickets, but I don’t think that’s possible.

I got to talk to my boys today! Rani did too! She loved the phone and said “Hi brother Xander. Hi Grammie. etc” It was unbelievably cute! I was so relieved to hear that my baby is doing well under Grammie’s care (of course, this woman is amazing!) and that made me feel so great. My milk is back, I’ve been pumping like mad, though I can’t get miss Rani to take any. I’ve just been pumping/dumping but hopefully my baby will remember how to nurse when we get home. I miss it and sometimes I go to lay down and nurse Rani and have to tell myself I can’t do that! LOL

OK I’m rambling now. Thanks so much for reading our story! It’s so nice to know there are so many people rooting for us and of course praying for us. Rani is truly magnificent and I can’t believe I ever wanted to take her back!

August 3, 2004

What a glorious day!

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 1:08 pm

First off, let me reassure all of you that I’m not taking Rani’s sadness personally. You have to remember that those posts were written as a way for me to vent my feelings. I was feeling alone and hopeless and helpless and that was my way of dealing with it. I am a very social person and not having anyone to get feedback from was awful! Thanks so much everyone for your comments and posts. You can’t know what rejuvenation you have offered me. I see now that it really could be much worse and this type of feedback is exactly what I needed to help me see straight.

Today was a marvelous day! I’m so glad the we decided not to cancel the Agra trip because it truly was a day of miracles. We are now in a different part of India and Rani no longer understands anyone. Dave and I are her only stable link right now and that is turning out so well for all of us.

We started out this morning with a two hour train ride from Delhi to Agra. The train was something I was nervous about but it turned out to be pretty great. At first Rani cried because she thought it was an airplane and the flight to Delhi was scary(for all of us, we had an Indian taxi driver for a pilot I swear!) I said “Rani no cry. Not an airplane. It’s ok” and believe it or not she calmed down! She is starting to pick up a few words here and there. Throughout the train ride I got her to feed us candy again(she loves hard candies like jolly ranchers) though she threw mine at my mouth the first time LOL. I gave it back to her and then she put it in my mouth and smiled. Then every 30 minutes or so she would open her book to Shanti’s picture and let out the most heartwrenching little wail. Every time she does that my heart breaks for her. I can’t imagine what she must be going through. She didn’t cry as long though or as much and she seemed in a much better mood.

When we got to Agra we travelled first to see the Taj Mahal. The sun had just come out and was very hot. We had only eaten a few Chappatis for breakfast and truly I’m surprised we didn’t die of heat stroke. Dave put Rani in the sling(a pink one no less!) because he’s getting so tired from holding her so much. She cried and cried until we took her out. I guess the sling reminds her of us taking her since I had put her in it to take her out of the orphanage. That’s one thing I wish I hadn’t done. The Taj was beautiful but we were ready to get out of there faster than the average person. I did get a chance to aske a lovely Indian mother who was breastfeeding if I could please take her picture. She thought it was silly but agreed. Also we agreed to let a man take our picture. Dave didn’t even think about the fact that he’d be forever pictured in a sling, something he vowed would never happen. He looks so cute!

On our way out the photographer had taken 24 shots rather than 12. I was very firm….no EXTREMELY firm with him and only took 12. He was not happy, kept lowering the price for the others, and I would not budge. Dave said the tour guide was smiling and was impressed with my firmness.

Outside of the Taj many people were trying to sell us things. These people do not take no for an answer. I found that putting my hand up like a stop sign and gently pushing the item away seemed to get them to stop, though Dave thought that it was a bit much when I pushed gently one of the salesmen back off the bus. The guide was chuckling.

The driver then took us to a great restaurant. I can’t remember the name of the place, but the food was delicious, the best we’ve had in India so far. Rani LOVED it. She brightened up and even started feeding herself, which in turn led to feeding Dave. He didn’t much appreciate it, but he was obliging. I can’t believe how much this man is sacrificing for this little girl. She’s so much heavier than we thought she would be and long and lanky and all sharp bones and such. Not the cuddliest kid to carry. And here he is doing it day and night! At lunch Rani even fed me a bit and smiled at me. It felt so good to know I am no longer the “bad guy”. She doesn’t cry when I talk to her as much now and like I said she even smiles.

After we ate the driver took us shopping. The prices were more expensive then I was hoping to spend so we were unable to get very many gifts. I did get some inlaid stone items, two saris for Rani’s room, two brass goblets, matching Pajama Kurtas for the boys! Also the tailors there handmade me my own custom Salwar Kameez suit for $50 US dollars in less than three hours!!! That was impressive!

After we left the shops we came out to a literal monsoon. I joked that we would bring the monsoon with us to India and it seems to be true. It was like a sheet of water. You couldn’t even see through it! We thought that our trip to Agra fort would be cancelled. OH NO! Our guide insisted we still go. Of course the umbrellas I bought were back at the hotel. As we got out the rain was lessening a bit, but there was a veritable river coming out of the fort. A man was offering umbrellas for hire for 100 rupees(about $2.00 US). Our guide suggested to ask if it was for both or for each. I asked him and he said for each. I frowned a little and said. How about 150 Rs for both. He agreed. The guide smiled again. I think he likes my style. LOL

Anyway there was a river coming out of the entrance to the fort, and yes we walked through it. Running water about six inches deep! Oh how I wish I had the video camera out at that time. It was amazing! I thought I could get it on the way out but it was all dry by that time. The fort was beautiful and we really enjoyed ourselves there. Rani didn’t cry much either. She was fascinated by the rain.

When we came out the umbrella guy tried to sell me postcards and wasn’t listening to me saying no. So I said “I’ve got an idea. How about I give you 100 Rs for both umbrellas? He looked at me strange and said “postcard” again. I said OK how about we make it 50 Rs? No more postcard or I only pay 50 Rs for the umbrellas. LOL He started up again as soon as he was paid, but it surely stopped him in his tracks!

After that we went to the mini Taj Mahal. It wasn’t near as impressive but was fun because there were many monkeys and even a mother monkey nursing her baby!

After that we went back to the Ashok hotel to settle our bill and to relax till it was time to take the train back to Delhi. It was very nice sitting there and Dave started playing with Rani(like he’s always trying to do and she never cooperates). He tickled her like he does several times a day but rather than crying like she usually does she started giggling!!! Then she made him tickle her over and over again. She was really laughing! Needless to say the tears were streaming down my cheeks! We are making great leaps and bounds with her, especially Dave though he keeps saying he’s going to get me for this.

The train ride back was twice as long as the trip there(4 hrs rather than 2) and Rani slept the whole way. She was in such a deep sleep that she let me hold her the whole time. I was in heaven! Of course as soon as she woke up and realized it she wanted him. But she didn’t ask for her book or her doll the whole way back in the car! She just sat with Dave. I am feeling so good now and I know that your prayers have helped.

And thank you Shannon, you are right. How much worse would it have been without the angels? I needed that!

August 2, 2004

Just wanted to add one more thing

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 10:08 am

In the crying picture below you can see three things Rani is carrying. The doll we sent her in India, a tiny bottle of some sort of powder that Shanti sent with us by accident I think, and her lifebook that the orphanage made for her. She has to have those three things and Dave constantly or she is screaming. She will open the book occasionally to see a the picture of Shanti and sometimes she yells at the picture sometimes she just looks and closes the book again. I think it’s good that she can carry a little piece of Shanti with her and I think it will help. Dave sure wishes she’d put in all in a purse though. We are panicked we will lose one of the items! She also will not remove any of her jewelry. I repaired her necklace which made her very happy this morning and she is wearing about 10 bangle on each arm (and the bracelet I sent her which apparently DID get to her! LOL) and payal on her ankles. She’s also very particular about which hair accessories she wears as well. She is a girlie girl and LOVES and I do mean LOVES all the dresses she has! It’s a good thing she has another closet full at home! :wink

Day three with Rani

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 9:08 am

Well, today didn’t start off any better than yesterday. She cried and whimpered all day today rather than screaming so that’s a plus. Last night I tried a little holding therapy on her thinking maybe I could get her to let it out and of course it backfired. Now she really hates me. I held her tight and looked into her eyes. She was screaming at me in Oriyan and I of course have no idea what she was saying to me. She tried to hit me so I held her hand and said “No! No hit Rani.” She looked into my eyes and said “Mommy No!” I said “Mommy no? OK” and I let her go. I guess the fact that she actally communicated with me is positive and the fact that she finally went to the bathroom(that was about 7:00 pm and she hadn’t peed all day) during it is sort of positive. Let’s just say that she truly hates me now. She is absolutely glued to Dave and the poor guy is exhausted! She literally has to be on him every second or she is freaking out. Dave is doing so well. He’s being so patient and I just waver between bawling and staring. I am so lost. I have no idea what to do for her. So basically I’m letting Dave be the mom and staying out of the way.

We did meet a few other couples who are adopting. They were adopting more children so it was not their first adoption and the reassured me that she will come around. It was such a relief to hear, because I’ve been feeling so alone and dejected. It’s so hard for me to feel for her loss when she is so negative toward me. And everything I’ve tried has just pushed her farther away from me.

I did get her to smile a bit at me this morning at breakfast. But the rest of the day was just more of the same crying. We said goodbye to our hotel and headed out on the plane to Delhi and she literally sobbed for her room mother throughout the entire two hour flight.

*sigh* I think things are improving. I at least am feeling better. I’m not feeling like I’m in “transition” anymore. I still miss my kids terribly and it kills me that they’ve spent all this time not knowing how we are.

We are still going to take our Agra trip tomorrow. Dave insists and says he’d rather spend all day in a train and see the Taj with her crying than to sit around all day here with her crying. She’ll cry either way. He’s handling it so well, I am so amazed and am so impressed with this side of him. This whole adoption thing was my idea and to see him take this sweet little girl and hold her literally 24 hours a day just blows me away. I never knew he had it in him.

Please keep us in your prayers. The poor thing has had a rough ride so far. She’ll be lucky if she doesn’t come out of this with post traumatic stress disorder. I suppose I will too! LOL BTW the above picture in the last post of her crying is actually a picture I took of her today when Dave set her down for a minute.

Day two with Rani

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 9:08 am

All through the night I kept waking up from the horrible knot that has become my stomach. Rani would wake up a little, look at me, and then turn her head to Daddy. At least he could comfort her some, because she wouldn’t accept me at all. Sometime around 3AM she woke up, I pretended to sleep and she just stared at me. I wish I knew what she was thinking. I opened my eyes and smiled at her. She turned her head away and went back to sleep. At about 5AM she starting making sucking noises. She was trying to suck on everything in her sleep, including her arm. I ran and got a bottle of water. I first pretended to feed her doll. She smiled. I said “Rani baby?” and she took the bottle. She mostly chewed on it, but over the next two hours she drank the whole thing.

After she woke up fully she seemed very happy. I showed her all the dresses and shoes I had brought. Oh boy did she love that! I showed her all the little hairbows and she wanted me to do her hair. I did her hair and put a bindi on her forehead. She wanted one on my head too, so I obliged. I couldn’t get her to use the bathroom at all and I’m worried because she’s holding it so long. She wanted to wair panties, rather than a diaper because that is what she’s used to.

We had fun, I started to relax again. I got her to eat a cracker and some fruit snacks. She had a fun time feeding me the fruit snacks. At about 9:30 AM though she started crying again, softly at first, and then loudly. She let me hold her this time and I walked her around and around the swimming pool singing and trying occasionally to get her to take a bottle of milk which she refused. Finally I decided to go back to the room. She wouldn’t stop crying until Dave took her and then she fell asleep. It’s now 11:00 AM and she’s still sleeping. She wakes up every few minutes and whimpers. She won’t look at me again. That feeling in my stomach is so bad. I can’t eat and I have no idea what to do. I tried making a phone call to talk to my baby, but I guess they don’t have international service here because it wouldn’t go through. We still do not have internet after repeated requests and I’m feeling so isolated and lost. Dave is being so awesome through this. I’m so proud of him. He’s comforting Rani and me and he’s not worried at all that she won’t come around. I can’t remember anyone saying it felt this bad. Will she come around or will she always hate me? I want to talk to someone so badly. I want to talk to my friend Holly who has 15 adopted kids and ask “what do I do?” This feeling is so awful. I feel so helpless and useless and incapable.

Rani

Filed under: The Journey — Tamra @ 8:08 am

The first day with my daughter hasn’t been anything like I expected it to be. It has been very difficult. Yesterday morning we left our hotel at about 10:00AM to head to the orphanage. The driving was fascinating and I got a lot of it on video. There was a tollbooth on the way and the driver expected us to pay it. Good thing we had some extra rupees with us.

I couldn’t help but feel nervous about meeting my future daughter. The plan was to meet her and spend time with her today and to take her tomorrow because we fly out on Monday to Delhi to file the paperwork. That was the plan, but apparantly was not to be.

We got to smaller and smaller dirt streets. Each one got smaller and I kept thinking, surely streets could not get smaller than this. We saw people living in homes made purely from rice sacks. Basundhara orphanage is right in the middle of a very rural suburb type area. Many goats were walking the streets as well as cows of course. I saw many mothers carrying babies, but none had any type of sling like carrier. I was surprised at this.

As we pulled into the at the orphanage my heart was beating very fast. At the front entrance we removed our shoes and were led into the main office. Akshaya, the man who went to Delhi and finally got our NOC to go through, had us sit down and wait. He also told us that since tomorrow was Sunday we couldn’t take her that day. He said it had to be today or Monday just before the Delhi flight. We didn’t know what to do.

It seemed like we were waiting forever. I saw Shanti, Rani’s caretaker, walk by and she was crying. I started crying too. After what seemed like an eternity Rani came walking into the room. She was smiling. She had flowers from the garden for both of us. I picked her up and started playing with her. It was uncomfortable. Everyone was watching us, especially Shanti. I don’t know if I acted right or not. She seemed like she liked us at least. After a few minutes they took us to a room where we could be alone. On the way to the room, Shanti came up and talked to Rani. Rani started screaming and pulling on Shanti’s sari. After I got her to let go, I took her upstairs to the room. She snuggled up on me and cried until she fell asleep. Dave and I sat there just watching her sleep. We watched her for a long time. She was so beautiful and I was thinking “I can do this!”.

While we were sitting there with her, Shanti came in with Rani’s lunch. When she saw that Rani was asleep she woke her up. Rani was so groggy and she clung to Shanti like nobody’s business. Rani didn’t want to eat but Shanti made her eat. She talked to her for a long time in Oriyan, alternating between laughing and crying and then she left her with us. Oh it was awful. The screams of this child can make your blood run cold. She cried and cried. Shanti came back and took her from us. Dave and I looked at each other and decided we had better take her today. Oh how I wish we could have allowed more time for her to get to know us! She wouldn’t even look at me the rest of the day without crying. Amidst all of this I tried to remember to hand out gifts to the children and take pictures. It was so difficult watching Rani cry every time I touched her or even looked at her.

Subudra, a young Basundhara girl who is now a nurse there, took us on a tour of the orphanage. I couldn’t believe how many babies are there. I thought that it was mostly older children, but no, only a few older children and sixty three babies. Many of whom were premature and tiny. Every little one who looked at me started crying. I was starting to feel so awful. None of the children liked me at all. They were all scared of me. Especially the one whom I was supposed to call “daughter”.

After the tour, we said our last goodbyes and took Rani to the car. At first in the car she was so fascinated that she even smiled. I started to relax, thinking that it would be ok. But after a few minutes she started screaming again. She was begging for “Mo Mola” my mother. Shanti, her room mother is who she wanted. I guess she thought we couldn’t hear her because she started yelling it at us. Finally the driver took her on his lap, yes while driving, and spoke to her in Oriyan. Oh how I wish I could speak anything at all to calm the poor child!

When we got back to our room she cried and cried. I told her “Mommy Ranir Mola” over and over. So she started asking for Saila(the director). I decided to give her a bath. I figured it would be better to get the bath overwith while she was allready so scared by everything else. She freaked when I took of her clothes and bangles and thrashed like a huge fish in the tub. Finally I got her washed with lice shampoo and clean but in the meantime accidentally broke the necklace she was wearing. She really freaked out then. She wouldn’t stop crying and she didn’t want me. She wanted Dave. Dave finally got her to sleep. I was feeling awful. This feeling is so much worse than any feeling I’ve ever had. It’s this sick knot in my stomach that makes me want to throw up. It’s so bad that I keep thinking “we should just take her back. We shouldn’t have done this. It’s too hard. I can’t do this. Why did I think I could do this? I’m never doing this again! Where are the angels? Please God help me find a way to help her!” This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. The temptation to take her back is immense. I never imagined it would feel this awful. The scary thing is that she has to be feeling so much worse than me and there is nothing I can do. I miss my baby. I’m losing my milk. I want to go home.


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