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.