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This is the story of our first adoption. Feel free to read then visit our other sites.
Click on the pictures to go to our different sites.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 15, 2008

Today is a day of celebration. We have been a family of 4 for a year now. It has been an amazing year. I can't even describe the ways my life has changed. If given the choice I would repeat it, as is. I am thankful and truly blessed by God to have this daughter. I am overjoyed that God opened my heart and my eyes to adoption. I don't see why everyone doesn't get to adopt.
I started out 2007 desperate and depressed. I was just learning about faith and dependence on God. I had never had to lean so heavily on God and tell him, "I'm giving you control of my life. I'll follow your will." It came out more like "Fine. I won't have my daughter until You say so. Fine. Just hurry up already." I hope that I sound less like a pouting 3 year old and way more grateful today.
One year ago today, I met an angel. She has saved so many parts of our family. What was good a year ago is better now. I see a new side of Patrick, and Anthony. I know there is a new side of me. I'm becoming the person that I want to be.
I can't even remember the sorrow of waiting. Its all gone now. Even starting another adoption, the emotions surprise me. I've forgotten the sadness. Guess all you need to forget is a loud 2 year old that loves to tear paper into little pieces.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Finally Meeting Our Daughter

We have been home for 5 weeks now. I have sorted in my mind the details of the trip. I think now I can journal our trip. I planned on journaling through out the trip but I just never got around to it.

After many months of waiting and days of packing we were finally ready to travel to India. We had 6 large suitcases that were right at the weight limit of 50 lbs each. We each had a carry on and a small bag. We left Charlotte NC on February 13th at 1155 on a US Airways flight to Washington Dulles. We had a 5 hour layover. We left on a Lufthansa fight to Frankfurt Germany. The flight was 6 ½ hours long. We landed in the morning of the 14th. After a 4 hour layover in Germany, we boarded our flight to Kolkata India. The flight was 8 hours long. We landed at about 1:00 am Kolkata time on February 15th . All of our luggage made it to India without a problem. We traded some money. The exchange rate was 42.45 rupees per US dollar. We had to take 2 cars to the hotel because of all our luggage. There were children at the airport begging at 2:00am. I just couldn’t look at them. We took a 20 minute ride to the hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Hindusthan in Kolkata. The room had beautiful hardwood floors and a king size bed. We finally laid down at 3:00am.

Thursday February 15, 2007

We woke up at about 10:00am that morning. I had my first panic attack. I had forgotten to print out the travel guide with Anju’s phone number. We got internet access and I got the number. We called the orphanage. Anju wasn’t at that building and we got another number to call. After a couple tries, Patrick finally got through. Anju gave us the option to pick Ananya up that day (Thursday). I could not resist. We started gathering all the orphanage donations and went to find lunch. We ended up eating at one of the restaurants in the hotel at about 1:00pm. Anthony had Chinese noodle soup non vegetarian, I had spaghetti with tomato, basil and garlic, Patrick had non vegetarian fried rice. We just about ran out of time and I had to run upstairs and get all of our things from the room to take into the orphanage. We had 3 plastic bags and a large duffle bag full of things to leave.
The ride to the orphanage in a hotel car took about 20 minutes. We found the building after alittle searching. There are no signs outside to let you know it is an orphanage. We walked in through metal gates and up a narrow staircase. We could hear all of the babies. Anju met us and invited us into her office. We sat down and she said something to another lady. She had us sign the book and we had to write our address. She told us about Ananya, her eating schedule and told us how she only cries when she needs something. She gave us a box of Lactogen formula, a box of infant cereal, and a package of cookies.
Then one of the Ayahs brought Ananya in. We met her in the open lobby area. She looked like she had been asleep and was confused. Patrick had a camera and Anthony had the video camera. I approached Ananya and told her hello. The Ayah handed her to me. Ananya took one look at me and started screaming. We all spent a few minutes trying to calm her down while I was holding her. It didn’t work. The Ayah took her back and she immediately stopped crying. I walked away to let her calm down. I went into the baby room. There were about 9 babies in this room with maybe 6 cribs. A couple were actually bassinets. 2 or 3 of the babies were on the floor. I asked Anju which one was Mouli (Daya). I went over and picked her up. She didn’t cry. I told her that Mommy and Daddy were coming soon and that they love her. We took pictures of the room. I went back out to try and hold Ananya again. Once in my arms, she started crying once again. After a few minutes, the Ayah took her and calmed her down. Anju kept reassuring me that it would be ok. I kept telling everyone that I knew it was ok. She just needed to get to know me. We tried a 3rd time to give her to me. After a few minutes, she did calm down. We stayed a few more minutes. Anju assured us if we needed anything while we were there to call her.
We made arrangements to visit the other building (Lakeview Road). A couple of blocks and our driver stops at this alley. They quickly usher me out of the car and down this alley. We enter this doorway, once again no sign or indication of what was inside. We follow a man down a hallway. We go into a room. There are about 6 older children in this room. Patrick starts taking pictures of each child. We go into another room and there are older babies in there. Ananya started to fuss and an Ayah took her from me. She immediately calmed down. I started to look around the room at the other children. I asked to see Prasun. They show me this chubby little boy. He was laying in a crib. One of the Ayahs picked him up and handed him to me. My first impression was “wow, he is heavy”. I put him down and asked about Swarnadip. They showed me a little boy about Ananya’s size. The Ayah handed him to me and he started crying. I immediately put him down. I didn’t want another child crying because of me. I went looking for Ananya. The ayah gave her back to me. We went upstairs. There were 2 rooms full of babies. The infants were in the first room. We took our shoes off. Some of the Ayahs were on the floor doing stretching on some of the infants. Others were feeding babies. The second room had newborns. There were 2 babies in an closed bassinet with heat lamps. There were other newborns with feeding tubes. They were so little. We took a picture with the Ayahs and left. The ride back to the hotel was nice. Ananya slept on my lap the entire ride. I felt like I had a permanent smile on my face. We got back to the hotel and relaxed for a while. Patrick and Anthony went to sleep. I ordered room service and tried to get Ananya to eat rice with milk and sugar. That didn’t work. Ananya was up until about 11:00pm before I could finally get her to sleep. I was updating our blog and emailing people. Everyone wanted to see the pictures.

Friday February 16, 2007

We woke up happy as could be. Patrick was holding Ananya when she woke up. We found out quickly that she is all smiles in the morning. We went to breakfast in the hotel. Ananya didn’t eat too well. She didn’t really drink at all either. I didn’t push it much though. We arranged for a car and went shopping at New Market. Patrick seemed a little shocked by the appearance of the Market. It looks a lot like an American Flea Market. We decide to risk it. A young man volunteered to guide us. He took us to a jewelry shop first. The owner got Anthony and Ananya some Mango juice. He showed us so many beautiful things. I couldn’t keep him from putting more things in front of me. The first time he gave us a price for all the things I just about died. He said 31,000 rupees. We started taking things away and ended up only buying ankle bells for Ananya and a necklace. Next we went to a sari shop. I didn’t really like the prices that they were quoting me. I got 1 sari. We got a cute outfit for Ananya. An Indian outfit for Anthony and ordered one for Patrick. We had to return the next day because they were making the outfit for Patrick. We chose to return to the hotel after that. Ananya fell asleep in the carrier. I had to feed her when we got back. I didn’t have the hang of the formula yet. She wouldn’t drink out of a sippy cup or a bottle because she doesn’t suck on things. We played with her in the room. Everyone went to sleep kind of early. Ananya went to sleep without any problems. She slept through the night again.

Life With Ananya

Saturday February 17th, 2007

We woke up again to all smiles from Ananya. We had breakfast in the hotel again. We arranged for a car at 1:00 to take us sightseeing. We got a call from Grace. They were in the hotel and we went to their room to visit. We finally got to meet Grace, Shane, Anila, and Lenin. We have had so many phone conversations with them. We all cried and prayed together so it was wonderful to finally meet them in person. They all loved to meet Ananya. They were waiting to leave to pick up Jadyn and Jay. We told them alittle of our trip and we showed Anila and Lenin the pictures that we had taken of Jay. We went to visit Victoria Memorial. The gardens were beautiful and we had a nice walk. The weather was beautiful. We probably spent about an hour there. We went to the planetarium next. Ananya took a short nap. Anthony and Patrick liked the show. I just enjoyed holding Ananya after so long. We tried to go to St. Pauls Cathedral next but it was closed. We decide to go back to the hotel. We ate lunch at the restaurant again. We all relaxed alittle. Anthony finally went swimming at the hotel pool. The water was little cold but he enjoyed it. Ananya liked sitting outside too. I couldn’t take the suspense any longer so I went down the hall to see if Grace was back yet. I met her in the hall. I got to see Jadyn. She was adorable laying there asleep. Grace had the same smile that I had on Thursday. She was glowing. Jay was in the next room. He didn’t sound too happy. We planned on having dinner with them later that evening. We had to go back to New Market and pick up Patrick’s Indian outfit. We got to New Market at dusk. We started heading for the shop and our guide from the previous day found us. People kept pointing us to the right shop. I guess everyone knew we were coming back. We got the outfit and went to a couple of other shops. We got outfits for Ananya in several different sizes. We found another outfit for Anthony as well. We went to the jewelry shop again to look for a watch for Patrick. I didn’t look at anything new. The man was too persistent and I didn’t want to spend all of our money. A little girl started to follow us on the street and was talking to me at the jewelry shop. She said her name was Puja. She was so beautiful. I didn’t have anything to give her though. I gave her several pieces of gum. Ananya started to fuss a lot. I didn’t have any formula with me and I just thought that she was tired. I figured out on the way home, once we finally pulled Patrick out of the shop, that she was hungry. Starving is more the word for it. I didn’t really have any warning. She just started crying and would not stop. Finally after what seemed like the longest car ride ever, we got back to the hotel and I could feed her alittle. We had to cancel dinner with the other families because I couldn’t do anything with Ananya at the time. I finally got Ananya settled down after a whole bottle and found that in the screaming she had a bowel movement finally. It was no wonder that she was fussing. It had to hurt. She went to sleep without any problems.

Sunday February 18th, 2007

We decide to stay in the hotel all day after the disaster the night before. Ananya woke up with smiles yet again. She is so sweet in the morning. We had breakfast with our friends and their wonderful children. We got to talk to them a lot. I could see some of the delays in Ananya watching the other 2. Anthony got a stomach ache during breakfast and Patrick took him back to the room. I stayed with the others. I got more food into Ananya this morning and managed to eat a little myself. We played in the room. Anju came to visit us. Ananya wouldn’t let Anju hold her. We did get a picture of the 3 of us though. Our family will treasure it forever. Anthony went swimming again in the afternoon. There were some boys at the hotel that he played with for a while. They were from England. We were all starting to get tired so a easy day of nothing was wonderful. Ananya had her first bath. She didn’t really enjoy it that much.

Monday February 19th, 2007

We had the normal morning. Ananya wakes up smiling. We went to breakfast. No bellyaches today though. We had to start to get ready to leave. We had a 5:45pm flight from Kolkata to New Delhi. We got to the airport about 3:45pm. The ride was longer than I remember but there was also traffic because it was afternoon and not the middle of the night. We saw more of Kolkata. We got to see New City which is still being built. The new buildings were kind of like condos in the US. We saw a lot of cows along the road. The airport was a lot nicer than I had expected. We had to put our bags through security immediately upon entering the building. All of our checked baggage was sealed. The men who got our bags outside directed us to the right desk to check in. The Jet Airways desk gave us 2 small yellow roses. They were beautiful. We had to wait a while to go through security. I hadn’t been thinking when I packed our carry-ons this time. I had our hand sanitizer and a bunch of batteries in one bag. The nice lady let me keep my hand sanitizer and moved the batteries to other bags. We rode a shuttle out onto the tarmac and boarded our plane. It was really crowded. Ananya started to fuss alittle after we boarded and I got her a bottle. She drank it during takeoff. She didn’t have any problems. I got sick during take off. I had to take Dramamine. They luckily served us a meal during the flight. I didn’t have enough on my stomach to handle the flight. Ananya quickly went to sleep. I finished my meal and fell asleep myself. It was dark when we landed in Delhi. The airport was a shock. It was a lot more busy that Kolkata. It was also more modern. We got our bags and went to find a car. A guy got our bags and lead us to the Avis window for a car. The ride to the hotel was 1800 rupee. I didn’t think that was too bad. In the parking lot we got a nice car to the hotel. The man with our bags told Patrick that his fee was 500 rupee. We hadn’t had anyone actually quote a price like that. We packed off to the Nikko without any problems. The ride was about 30 minutes. We saw several parties that looked like weddings. We got to the hotel and checked in without any problems. There was a wedding in the courtyard. We got to see the bride. She was beautiful. Once upstairs, we got room service and ate dinner. I tried to call to arrange for a car the next day. The manager told me that we would have to wait until morning and call back. I tried to sort through our papers and about had a heart attack. I thought I had forgotten our home study. It was all there and we all crashed at about 11:30pm in anticipation of a long day the next day.

More of our Trip

Tuesday February 20th, 2007

This was a big day for us. We had to go to the Embassy and apply for Ananya’s Visa. I was nervous and exhausted. This was my first day of trying to get 4 people out of the house at a certain time. I was never really good with just the 3 of us. We got room service for breakfast. I was able to get Ananya oatmeal. She even ate some of it. I didn’t have time to eat though. I took extra formula with me for the day though having learned from my previous mistake. We hired a hotel car for the day. Our driver had us out of the hotel by about 8:30am. We wound through the city streets on our way to the Embassy. Finally, we arrived. They have these barriers set up that the cars must weave in and out of to get to the front of the Embassy. We got scanned by metal detectors first. Then, we were directed past all the lines and got in the doors. All our things had to go through the x-ray and we got scanned by the metal detector again. Then we were in the building. Immediately, I saw Anila and Lenin. I took 1 look at Anila and Lenin and started crying. I was tired and I wanted my baby to EAT. The whole process was much easier than I thought it would be though. We got through and headed for the doctor and visa pictures at about 11:00. First, our driver took us to a photo shop. I held Ananya on my lap and got the picture taken. We had to wait about 20 minutes to get the pictures. Patrick bought a disposable camera in the shop. We got some good pictures sitting in the courtyard waiting. When we got the pictures for the visa, they were adorable. It was like seeing Anthony’s passport. Just a great moment. Next, we had to go to the Embassy doctor. Ananya had fallen asleep in the car. When the nice female doctor came in and we had to undress her, she woke up and started crying. After just a few minutes, they were all done. It was alittle after 12:00. The Embassy didn’t open back up until 2:00pm, so we went and had lunch. Our driver took us to a restaurant next to the photo shop. We picked through the menu and found some well cooked things. Patrick had Tandoori chicken that I ordered. We also had a spinach dish and onion and buttered naan. It was such a great lunch. Afterwards, we headed back to the Embassy to finish up. We met Grace, Shane, Anila, and Lenin outside. We went through security once again and went to the window to finish our paperwork. Anila had pity on my tired mind and helped me fill in the paperwork. We arranged with Grace and Shane to meet them at their hotel, the Sheraton, for dinner. We had our exit interview and were out the door by 3:30pm. We were to return the next day to pick up the visa. We got to relax for a few minutes before we got a car to take us to the Sheraton. It was gorgeous. We went to their suite. Jadyn was sleeping. We all got ready and wandered around for awhile looking for a restaurant. We had a great dinner even though the service was poor. I had a stuffed chicken sandwich, it was wonderful. We had ice cream for dessert. Ananya ended up with chocolate all over her face. We ended the night with some pictures of the girls together. Another treasure for us. We got back to the hotel and everyone was tired after such a long day.

Wednesday February 21st, 2007

Today was the day to pick up the “Golden Packet”. We didn’t rush though. We rented a car for the day. We got the same driver. We went first to the Embassy. I ran in and within 10 minutes had the packet in my hand. We were set to go home. YEAH!!!!! Next, the driver took us to the Embassy doctor again. I had realized that I didn’t get Ananya’s shot record back the day before. I was able to get it without a problem. We asked the driver to take us to some shops where I could buy a sari for myself. He took us to Haans Plaza. I found a nice little boutique named Atelior. They had such beautiful things. Patrick held Ananya while they held all these beautiful fabrics up to me. I got 2 saris and 2 outfits as well as a couple of scarves. The owner took me to her other shop around the corner. Patrick, Anthony, and Ananya found a toy store. I got several shirts, 2 more outfits, 2 pair of slippers and 2 purses. I will treasure all of my rather expensive purchases forever. We were instructed that all of the clothing would be finished by the next evening. We went back to the hotel and had dinner at the Japanese Restaurant. We found that Japanese restaurants don’t actually include rice or vegetables with the meat. It is all ordered separately. We went back to the room and just relaxed for the rest of the evening. I washed some clothes in the sink. I started to try and gather some of our things. I was ready to go home. We had 1 more day to enjoy India though. Mostly, I just wanted Ananya to eat. We had a good peaceful night.

Thursday February 22nd, 2007

Our last day in India. Everyone was ready to leave now. To me, leaving was bittersweet. I knew that once the stress was gone, I would miss India. I thought Ananya was doing so well. I was praying for one more day of no one getting sick. We still had to go to the Market and pick up my purchases. We hung around the hotel all morning. Had breakfast downstairs. We didn’t go out until about 3:00 pm. We got the same driver once again. He took us to Haans Plaza. We walked around alittle. We got brave and decided to try McDonalds. 2 fried chicken sandwiches (think giant chicken nugget) and a Happy Meal. I ended up giving Anthony my sandwich because his chicken had seasoning in it. The fries were good. This was one time when people really stared at us. We spent awhile just wandering through the Plaza. We went into a few shops. We still had a lot of time left. We had the driver take us to a few sites. First he took us to this tomb. It was surrounded by the most wonderful gardens. We walked around and took lots of great pictures. The driver took us to another tomb next. The gardens weren’t as pretty as the first, but there were several games of cricket going on. I was getting really tired. We went back to the shop to pick up my things before heading to the hotel. My outfits were gorgeous. It was dinner time when we got back to the hotel. We decide to have Japanese again. I wore my Salvar Kemeez to dinner. Of course I felt everyone looking at me. I had a wonderful Vegetable Tempora. It was finally the big night. We had to pack. We needed to leave the hotel by 6:30 am on Friday for our flight home. I tried to organize things as much as possible and figure out what had to be carried on the flight with us. I had to make sure I had enough formula to last about 20 hours until we got to DC where I knew I could find food for Ananya. It was a long night with not nearly enough sleep. I was ready to go.

Friday February 23rd, 2007

It was time to go. We settled our bill and got our car. We even fit into 1 car this time. The airport in New Delhi was again crazy. It was about 7:30am. No one was actually there to help us with our bags. We made it in and got our bags through security. We went to wait in line at the ticket counter. It took forever. I was starting to wonder if we could make our flight. We had to go through the immigration counter, fill out the forms, and wait in line for security. The security line took awhile too. We got all the way through security and went to pre-board only to find that our carry-on bags weren’t tagged and stamped. We didn’t get to pre-board like we could have. We were all about to lose our cool. Another 20 minutes later, we were finally on board our flight. We even got bulkhead seats. Extra leg room was great with Ananya on my lap. Eating wasn’t the easiest though. We got through the 8 hour flight without much trouble. Ananya napped. I napped. It was nice. I got my last couple Indian meals. We made it to Munich without any problems. We trudged through the airport. Down about 20 gates. We went through security again. We luckily only waited about 20 minutes and got to board our flight to the US. So close to home. We got an entire row of seats for me, Ananya and Anthony. We were all able to stretch out and relax. 8 ½ hours and we would be one step closer to home. The flight wasn’t too bad. We made it to D.C. We had to get our bags and go through immigration. We gave them Ananya’s paperwork and they processed her in 5 minutes. We rechecked our bags. We went and found something to eat. I found yogurt for Ananya and pizza for me. It was nice to be back home. 3 hours until we were finally back in Charlotte. I was able to go into the bathroom and primp both Ananya and myself for our big d├ębut. I got out the hair barrettes (yet unused) and refreshed my makeup. I just wanted to look alive and not so exhausted. We boarded our flight. Ananya fell asleep and I fell asleep. I awoke to city lights and a holding pattern. We were home. I couldn’t get off the plane fast enough. I was ready to see my family and my car. I was ready to have my mom finally meet her grand-daughter. Our small welcoming party was wonderful. I was ready to go home. The hour ride ahead seemed like torture but before we knew it we were home. Ananya screamed almost the whole way home. She didn’t like all the new things, the cold weather, and people touching her. Then I put her in the carseat. Poor baby was exhausted and rightfully had her meltdown. In our house, as a family of four. After waiting over a year, taking Ananya into her room was relaxing. She was finally in my arms. I exhaled only to realize how long it had been since I had relaxed.

God lead us through such a long journey and taught us all, especially me, so many things. I now realize what it is like to trust God to lead me. We had so many uncertainties in our year of waiting. In my heart, I knew it was ok. My mind didn’t, however. God took my hand and shoved me where I was to go. I am so glad that I didn’t turn back. I hope He allows me to travel this path again. As I finish writing this we have been home 14 ½ weeks. It honestly feels like forever. It has been a wonderful trip.

I wonder where we go next??

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Blog Address

My new blog is Trying Again. The address is www.alwaystryingagain.blogspot.com

Ending This Blog

After lots of thought, I've decided to stop posting here. I'm going to start a new blog. This is Ananya's place. This is where I wrote all the bad thoughts while we waited, all the good thoughts after we got home. I have so much to say that I don't want to put here. I've grown so much in the last 2 years. It's amazing. I want to talk about big issues that bother me now. Blog about what I'm doing and how the kids are. My new blog is my personal journal of raising 2 (soon to be 3) kids, working, taking care of all the things that I do in daily life, and just my thoughts in general. My life is not completely about adoption, a huge part of it is. I'm also a nurse, a homeschooling mom, and a bit of a healthnut. So follow me if you dare. I'm pulling the gloves off.