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 début. 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??