We are done at the Embassy, we just have to pick up Charu's visa at 2:30 and then we can officially bring her into the USA! Charu had a MAJOR melt down at while we were there because the security officers had me take her out of the baby wrap she was in, took away her Cheerios to run them through the scanner and then there were tons of people! Thankfully the nice lady who was helping us let me take her outside where I was eventually able to calm her down. I have to admit that as much as I can't wait to get home, I am not looking forward to the plane ride. I pray she is able to sleep through a lot of it and of not, I just pray that the other passengers are understanding!
The three days we spent at the orphanage were three of the most cherished days of my life (right up there with the birth of Allie). We tried very hard to savor every second we could in regards to the orphanage, the husband and wife who run the orphanage, and southern India in general.
When we arrived in Cochin, India we were immediately struck by the lush and tropical landscape of this region of India. The warmth of the sun was already very strong and it was only a little after 7 in the morning. As we entered the airport, Cory and I quickly began to see what it feels like to be a minority in a country where most people don't speak the language you do and where children (and adults) stare at you because of the color of your skin and hair. We also quickly came to see how kind, helpful, and loving the people in this region are. Dozens of people came up to us and asked if we needed help, offering their cell phones when our driver wasn't there, and refusing to take our money for the phone calls.
Upon arrival to SKB, we were welcomed by the amazing woman (Elizabeth) who along with her husband run the orphanage. Their house is in the front of the many acres of land used for the orphanage with the workers houses behind the house and the orphanage in the very back.
It felt very surreal to finally be at our daughter's orphanage. We had waited so long for another child and had watched other families standing in the very same place we were standing. All of the pictures we saw of SKB couldn't do it justice. No words could adequately describe how faithful, loving and educated Elizabeth is. This woman has made it her life to do more than just take care of hundreds of orphans over the years, she makes sure that every child knows what it feels like to be loved, hugged, and kissed and she searches for families who are going to give each child what they need. She said that she doesn't choose families for these children, God does!
Before long, we were making the short walk to the orphanage. As we walked I tried to take everything in. I knew that this was a moment that I wanted to cherish forever. As we entered the orphanage, the sound of playing children rang through the whole building. As we talked to the head staff woman, all I could think about was Charu and if one of those beautiful voices was her.
We were ushered up the winding, open staircase and as we reached the second floor there were many toddlers sitting and eating snack. My eyes searched the children and they locked on our little peanut...I knew it was her. We went into the toddler room and waited as they slowly brought kids in as they were done with snack. Charu was the forth one to come in and was immediately frightened by us. She knew who we were and that three of her other friends had left in the past few weeks...she may not have fully understood at that point what was happening but she knew enough to be scared.
We spent the next few hours playing with the children, some were eager to play with us while others were very apprehensive...our daughter included. Charu did open up a little to me and even gave me a kiss on my cheek and sat on my lap! It was amazing!
The next day, we spent most of our time at the orphanage. The more time we spent there, the more we wished we could have stayed longer. It was amazing to watch the pure love that went into raising all of these beautiful little babies.
We wish that we could say that the time we spent at SKB helped Charu's transition from the orphanage to our family easier, but to be honest nothing could have prepared our little pumpkin. She was very attached to her caregivers, which is a good thing...but also made the going away ceremony almost unbareable to watch.
As we walked into the chapel Tuesday morning, Charu was in the front with one of her favorite caregivers and Elizabeth. All of the other toddlers and caregivers were there. The sound of their singing was breathtaking and although we didn't understand what was being said, we felt the meaning behind every word that was spoken. It was beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. Neither Cory nor I have ever cried as hard as we did that day as Elizabeth handed me our screaming daughter and told her that she was going home. We were quickly ushered to the car where Charu screamed, hitting the window as the caretakers were watching. The looks on the caretakers' faces will forever be in my memory. The tears poured down my face as I tried to calm our daughter to no avail. As we drove away from the orphanage, Charu stopped crying immediately and relaxed in my arms. She stayed that way for the rest of the 2 1/2 hour drive back down the mountain. No words were spoken between Cory and me for that whole drive...there simply weren't words for what we were feeling and what we imagined Charu was feeling.
Every day I am amazed at how much Charu is opening up to us, however I know that this is a marathon and not a race. I know that there will be times (and have already been some) where there won't be anything we can do to sooth her. There will be times where she is grieving and it's our jobs as her parents to guide her though those moments as much as possible. I also know that Charu has already brought us and will continue to bring so much joy to our lives and it is that joy will make it all worth it!
Charu was very smiley this morning while we were getting ready, but as soon as you get the camera out she gets pretty serious. Although I didn't catch a smile, I thought they were still pretty cute. This morning was great because she finally started saying some words to us (although we don't know what they are) and she finally pooped (TMI)! It was a good morning!
We also did a little shopping this morning. We can't be out for too long at a time, but we do want to soak up as much of India as we can. Today we picked up a few things for gifts for people and we also bought Charu a table runner that's hand beaded for when she gets married! It's beautiful!
I'll try to write more soon! We are going to Facetime with Allie tonight! We miss her so much and can't wait to see her!!!
Finding time to update is more difficult that I thought. Charu doesn't let me put her down and sitting down is even sometimes not appreciated! Here's the update I posted on facebook!
We are in Delhi! Charu is doing well and did awesome on the flight here. She's beginning to warm up to Cory, but still has times that if he even looks at her he gets the Charu scowl. Wait until you meet this little girl and you'll know what the scowl is! She's so expressive and even though we don't know each other's languages, we seem to know what she wants!
All in all, we had a good yet exhausting day. Charu did amazingly well and was even smiling some and feeding us some of her snacks. She went to bed like a champ and is sleeping great right next to me! Now I just wish I was able to sleep!!! Take care everyone!!!
Here are a couple of pictures from the same day as the other ones. We were outside with all of the kids playing with bubbles! They were a big hit!
We are so in love with this little girl and we can't wait for her to meet her big sister!!!
India is amazing and we have been soaking up every second of India, getting to know Charu, and falling in love with this amazing place that Charu has lived at for the past 2 years of her life! I'll post more soon, I promise. Tomorrow we have a going away ceremony in the morning and then we fly from Cochin to Delhi. It's going to be a long day and Charu is going to be going through a lot. She's doing really well so far, but I'm sure there are going to be some tough days ahead! Please pray for her little heart to heal.
We made it to Amsterdam and are waiting for our 5 hour layover before boarding our 9 hour flight to Mumbai, India. From there, we will have a 6 hour layover before boarding our last (1 1/2 hour) flight to Cochin, India before going to meet our little peanut! We are getting excited, but are very exhausted already!!! We'll post more when we can!
You are so loved! We have cherished every moment we've been able to spend with you and thank God every day that you were brought into our lives. Leaving you on Friday is going to be one of the hardest things we'll ever have to do, but we know that you are going to be in good hands! We also know that having a sister is such a special blessing (I should know I have two great sisters and daddy has one). You are going to make an awesome big sister!
As I look back at all of your pictures, it makes me a little teary. When you were placed in our arms, we prayed to God that you would be ours forever. God granted that prayer and we couldn't have asked for a more amazing little girl. I know that C is going to bless our lives as much as you do each day and that God has a special plan for each one of you! We love you so much!!!
On March 26, 2008 our lives were forever changed by the birth and adoption of our first little miracle.
Our second little miracle arrived home from India on November 30, 2011.
It's our dream to welcome more children into our family through adoption, but for now we are enjoying being a family of four!