After group photos, we parted ways with the other families and rode with Mr. P and his driver back to the ashram. We had great conversation on the way there. He sang a song and we enjoyed his singing voice. He shared a lot of Ahmedabad history as we drove through the city, over the more than 100-year-old bridge, past Raipur Gate in the old city, and to the Ashram. The orphanage is over 100-years-old and one of the very oldest in !ndia. It was amazing to see the buildings in person after staring at them on google maps for two years.
And so we got our first glimpses into the lives of Ajay and Smita. At the orphanage, we completed the paperwork necessary to take custody of the children. We asked our list of questions that we had been formulating for over a year. I got satisfactory answers to most of these questions...not a lot of details, but the children may fill in the gaps in years to come because they are older and will remember. The biggest news was that the ashram was the ONLY orphanage where they had been placed. I had been told that there was an earlier orphanage in their history. No... they had always been at the Ashram. I also received a tiny baby photo of each child! That's treasure!
We really did not take any photos at that time in the orphanage because we would return the next day for passports, photos, and tea. We stayed until 6 PM, then made our way back to the hotel.
On the ride home, the children sang beautiful Indian songs together, chatted excitedly to one another in Gujarati, then much to our delight but not the driver's, counted to 100 in English, then said their ABC's! We are all communicating well with one another. They have clearly been attending English Medium School. They have a strong base vocabulary of English words and were even using small sentences occasionally! What a relief. I also spoke a little Gujarati to them and got big smiles and kisses.Our Gotcha Day was on Thanksgiving! So much to be thankful for!