Friday, November 29, 2013

Gotcha Day!

At the passport office, we were escorted to the second floor to wait for someone to meet with us.  We were game-playing how we would plead and/or demand the passport when Mr. P walked around the corner.  We didn't realize that he would even be meeting us there.  We immediately recognized each other and I jumped up to greet him.  He turned behind him and said, "Come on!  Come on!"   Then Ajay and Smita came around the corner and ran to us!  We hugged and kissed and laughed.  It all such a surprise.  People say these meetings never happen the way you imagine.  You have so much time to dream about it, but never truly know how it will play out.  We didn't even have a camera handy to capture our first meeting, but oh well.  It was great and I never even had a chance to get nervous about it and I didn't even cry like I thought I would.  Haha!  It was kind of like we already knew each other.  The families who I have gotten to know online also came around the corner at that time!  Another great surprise!  We were all escorted into the office of the highest ranking person in the passport office where Mr. P passionately pleaded our cases.  The official asked us questions like why we wanted to adopt when we already had children.  They also discussed something about the ages of the children and why that played into the urgency.  The whole time Ajay and Smita hugged and kissed us.  He wanted to know a little about each family.  At the end, Mr. P requested that Ajay and Smita sing a song for him to show their gratitude.  We all thanked him in advance as well.  We were told that they should be ready the following day.

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!

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