Sunday, December 1, 2013

Nov. 29--A Day At The Orphanage, Shoe Shopping, And Passports

Our day began with breakfast in the hotel room, then a morning appointment at the ashram/orphanage.  We, along with the Irish families were invited to the ashram for tea, cookies, and a tour before receiving the children's passports.  We were the first to arrive.  We sat there across from Mr. P as he completed some paperwork.  Finally the others arrived.  We all spent some time discussing with Mr. P how our first evening had gone with all of our new children.  One little girl had been saying the name of a friend all evening.  Mr. P called that friend down, and it was emotional to see the two girls embrace in happiness to see each other again.
After spending time in the front office, we crossed the courtyard into a large meeting room where we were entertained with tea, coffee, and cookies while meeting two important leaders on the orphanage's committee.  The woman is in her 80's while the man is in his 70's.  They have been working with the ashram for decades.
She showed a lot of affection for the children and was genuinely happy for our family.

While the adults talked at the table, Ajay and Smita sat on the couch to eat their snack and play.  They were later dismissed by the director to go eat lunch in the dining hall with the rest of their friends.  The kids insisted on wearing these shoes and socks.  Ajay is wearing Ansley's old colorful Tom's...haha...he really likes them.
When they returned, we did a photo shoot in the courtyard.  There is a lot of tropical vegetation including banana and coconut trees.

The only indoor rooms that we were permitted to see were the meeting room, the dining hall, and the kitchen.  A bell rings at the end of the hall to call the children to eat.  They sit on the floor to eat and use their hands instead of silverware.  

Back in the courtyard...
Posing in front of the blue door where many photos of the children that were sent to us were taken...

Photo with Mr. P...
After three hours at the orphanage, it was determined that the passports were not ready yet, but would be delivered to the ashram in the late afternoon.  We left with plans to return after lunch.
In the meantime, we took Ajay to the mall by our hotel to buy some new shoes.  He loved it!
Smita got a pair, too!  Ajay and Smita were very excited at the mall and pointed out things that they liked.  They also tried to encourage me to buy a lot of things for myself...purses, clothing, shoes, jewelry.   Haha!  We did not purchase anything but their shoes.
The mall had a Pizza Hut, so we stopped there for lunch.  We were seated toward the back of the restaurant, but we caused quite a commotion...first by looking so unusual and then by the children's behavior.  They kept banging their silverware on the table, trying to saw the table with the knife, then yelling out across the restaurant for the server to hurry up with their pasta!  It was embarrassing.  Then I started thinking about them eating their pasta with their hands and about broke into a sweat.  I made Jeff ask the server to change our food to a to-go order.  We walked home from the mall with our food in a bag.  Back at the hotel, Ajay and Smita surprised us by immediately grabbing their forks like pros to eat their pasta!  Hallelujah!  They know how to use a fork!  While we were eating, Mr. P called to tell us that the passports were ready and to return to the orphanage to pick them up!  Awesome!
View of the mall from our hotel...That's all motorcycles in the parking lot!
We spent another three hours at the ashram as we waited for the mail carrier to deliver the passports.  We sat in the courtyard, enjoying the breeze, watching the children run around and play, waving to the older school girls as they changed classes, and listening to the children sing songs in the distance while in school.  This additional time at the orphanage allowed us the opportunity to meet the children's caregiver...Anita.  They call her Dee Dee which means big sister.  She confirmed that the children had been at this location from the very beginning when she told us how she had rocked them and cared for them as babies.
Mr. P's assistant...
Soon after the passports were delivered, the headmaster of the children's school arrived!  She shared that Smita is very talented.  She is obedient, smart, enrolled in special art classes due to her artistic ability, and good at singing.  She shared that Ajay is naughty...haha!  Mr. P agreed that he is a naughty boy, but can be controlled.  He said once we establish our authority, Ajay will salute us.  Ha!
Right before we left, one of their teachers arrived!  It was awesome to meet all of these influential people throughout the day!  As we left the orphanage for the last time, we all hugged Mr. P.  He told us that he has children all around the world.  He told us to call him whenever we want for him to help with the kids or to translate/explain anything in Gujarati.  He stood at the gate and watched us leave.
[At the end of our visit, it was requested that we visit with another child in the orphanage and take photos and video of her to try to advocate for her in America.  She is considered to be a special needs nine-year-old child with deformation of feet and hands.  However, she can write and run super fast, has a sharp mind, sweet personality, and beautiful face. She is a great friend of Ajay and Smita.  We took lots of photos/videos with the instructions of giving them directly to our agency (and interested families).  It's heartbreaking to know that we are leaving so many children behind.]

Showing off their Indian Passports...  
Around 10 PM, Jeff was able to book our tickets from Ahmedabad to New Delhi for 9:00 the following morning in order to make our medical appointment at 3 PM the following day.

This is what I ate to unwind from the looooooong day.  Cookies and chocolate!


  1. Thankful to see those passports in their hands! YAY!

  2. Thank you for the wonderful pictures! It's so good to follow your journey. Ben and check this blog a few times a day! We're praying for you and Jeff as you parent these precious kids. IT seems like things went great with Mr. P! And English!?! Super!

  3. Wonderful, thanks for sharing!

  4. oh my...what a beautiful family....I can't get over how pretty you look in the indian clothes...I am indian and could never pull off how fantastic you happy for you guys!.....please keep us posted.....