Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Indian Princess

Since today is my Indian Princess's birthday, I have decided to write a post about her. Last month was another daughter's b'day and I will write about her tomorrow.
From the time I was a little girl, I had always wanted to adopt. I remember thinking and dreaming and wondering about my future family. I wanted to have birth children and also adopted children for as long as I remember. When my oldest, Tx Mommy, was about 5 years old we started our quest for adoption. LDS social services would not accept us because we already had 2 children at the time. Korea would not accept us for the same reason. The county took our application, but it took them 4 years to do our home study and by then they said that our family passed and was great, but by then we had "too many children". I contacted many agencies by phone and by mail trying to find just the right one, one that we wanted to work with, that wanted to work with us, that we could afford, etc. etc. Meanwhile, I was having other birth children and while they were babies, I put our adoption search on hold. I subscribed to an adoption magazine OURS and read lots of adoption stories. In one of those stories, I saw a beautiful little Indian baby and I cut out her picture and kept it with my things, never dreaming that we would adopt from India. I kept trying every avenue that I could think of to get the adoption going. A couple of times we had an adoption scheduled from Mexico, but just as we would be ready to take off to get the baby (one time a little girl, another time twins, we got a phone call saying that the birth mother had changed her mind. I was determined not to stop my search. I tried different countries and different agencies, but things just didn't work out. I knew in my heart that I was meant to adopt and I was going to pursue it until it was a reality.
Then one day many years later, I was at a violin concert for one of my sons. There I met a family who had just adopted a darling little girl from Korea. The Mom had to finish her teaching contract at the local college and so I began taking care of little Arianwyn. In my conversations with the Mom, I found out about a new agency, Bal Jagat, which worked with children in India and the International Mission of Hope. I immediately talked it over with DH and we said why not work with India. We had not ever heard that India was even open for adoption. The very next day I called the agency. I spoke with the head of the agency, Hemlata Momaya, and she said that she could help our family get a baby. We were just thrilled and proceeded to get the process going. While we were going through the home study, paperwork, immigration and all that is involved with adoption, we went through lots of delays due to incompetant workers, slow workers, lost files and every imaginable delay and set back you could ever imagine. I remember that each time I went to immigration in L.A., I had to have an appointment, but I would also have to call the office and remind them that I was coming otherwise the appt. would fall through. This was an 1 1/2 hr drive to L.A. and then back of course. One day I got to the appointment and the worker told me that I needed a copy of our marriage license. I told her that I had given it to her last time. "Oh no." she said, "If you had given it to me, I would have stamped it right here." I told her that she had stamped it on the back. "NO, we never stamp it on the back." Trying to be so nice, so as not to irritate her, I asked her to please just take a look on the back to be sure it wasn't there. She did and guess what? Yes, it was stamped on the back. "Well, someone sure didn't follow the rules." she added. I didn 't dare tell her that she was the very one that always helped me. That is just a small example of the incompetency and things we had to go through.
Finally, everything was done and we waited and waited for our baby. We were assigned a baby whom we named Sarika Kristi. How happy we were. Sadly, just before her flight home to us, she died of respiratory failure. I will write more of her story later.
We were so sad and Hemlata and the agency were so sad too and felt badly that this had happened. They decided that they would assign another baby to us. This time they would assign us a "fat baby" so that she would be sure to thrive and do well.
On March 5th 1986 our little "fat baby was born". She was 4lbs 11ozs. She was born in Calcutta India in a baby nursing home. At this time India had put into effect a new program called The Cradle Program designed to save babies from being thrown away. The program stated that if a birth mom would leave her baby in one of the cradles put outside of these nursing homes, the baby would be taken care of and given a home to a family that would love it. Or, the Mom could actually give birth in the home. No questions would ever be asked. How grateful I am that our little baby had a birth Mom that loved her so much that she wanted her to have a good life. How grateful I am that Heavenly Father blessed us with this beautiful, little baby girl.
On July 20th 1986 our little bundle came home. A was 41/2 months old and weighed only 10lbs 2ozs. I will always remember how excited we were to go to the airport to get her. We waited and waited and waited. Finally, the plane arrived and everyone got off and no baby. What happened? After a little wait, we saw all of the stewardesses rushing off the plane and coming straight to us. "She's coming, she's coming." they said. "Her escort wanted to change her clothes and make her all pretty to meet her parents." Sure enough, off the plane comes a nice young, Irish steward, her domestic escort. He had little A tucked into his arm with her little face looking out. When he came to us he said, "A, I want to introduce you to your parents." She was the most beautiful, little baby with big black eyes and lots of curly, dark hair. I took her in my arms and felt instant love for this little bundle of joy. All of the stewardesses and her escort wanted pictures of her. She was the first baby for this steward to travel with. My heart was full and so grateful for this little girl. We, DH and I were thrilled to have her in our lives and in our hearts. As we were walking though LAX, I was holding her, but her little head was turned toward DH. She did not take her eyes off him as we walked through that huge terminal. It was as if she was thinking, "Oh, so you're my Daddy."
Little A was the nicest, sweetest, happiest little baby. She always had a smile on her face. When she was a little bit older and was learning how to talk, she would wake up, stand up in her little port-a-crib (in our room) and with a smile she would say,"Good morning Mama." When we walked the older kids to school, she would greet everyone from her stroller. As she grew older, she remained a sweet, thoughtful girl. She is so to this day. A is a girl who is always concerned about others and their welfare. She wants to be sure everyone is happy and comfortable and that noone feels left out. She is pleasant and happy and always kind. She is a beautiful girl and I am ever so grateful that she is my daughter. I always love being with her and spending time together. My lovely daughter A has finished High School and has also graduated from Paul Mitchell Beauty School. She is a great daughter, a great sister, a wonderful aunt, and a good friend. She thinks that her sister's babies are her own. She loves her other sister's and her brother's children. She loves her brand new niece and wants to cover her with kisses. This past June of 2008, she married her sweetheart from Brazil. I think she is being a good wife to him and he is being so good to her too. They are having a great time together.
One of my favorite poems describes my feelings towards her and also her sister E.
Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute
That you didn't grow under my heart, but in it.


allison nadauld said...

What a moving poem and touching story. We are all so lucky to know and love Andrea. Happy Birthday Indian Princess!

marcia@joyismygoal said...

she is beautiful inside and out

One For All said...

I have never heard that story before! She is an amazing girl and it was so fun to see her and the rest of the famiy last weekend. A was so good with my boys and they just loved her. She fed them M&M's and cookies for lunch which they just loved. We miss you! It was so nice to hear your voice and to see you guys even though you couldn't see us. Love you, chamrela

Yvonne said...

Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story. You and your hubby are such wonderful people. I don't know many people who would have gone through so much to try to adopt and persevere.

She sounds like a wonderful young woman.

Happy Birthday to her.

The Wendler Family said...

I loved reading this post! I loved to hear adoption stories and A and E's stories are no exception. Like we've already discussed, I think we are very much alike in the fact that we've wanted to adopt since we were just little girls. Hopefully I get to adopt and have biological children, just like you. :) Happy Birthday A!

Veylupeks said...

Gosh I love you and your family. I loved reading this story. I remember a lot of it. I thought she was the most beautiful baby ever. I hope you are enjoying your mission. Love Alisa

Shuldberg's in Texas said...

That was beautiful!

hleva said...

I was crying as I read your adoption stories. Now I know and love you even more.

Much love,