This is the very first photo taken of our whole family – and it turned out pretty good! I would FINALLY like to introduce you to all three of our adorable children: Shivani Ruth Swanson, age 7, Zinnia Judith Swanson, age 6, and Aashish Joel Swanson, age 4. “Shivani” is pronounced “shih VAH nee” and “Aashish” is pronounced “AH shish”. If you are not completely melting right now you officially have a heart of stone.
This whole day was a whirlwind, but we’re very pleased that the only tears today were from mom and dad. We’re all pretty exhausted, and more photos and stories will come, but we wanted to at the very least send a family picture that we’ve been waiting over two years to be able to share. Several quick stories:
First, it took Aashish all of about 30 minutes after us being at our “home away from home” here in Pune to hurt himself (he pulled a set of wind chimes down on his head).
Second, when we got home Shivani immediately saw the new shoes lined up by the door that Amy had brought for her. She bypassed the Keens and tennis shoes quickly, and right away put on her denim sandals with the sparkly rhinestones, and she also wanted to wear her new headband with the flower on it to bed. (For those of you who may not know Zinnia that well, one of her favorite words is “accessories” so she and Shivani already have something in common)!
Third, Aashish found every single button in our Airbnb apartment within about 15 minutes, including buttons that we didn’t even know existed. If y’all ever need help locating a difficult to find electronic switch or button, our son is the man for the job.
Fourth, Zinnia was super brave today. She sat and tried the Indian food at lunch with the rest of the kids, and in the afternoon spent two hours playing with Shivani and Aashish on another floor of the children’s home while Amy and I reviewed documents and conversed with the Deputy Director.
Fifth, it took me all of about 2 hours before I called one of my kids by the wrong name. I guess I’d better give my grandparents some slack for going through their Rolodex before finally figuring out which grandkid I was.
And sixth, Amy and I somehow managed to feed, bucket bathe, and get three children ages 7 and under in jammies and in bed by 8 pm tonight in a home where your kiddos can only brush their teeth on the 2nd floor with the water you’ve trekked up two flights of stairs from a peeing Buddha filtration system from the ground floor kitchen, so we’re feeling like we deserve some kind of parenting award, or at the minimum a cold beer.
One other important thing that we want to correct is our previous language about where Shivani and Aashish have been cared for the past couple of years. Their caregivers have always referred to the orphanage as the children’s “home in India” and we feel that this is a much more accurate description. The staff and children relate to one another as though they are a large, extended family and it is a place filled with care, love, and belonging. So, going forward we will always refer to the place we met Shivani and Aashish today as their “home in India.”
Here’s the best picture we took of the kids today:
Yup, we’re in love.