Only two days until we leave! It’s hard to believe we’ve reached this point after more than 2 years of waiting and hoping. The past several weeks have been filled with final preparations – making appointments in New Dehli, confirming reservations, ordering everything on Amazon from luggage tags to a comb for our son, working on last-minute home projects, reviewing our adoption education notes, packing, and of course – more paperwork. (An aside from Joel: I would like you all to know that my wife is a genius/maestro/wizard with keeping track of all the paperwork. We have one piece of carry-on luggage literally half full of papers we need to bring. Crazy.)
Over the past 7 months since we’ve been matched with Riya’s children, we’ve discovered that the orphanage where they have been cared for is EXCEPTIONAL. In everything from their communication to their documentation to their efforts to help ease the transition for our adopted children, they have gone above and beyond what is typical. In fact, we even had the opportunity to Skype with the children last week in order to meet them prior to traveling! We are SO grateful to the staff and caregivers at this orphanage for their exceptional dedication to the children and adoptive families they are supporting.
Other than the recent Skype call, the highlight of the past week has been the opportunity to celebrate the end of this chapter of our adoption journey with family and friends. Thank you for sharing in this celebration through your emails, cards, blog comments, hugs, gifts, and shared meals. One of the gifts that is particularly special is an elephant quilt (pictured above) that a close friend helped me make. Thank you Wendy!! We really appreciate all the ways everyone has showered us with love, encouragement, and congratulations.
Throughout the past two+ years, we have also had tremendous prayer, financial, and practical support from so many of you! THANK YOU for being there when we needed you. We could not have navigated all that this journey has entailed so far without your help. And undoubtedly, we will continue to need your support as we embark on this next chapter as adoptive parents.
Our children will also continue to need your prayers. India and the US are vastly different countries. Many of the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, languages, cultural practices, and values are distinctively different from the US. Even for adults with many years of experience traveling and living abroad, adapting to these differences can be quite difficult. For Zinnia (age 6), we anticipate that traveling with us in India will be overwhelming at times. Please pray for her to have a capacity for cross-cultural understanding and flexibility beyond what is usual for children her age. (Another aside from Joel: recent things Zinnia has said are “too spicy” include grated parmesan cheese, barbeque sauce, pickles, and ranch-flavored corn nuts. Wish us luck.)
For our adopted children, the transition to joining our family will likely be one of the most difficult things they ever experience. Our adopted daughter will have memories of her birth family and life before she was cared for at the orphanage. Our son will have memories of nothing but his life at the orphanage and his caregivers and friends there. We are going to take these children away from every person they know and trust in their precious little lives, from everything they know and understand, and bring them halfway across the world to a place that is completely foreign to them. A place with snow and macaroni & cheese and toilets you sit on – none of which they are familiar with. Even though we’ve been very mindful about ways we can prepare to support them through this transition, It’s impossible for us to be truly prepared for how our new children will experience this level of change and loss. Please pray for our adopted children to feel understood and to be accepting of the love and care we are anxious to share with them.
We will be posting updates during our travels as often as we have time and WiFi, so stay tuned for news and photos from India next week!!! We have had to refrain from publicly sharing their pictures and names for so long, and we’re excited to be able to finally introduce them to you!