Thursday, February 28, 2013

How It All Went Down...

By time I got to the hotel in Hyderabad Wednesday night the 13th, it was pretty late.  M had left me a message at the front desk telling me that we would be leaving for the orphanage at 10:00!!!!!  WOOOO HOOOOO!!!!!  I was SO excited!  Thankfully, my dr. prescribed me a few "relaxing" pills or else I don't think I would have slept that night!    I woke up the next morning feeling great, ate breakfast, and met M in the lobby.  We discussed what would happen and then headed out to the orphanage.  It felt like I was in a dream; I just couldn't believe this day was finally here!!

We pulled up to the gate and stopped at the main office to sign the final paperwork.  We went inside and A, one of the main women who helped immensely with Munni's adoption, was there.  She is a beautiful woman and has such a heart for the kids.   Back in December when we went to court, she was there and I could tell that Munni loved her.  A. told us that Munni's file was still waiting on one signature but that we could go ahead down to the orphanage, get her, and come back.   I was very excited because I was told to expect to wait for hours before I would actually be able to get Munni.

We drove down the long bumpy road where all the dogs were lying amongst the rubble and dust flying everywhere.  It was such a surreal feeling knowing that this would be the last day Munni would spend in this place she has called home for the last three and a half years.  We got out of the car and walked into the orphanage.  I recognized some of the Ayahs and I think they recognized me because they pointed to my "Munni" necklace, smiled, and rattled off a bunch of Telugu.   I gave the ayahs the lovely saris M had made for me.  A tip to all you adoptive mamas out there:  They don't need scented lotions!!!  A few of the ayahs had mentioned to M previously that they keep getting all this lotion that they have no use for, was there anyway they could get saris?  They technically can't ask for anything but I was so thankful M had mentioned this to me the last trip.  Saris cost between $6-$10 depending on the fabric, so I gave M $100 to buy as many as she could.  I am so glad I did that because the looks on their faces were priceless.  These women spend every day with the children, caring and providing for them what they can, so to be able to show my appreciation in a way that was useful to them was so worth it.   I also gave them all the gifts I had brought for the children.

It was finally time for me to get Munni!!!  This time instead of bringing her to the lobby, they brought me back to her room.  I handed the ipad to M to record our reunion.  I was holding back tears, my heart felt like it was coming out of my chest, and I could hardly breathe!  We turned and walked through the doorway and I was immediately surrounded by a sea of smiling faces and laughter :)  
And then I saw her.  
Standing back away from the crowd in her pretty pink party dress.  We made eye contact and immediately I knew something was off.  I went to her and kneeled down and took her hand and kissed it.  I rubbed her arm and ever so slightly, she pulled it away.  I rubbed her back and again, I don't think anyone would have noticed, but she straightened so that I wouldn't touch her.  Every time I tried to touch her she very discreetly let me know it was not O.K.  In my mind I thought back to the day in December when I had to take her back to the orphanage.  When I went back to her room to say my final goodbye, I could already see it.  Her face had changed.  It was as if the bright, smiling child completely got sucked out of her and was replaced with indignation.  How could I blame her now for not wanting me to be close to her?  I took her to a hotel for 3 days where I loved on her and played with her.  And then I took her back.  It was the first act of betrayal on my part.  I can't even express how frustrating International adoption can be and this by far, is the worst part.  How are you supposed to build a trusting, safe relationship with your child when you have to go through unnecessary procedures such as I did?  The ayahs kept trying to get her to kiss me and I kept telling them it was O.K., please don't make her.  I didn't want her to be uncomfortable and who knows all the thoughts that were racing through her mind.
We stayed in her room for about 15 minutes and then we walked to the lobby.  There was still some business M had to take care of so Munni and I went outside and I took a bunch of pictures of her on the grounds of her orphanage.  I want her to have these pictures so that as she grows and develops her identity,  she has a touchstone to her country.  Things were a little better once we left her room and headed outside.  We walked around and she did hold my hand.  The thing about adopting an older child is that when they do things like that, your heart goes CRAZY with joy but it's such a delicate game of giving just the right reaction to not freak them out or set them off to not want to do it again.  I kissed her hand and she smiled at me.
Finally we were able to go back to the office to get Munni's file.  I signed several documents and it was so fun to date everything for Valentine's Day!!  Munni handed out chocolate to all of the workers in the office.  They loved it!  When we were finished, we stepped out of the office and the local news channel was there.  They asked if they could interview us.  There was going to be a huge conference the next week with C*RA and the agencies discussing the changes and the needed improvements to the entire adoption process in Ind*a.  We agreed and they interviewed me while I held Munni.  I did really great until she asked me if I could believe it was finally all over.  I started crying and told her, "You have no idea!"  Then they zoomed in on my "Munni" necklace and it was over.  I only wish that there was a way we could have gotten a recording of it so Munni could have it later in life.

We got in the car and left.  With a smile on her face, Munni never looked back...

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Forever Valentine!!!!

February 14th, 2013 goes down in my history as the best Valentine's Day ever!!!! Munni and I were reunited and I signed the last papers to take custody of her as my daughter! When we stepped out of the office, the news channel was there. With the upcoming adoption conference in Delhi with CARA, they were doing a special on adoption and the process, they interviewed me about my journey to bringing Munni home. It was so fun to talk about it!!! They have affiliate stations here in the US so if you randomly see me on the news, you'll know why!

Every Valentine's Day for the rest of my life I will celebrate the greatest love of all. I will celebrate how God put a dream in my heart and brought it to fruition. I will celebrate how the love of others was poured upon me to get me through this journey. I will celebrate the joy of adoption through salvation. I will celebrate that I am so blessed, honored, humbled, and ecstatic that God entrusted me with this sweet, beautiful little girl- that Munni is my daughter and I am her mother. I will celebrate the biggest blessing ever bestowed upon me.
Munni Grae - My forever Valentine!!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Going Back to Indy, Indy,

Guess what?  I'M GOING BACK TO INDIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  L.L. Cool J. style!  yep it's official!  I leave very soon and can't WAIT to wrap my around Munni!!

Stay tuned for pics!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Court Order is Released!!!!!

AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  I just found out that the court order has been received by Munni's orphanage!!! WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!  This is a MAJOR step in H*derabad adoptions!!  It should have been scanned to M for approval- that there are no mistakes- and then they will apply for her passport!!!!!!!  I can't even tell you how stinkin' excited I am!!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

This past week I have been going crazy.   I am so, so, so close to bringing Munni home.  I heard on Monday that the court order had been released and signed, and was being sent to the orphanage.  Today is Friday and it still isn't at the orphanage.  It's about 20 minutes between the two places.  I've decided that their mail system/courier system/whatever system should hook up with Viber.  Seriously, have you ever texted with Viber?  It's like texting at warp speed!  Anyway, all week I was feeling very anxious and with each passing morning that didn't bring news, I was losing sight of the Lord and slipping into bitterness.  Then my good friend Mer reminded me to read page 96 out the Shattering Your Strongholds book that we have been discussing.  It was the perfect medicine I needed.  I bound myself to his mind, his timing, and his power.  It is really quite liberating.  But at the same time, I feel like I've stumbled upon a lie.

I know people mean well when they say, "God's Timing is Perfect!"  "You will be reunited with Munni at God's Perfect Timing!"  "This is all part of God's Perfect Plan for you two!"  But I disagree.  You see, I don't think for one second that is was God's Perfect Plan for Munni to grow up without her biological parents.  I don't think it was God's Perfect Plan for whoever did those things to her that left scars to tell the story.  I don't think it was God's Perfect Plan that someone felt they needed to abandon her.  I don't think it's God's Perfect Timing that she has been in the orphanage for 3.5 years.  I don't think it's God's Perfect Timing that it took me two years to be open to adopting an older child while she sat in the orphanage waiting for someone to want her.  I don't think it's God's Perfect Timing that I was strung along for six months with the first agency trying to adopt her only to be told "no."  I don't think it's God's Perfect Timing that it's taken 7 weeks so far to process a piece of paper.

You know what else I don't think is God's Perfect Timing?  I don't think it was God's Perfect Timing that Nepal closed adoptions when it did.  I don't think it was God's Perfect Timing that I started my Congo adoption in September of 2010 and finally made it to the number #1 spot in May of 2012 only to find copious amounts of unethical actions from my agency.  I don't think it's God's Perfect Timing that the US Department of State just visited Kinshasa and is now (rightfully) enforcing investigations that will prolong the waiting from I-600 to visa for 3-6 months.  I don't think it is God's Perfect Timing that those children suffer and wait one minute longer to be with their forever family, receiving love, nutrition, and medical care that is needed.  I don't think it's God's Perfect Timing that I had to return Munni to the orphanage, look her in the eye as I left, so that she could wait two more months for me to come back for her.  

Everyone kept talking about God's Perfect Timing but I couldn't drink this Kool-Aid.   I couldn't swallow it because I couldn't recall a specific verse where it states, "God's Timing is Perfect."  It was B-U-G-G-I-N-G me so I got out my concordance (did I just date myself?)  Then I went to Google.  And so far, I haven't found "that" verse.  But you know what I did find?  I was reminded that we live in a fallen world, full of selfish, egotistical, corrupt, evil, self-serving, lazy, incompetent human beings with FREE WILL.  Free will to not sign a paper in a timely fashion.  Free will to force children to lie about their ages.  Free will to charge for services that shouldn't require a fee.  Free will to falsify documents.  Free will to coerce parents to relinquish their children.  Free will to rape women.  Free will to torture children.  Free will to lie, cheat, and steal.  Free will to believe wrong things.  Free will to make wrong choices.  Free will to not do the right thing.  With all this Free Will bouncing around, we  are subjected to the consequences of it.  We wait because of choices other people, including ourselves, have made.

 And that's where the beauty of the Lord is revealed.  He knows we are screwed up and living in a screwed up place.  So during those times, he offers us a respite.  He promises us that:

He will renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31)
Though it linger, it will certainly come (Habakkuk 2:3)
He will give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)
He works all things together for good (Romans 8:28)
He will make our righteousness shine like the new day sun (Psalm 37)
His power will be made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)
That in due season, we will prosper (Galatians 6:9)
What is impossible to us is possible with Him (Luke 18:27)
Nothing is too hard for Him (Genesis 18:14)
He will be exalted (Psalm 46:10)
He is good to us (Lamentations 3:25)
Evil doers will be cut off (Psalm 37:9)
Suffering will produce endurance, which produces character, which produces hope (Romans 5:3-4)
He will leave us with peace that transcends ALL understanding (John 14:27 and Philippians 4:7)
He is able to do immeasurable more than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)

In this last stretch of waiting to bring Munni home, this is the Kool-Aid I choose to drink.  This is the truth.  This is what sustains me and reinforces to me that God IS a loving God; one who is working in a fallen world, with messed up people, and is able to bring beauty from ashes.