Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sorry we haven’t been able to update as much as we would of liked, but things have been hectic and Addhu loves to keep us busy! Also add in the fact that the internet has been hit or miss depending on what we wanted to do, we got behind on keeping everyone up to date.

Last week in Nagpur was a quick week for us! Having little Addhu running around playing with everything he can put his hands on kept us chasing after him. I was able to bond more with Addhu in this time, he liked it when I carried him around the room, tickled him, and played various games with toy cars, blocks and play dough. 
One of his favorite games was having me carry him from the door, where he recited what he could of the alphabet while pointing at the emergency exit sign. Then we would go to the mirror where we would look at each other and I would say “Addhu, Daddy, Mommy” and point to us. Then from there we would go to the big picture window and stare outside and look down at the pool and all the “pani” or water. Other games would be turning the lights off and on, laying down and pretending to sleep, turning the TV on and off, and turning the bathroom lights on and off. 
Of course he liked to misbehave and try to push the boundaries with us, which was to be expected. He yearns for attention, which I am sure he seldom got in the orphanage. Being the oldest child there surrounded by babies, the caregivers couldn’t give him the one-on-one interaction he needed for daily thriving. To be naughty was a way for him to get them to interact. They also treated him like he was older, not letting him be a child since that would mean more attention. He had to be independent. Now, Addhu has to learn that he can be a child, that he can be dependent on us. He asks to be carried by me a lot, asks me to pick him up to put him in a chair, even has started letting Paula feed him from time to time. Small accomplishments in the short time periods together!
Of course, being together 24/7 has made all of us bilingual to communicate with each other. He has picked up on a lot of English so far, able to repeat words willingly. I showed him a sesame street video of Lena Horn singing the alphabet, he watches that repeatedly. Then we switch over to Patti Labelle singing the alphabet and he likes that too. Here are some of his words we have quickly learned:

Panni: water
Su-su: potty
Nye: no (we use this a lot with him ;) )
Ho: yes (with a rock of the head)
cha-pots: sandals/shoes
Mamma:  Uncle (Marathi word, kinda like sir, always calls adult men Mam-ma)


Of course all week in Nagpur was good with all the help we had gotten from Sanjeev and all the other staff at the Raddison Blu! What a bunch of great people that were tolerable to us during our week there! From Salim in the restaurant who helped Addhu every morning get breakfast, Nikhil who brought us room service in the evening. They all spoke Marathi and helped talk to Addhu and kept him relaxed during our stay.
Sanjeev, tho, did not speak Marathi so even he had some difficulties getting things translated for us and for Addhu. Through the week, Addhu really bounded with Sanjeev, holding his hand and constantly calling for him when out in and about. Always calls Sanjeev Mamma. Did not like it either at night when Sanjeev would leave to go back to his room. He is a godsend, for sure, helping us with the first week like he did.
During the week we were visited by Mr. Solekar and his son, Jayeesh. Mr. Solekar is one the main people from the Orphanage, the director. He liked the way Addhu was bounding with us, enjoyed talking to us and Addhu about his new “family.” Jayeesh is a young man, about 21, who loves everything American so he really liked talking with us. Addhu always referred to Mr. Solekar as “sir” and once Paula took a picture of all of us, Addhu would constantly look at the picture and say “hello, sir! Good bye, sir!) we also set up with Jayeesh for him to take us on a day trip to see some sight seeing.If we had time, he said there were some safaris outside of Nagpur that we could of done, to see tigers up close, too! Next time! 
So Thursday, Jayeesh and his cousin Nikhil took us outside of the city to a Hindi temple, called Ramtek up on a large hill. It was about an hour drive to get there and well worth it! Up the hill the view was breath taking. The temple was built over 500 years ago and sat overlooking a small lake and several towns. Once we pulled in and parked, we made our way up to the temple. There were vendors along the main thoroughfare up to the temple. Along the way we started to see many monkeys, monkeys that live in the temple! Of course we were warned not to go too close to the monkeys and don’t stare at the monkeys, they will get aggressive and attack. They will also take bags, cameras, etc if too close.
It was really cool to see something that old and very holy to our friends. Before going into the main temple, Jayesh, Nikhil, Sanjeev and even Addhu got blessed by hime and a red mark on his forehead. Then we removed our shoes and headed through the main gate into the temple complex. Monkeys were everywhere on the gate and you had to watch where you stepped, didn’t want to walk in monkey poop. 
We headed into a couple of shrines where they approached the front, bowed and rung a bell. Addhu followed suit behind Jayeesh, bowing and ringing the bell. After the shrines we went out and walked up a tower to have a view around the whole temple and surrounding landscapes. Since we were so far up, it was really windy! After that we made back down and out of the main temple, collecting our shoes and heading back to the car. 
On the way back to Nagpur, we stopped at a small lakeside hangout with a small playground for children, a restaurant and spot to rent boats (which was closed). We hung out for a bit to look at the lake and then had some tea before getting back into the car and heading back to Nagpur.
Later Thursday evening, Mr. Solekar and Nilima (the social worker from the orphanage) came back to see us and give us Addhu’s medical file for us. Addhu was happy and very excited to see Nilima and couldn’t wait to tell her and show her all the things we got for him so far. Nilima asked Addhu if he wanted to go back with them to the orphanage. Addhu shook his head and said ni ni ni! I guess Paula and I made a very good impression with Addhu and we take that as a good sign!
Friday we left the hotel to go to the airport with Sanjeev. Addhu did fine at the airport though he was getting restless as we waited to make our way into the main part of the airport. A couple trips to the bathroom for him broke up the time and before we knew it we were making our way to the airplane to take our seats. For the flight, Addhu was good, albeit for a 5 year old whom never flown before. The entertainment with the tray table and the inflight magazine helped keep him occupied as we flew to Delhi. Mommy was nice and bought Addhu some cookies which he liked. We landed in Delhi right on time and made our way to get our baggage and wait for our ride to the hotel. 
Mini arrived and got us to our van and we got to the Ashok before we knew it. After getting our luggage out and us checked in, it was a grand moment when Addhu realized that Sanjeev wouldn’t be staying at the hotel, that he would be going home. He was confused at first but eventually was fine, no big tantrum or fight occurred so we said our goodbyes and headed up to our room for a quiet evening. We ordered some room service for dinner and relaxed. Before we knew it was time for bed and Addhu climbed in with us, taking his spot in the middle. Not bad for such a long day!

On Saturday, we headed down for breakfast at the coffee shop for our buffet. Addhu didn’t know what to make out of the food, it was different from what he was used to at the Raddison Blu and nobody here at the Ashok spoke Marathi. We found a few things for Addhu to eat and he settled in on some spaghetti. Must be an Indian thing, spaghetti for breakfast. He ate it so it was good. 
Then later that morning we waited in the lobby for Sanjeev to come and get us to take us for Addhu’s medical examination for his visa. After a harrowing journey to the medical center through a downpour of monsoon season rain, we finally made it and ran into the place to avoid getting soaked. Once inside it was a confusing maze of corridors and stairwells to go where we needed to go, to register in one spot and then head over to another to sign in with the nurses, etc. If it wasn’t for Sanjeev we would of been walking in circles! The nurses then checked his weight and height before we had to wait.
Once it was Addhu’s turn to see the doctor they ushered us into a small examination room and she came in shortly. The doctor was very nice and spoke good english, which was nice. We gave her Addhu’s medical file and she reviewed it and then gave him his exam which he did not like at all! He was very scared and cried when she tried to listen to his heart beat and look at his back. She didn’t torture him too long, she did what she had to do fast and let him be to collect himself. 
After that, Addhu had to get tested for TB and was no fan of that prick 
on his arm! We have to go back on Monday to get the spot on his arm checked for the results. 
Once we were done with the doctor, we decided to do some shopping. It was pouring down rain so Sanjeev said that going to the Dilly Hut (an outside market) would be better on another day. So, he took us to an indoor shopping center. It was really cool inside! It reminded us of a giant World Market. About four floors of various departments from tea, to linens, clothing, children’s toys, and furniture. They also had several sections for various tchotchkes: sandal wood carvings, silver, brass, and even gold plated items of various Hindu gods, animals and etc. Our heads were spinning as we walked around. One of the nice things was you got rung up for your items per department but did not pay for them yet, they took the items to a pickup location at the front of the store. You just bring all the “receipts” to the cashier, he would ring up all the totals, then you head to the pickup with your main receipt. Not too bad. We bought some various  tea, a few nicknacks for Addhu, some linen, and “few” bangels for Cecelia. I also bought myself a nice “Indian” design tie for the holidays. 
When we were done, we dodged the rain drops and got into our car and headed for lunch at a large food court. It was pretty good, we ate at the Tikki World. By that time, Addhu was getting unruly and over stimulated with all the people and noises. We quickly finished and headed back to the hotel for a decent evening to end our day.
Now if you have been following us the last few days on Facebook, you would know we have been getting some lousy service and just unsatisfied with the Ashok Hotel. Long story short, its an over-gaudy, over priced, outdated hotel suited to businessmen who can charge it to their company. Their wi-fi stunk (you had to keep changing passwords every morning) their rooms were ill maintained, and they kept to a strict “no dinner” before 7:30pm rule, which did not help with a hungry child!! So, Paula dumped them and got us re-booked at the ITC Maurya. 
So on Monday, we packed up, checked out at the Ashok, then went to get Addhu’s TB test results (no TB) then we got checked in at the ITC. I must say, I am very impressed! Very nice, great staff, and all very friendly! Not only did we get a chocolate cake as thank you for booking, the staff went out of their way to find anyone they new that spoke Marathi to help us, if needed, with Addhu! We got free cocktails, a glass of wine, a glass of beer and a bag of chips for Addhu. We also get four free articles of clothing washed daily, and since we are staying in one of the ‘towers’ we also have a butler at our service 24/7. Their chefs will also prepare any meal you request, too, at any time. No more hungry child! To add to the bonus, there is also a bathtub in the bathroom, so Paula gave Addhu is first bath! He really enjoyed it and did fantastic! 

So, now its almost 9pm and just about time for bed. Tomorrow we head to the US embassy to file for Addhu’s visa. Another step closer. Namaste!
Monday, July 6th was a monumental day for us all. We were finally going to see and get full custody of our son! We've only been able to see him thru pictures, only to watch him grow from pictures and a few videos we received. After two years of only seeing photos, we were finally going to see him in person!
      We were picked up by Sanjeev and off we went to meet our son. Of course, the orphanage was not easily found and our driver had to ask for directions three times, make a U turn, before finally finding the place! I wouldn't even know that it was an orphanage, right on the main street...there were shops on the bottom floor the orphanage was on the second.
      Sanjeev led us to the side door and up the stairs....we had no idea what was waiting for us. We came to a gate and inside we knew where we were. It took only a few moments before we heard Adhyay's voice. He came out from the side room all smiles, finally realizing that his parents finally came for him!
      At that point we met Nilima, the social worker, and Mr. Selokar, the director. They told us that Adhyay couldn't wait to see us, that he didn't sleep the night before! It was at this time that we learned that they called Adhyay, Addhu. We showed him his backpack that brought just for him that had a new photo album with his family, a stuff teddy bear, a new hat, sunglasses and a change of clothes (if needed). He put on his new hat and ran off to show his friends and the caregivers.
      It was a whirlwind of emotions and time flew by. We walked thru the small area that made up main room where all the babies slept; the small kitchenette, the loo, the baby changing area. There was also the "lobby" where we first walked in and two small offices. That was it. That was Addhu's world for the last 5 years with only the last year of him leaving to go to school. I couldn't imagine living like that, let alone growing up in that environment!
    When it was time for us to leave together, though, reality sunk in on Addhu. He didn't want to leave. Didn't want to leave the only world he knew, the friends he had, and the people he only knew that were his 'family." The tears started and Nilima had to comfort him, tell him he would be happy and will have lots new friends and family to meet! They gave him some milk to help calm him, but when saw either Paula or I, he would shake his head and start to cry saying he didn't want to go. Poor Addhu!
       Nilima had the idea at that point to have us go down to the car and wait and her and Mr. Selokar would bring him down. It worked until he realized that we were in the car. He fought Nilima, fought Sanjeev who took him in the back seat. They all said good by to their Addhu, they all waved and wished him well. Mean while, in the back seat next to Paula, he screamed and cried to return to his "home."
      With the driver's help, Sanjeev went out and got Addhu some ice cream in hopes that would settle him down. It did, he stopped crying but he didn't eat his ice cream neither. He found some hard candy from his bag from the orphanage that he went with. Sanjeev then started to talk to Addhu, have him resight the alphabet with a notebook Addhu had from school. Everything seemed fine until Addhu threw up!  All over himself and down Sanjeev's legs! Wow....the smell was awful, too! Luckily we had that extra pair of clothes in our bag for him! On the side of the road, we cleaned him up and changed him, got Sanjeev cleaned up the best we could. The driver was only too happy to drop us off at the hotel!!!
      Up in our room, Addhu was quiet and subdued, didn't know what to make of the hotel room or the people that were with him. Finally I broke the ice and started to push little toy trucks at him. With reluctance, Addhu pushed them back at me. Then Sanjeev joined in and I think Addhu finally relaxed and started to enjoy himself! He was still quiet and very guarded, but he was also very tired! Sanjeev picked him up and put him in the bed and Addhu was out like a light!
     And that, my friends, was our first Gotcha Day with Addhu!





Saturday, July 4, 2015

How we spent our Fourth of July 2015

Happy 4th of July! Celebrating our American holiday halfway across the world in India today! What better way to do that than going to the Taj Mahal! 
     After having another fantastic breakfast buffet, Paula and I were all geared up to go on our trip. Sanjeev met us in the lobby and took us to our driver and off we went, making our way south out of New Delhi. The drive really wasn't that bad once we made it out of the city and got onto their version of the turnpike. At least driving then seemed to be more normal, tho we were still weaving in and out of slow moving traffic on the highway. It took us a little over two hours before we pulled off the turnpike and headed into the city of Taj. Now the fun of inner city driving began! 
      Holy Sh@#$&*!!!! That's all I can say about it. We thought the winter driving in Kazakhstan was bad! Motorcycles, scooters, cars, trucks, tuk-tuks, horse drawn carts, oxen pulled carts, cows, goats, and what else you can imagine all share the same roads! The traffic lines mean very little, horns are constantly being used, they rarely if never use turn signals...if you fit you go, doesn't matter who you are...people walk thru the streets at their own risks! Paula was nervous and kept saying "oh my God" over and over as we veered our way thru the busy streets. A couple of traffic jams occurred when the cows decided to meander their way thru the roads, stopping traffic on both sides. You also got carts being pulled by oxen and horses over filled with crap; you also had multiple people on motorcycles zipping their way thru, even families of 4 were all on the motorcycles, the kids holding on or the mom cradling the babes as the dads drove thru. Yikes! A huge eye opener for us!!! But we did make it to where we needed to be and found our tour guide ready to take us to the Taj Mahal!
     His name is Gupta and is a very friendly man. He took us up to the Taj via a shuttle since no automobiles were allowed near the sacred grounds. It was very crowded and teaming with all kinds of people; they had great security, all bags had to be scanned and we had to go thru metal detectors and get padded down before entering.
     To be finally at one of the 7 wonders of the world is amazing! Its like nothing you can imagine! The sheer size and beauty of the whole complex was awe inspiring! From what Gupta told us, the whole building was made out of highest grade, pure white marble with precious stones inserted for coloring of the flowers. Everything was laid out just right, each of the four towers at the corners are at a slight angle outward, not a true 90 degree angle, to prevent the towers from falling onto the Taj Mahal itself if ever an earthquake or whatnot. Of course Gupta knew his way around and knew just about every worker that was there, he was also an excellent photographer and new all the "photo spots" around the Taj. With Paula's iPhone, he was able to get some really neat shots for us.
     Though it was really hot, the day was overcast so it didn't feel quite so bad. There were some great breezes coming in at certain places around the Taj. We made our way back down towards our shuttle and then to the car. It was cool seeing all the camels pulling wagons of people around! From there, Gupta took us to a jewelry store where Paula bought a nice pendant; then he took us to a place that made handmade rugs. At that time, Paula wasn't feeling so well, the heat took its toll and we decided to head back to New Delhi (it was more of a tourist trap than anything else after the Taj).  
     We headed back to our city, dodging again the horrible traffic in Taj and making our way back to the turnpike to take us back to Delhi. Tomorrow, we head back to the airport to fly to Nagpur so that on Monday we can see Addie and start the process to take him home with us!

Had to take a selfie in the hotel before setting off.


The first photo courtesy of Gupta.


Our first breath-taking view.




Gupta insisted on taking this shot.




This one was taken from inside, looking out through a carved piece of marble.



Every angle is amazing!





Friday, July 3, 2015

Made it to New Delhi!

We have arrived! After three airplanes, two layovers, and over 30 hours of traveling, Paula and I arrived in New Delhi, India! The flights were good and the layover in Amsterdam was different since the airport there was under going various renovations and had changed since the last time we were thru there six years ago.
      In Delhi, we met our in country coordinator Mini and his assistant Sanjeev. It was Sanjeev who got us from the airport at 2 in the morning and got us to our hotel, the Ashok. And the drive from the airport to the hotel was a great introduction to Indian traffic/driving!!! Constantly honking ones horn and the traffic/lane lines are just suggestions! Wow...weaving around trucks and other cars, motorcycles and the such, it was adventure in of itself! It was a very long day of traveling so finally being in a room with a soft bed made it a quick decision and we were asleep before we knew it.
      The next day we went down to breakfast...it was a buffet and very good! Aside from our "normal" food, like eggs, muffins, danishes and potatoes, there were also the Indian style food as well. All was very good and having fresh mango juice topped it off. 
    After breakfast went back to our room and settled in, going back to sleep to help get use to the time change. We are now 9 and a half hours ahead and we were really jet lagged. It was at this time that the power went out, which is normal here I take it. It was back on in ten minutes but the a/c in our room was shot. Ugh. We slept the afternoon away anyway and then gotten woken up by Sanjeev calling us, we were suppose to meet him in the lobby at 5...oops.
     Once we got to the lobby, we were introduced to Mini and we then booked our trip to the Taj Mahal with the hotel travel agent. Mini then handled our room A/C problem, getting us switched to another room down the hall. After all that, he helped us exchange some money in the hotel bank and took us for coffee in the Coffee House in the hotel (where the breakfast buffet is at). There we sat and enjoyed cappuccinos and pastries as talked, Mini giving us pointers and us talking about ourselves. After that, we went back and got ourselves situated in our new room, which is very cool (a/c wise). Tomorrow, we go to breakfast by 7 then off to the Taj Mahal at 7:30am before 'rush hour' starts up. 
Hopefully we will be able to post more tomorrow of our journey! Namaste! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Moe's Southwest Grill "Dine to Donate" a Success!!!

A friend of mine suggested this past weekend, that we look into doing a "dine to donate" at our local Moe's Southwest Grill. And so Monday morning I called our local restaurant and set up an event to occur a mere 72 hours later. We were given a three hour window, and anyone who came in and said they were there to support our adoption, we would be given 20% of their bill.

We were overwhelmed to see the huge turnout. The manager warned me that we may only get $50 or so towards our fund. Well my friends, we more than tripled that amount. Moe's Southwest Grill of Mentor, Ohio will be donating $155.64 to our FSP.

BLOWN.AWAY!!!!

Thanks to all who came out!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Our countdown is in the single digits!



NINE SLEEPS. That's all that stands between us and an airplane headed for India.

So many loose ends need to be tied up before we leave. So many loads of laundry to be washed. So many things to try and not forget to pack. So many arrangements need to be made to make sure Cecelia is taken care of while we are gone.

It's enough to exhaust anyone. But me, I lay awake at night. Trying to tell myself all the things I still need to do. All the things I want to ask the orphanage about him when we pick him up. All the little moments I want to soak in.

We are still a little over $4,000 short on travel funds as well. Any and all donations to our FSP are 100% tax deductible and greatly appreciated!!

http://reecesrainbow.org/79495/sponsorobrien

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Leaving on a jet plane....... Don't know when we'll be back again!

Yes, seriously. We are getting on a plane July 1st!! And yes, we don't know when we'll be back again. We are taking yet another huge leap of faith - the judge signed the written court order earlier this week. Once the orphanage gets their copy, they will use it to file for his passport. It could take days, or weeks to be issued. We plan to take custody of him on July 6th. If his passport is not ready by then, we cannot leave his city until it is. Scary? Yes. But we cannot allow him to sleep on the concrete floor with his untreated scoliosis any longer!!!

Please join us in prayer that his passport is issued in a timely manner. Please also pray for our finances. Of course this all had to come together during peak summer travel airfare prices. Our roundtrip flights from Cleveland to Delhi are more than double what we had budgeted!!!!

Thirteen sleeps and we are getting on a plane!!!!!