If there is a cure when trouble comes, what need is there for being sad?
And if no cure is to be found, what use is there in sorrow?"
After lots of research, emails, phone calls and meetings it is determined that because of my age and that I am single, I am still considered too young to move forward with adoption in India. What I have learned is that if you are married, they will make exceptions to the age restrictions but not when you are single. I will be 29 in the fall, and I need to be 30. I am hoping that when I turn 29 that I may be allowed to go further in the process because anyone familiar with adoption knows that it takes a very long time and I would honestly likely be 30 by the time it I am matched with a child. When I received the news about my age, I was pretty upset but I pulled myself together quickly. The answer was not "no never" it was "not yet." Its been my desire for over 2 years, that won't change in the matter of another few months or another year. I am actually pretty proud that in a country where corruption and difficulty in upholding law is a pervasive way of life, that they really strictly honour their commitment to both their in-country adoption laws and the Hague Convention.
The truth is, I will wait forever. How can I not?
I was pretty honest with the adoption authority here that I had my heart tied to a specific little girl, I know 100% I can not request to be matched with her but I can identify specifically the special needs I am able to care for. I would also request an older child and because I speak the local language as well as Hindi, I would also be best with a child from this area. Without going into unneeded details, it seems likely that through the process she and I would be matched legally, a procedure that is put in place to protect orphaned children from essentially being 'purchased' via special requests and extra payments. I have no desire to break or bend any rules (unless it is written in their guidelines that exceptions can be made for example, age exceptions) so I am in the open mindset that 1) She could very well be adopted to another family while I am sitting here ripening into the acceptable age of 30 and 2) I could be matched with a different child. I genuinely believe that what is meant to happen... will. So though I still struggle with anxiety and worry for her development as she gets older in an orphanage, I also just find peace in knowing that right now she is well cared for and that at least from my family, friends and her caretakers, everyone is pulling for us.
I volunteer at the orphanage's free community health clinic every week and am welcome any other day of the week. In this waiting period we just use the time to bond and laugh and play and love. It really isn't too bad. She seems more and more confident as the weeks pass. She talks up a storm and has been initiating play with me which is huge progress. She confidently tells me "Bye Bye!" in English and "I'll see you later" in Assamese accompanied by a big old 'morom' (kiss) when I leave instead of crying and that makes it a whole lot easier. Her crying and tears from the balcony have turned into huge smiles and waves instead.
This past weekend was the best. I came early to reorganise the medicine cabinet in the health clinic. I was by a window when I noticed a clan of monkeys in the trees right outside! I went about my business and heard from behind me "_____ your mommy is here!" I turned around and received a huge hug. The kids were both ecstatic and scared of the monkeys. We ran from window to window, spotting every monkey momma, monkey baby and monkey papa. We talked about what they were doing, what they were eating, where they were going, how many were there. It was so much fun to just be able to absorb all of these moments with them, with her in my arms until my arms were jello. Needless to say, it took me a real long time to organise the medicine cabinet with so many monkeys to spot!
Though I am sure nothing will come of it, I am about to head off to a meeting with the Indian Child Welfare Council about my desire to adopt. They already know me there because I once had to hand over an abandoned child I found in the slum. They excitedly told me today that the little girl is doing wonderfully and being adopted to France!! They said she has grown and developed and that I wouldn't recognise her! I don't know, I just feel like somehow through fate I have connected with a lot of different people that know my heart and intentions and will support me in this long and crazy process. I know in the meeting today that they will not be able to do anything regarding the restrictions on my age, but it is good to reconnect with them. They actually called me and asked me to come so I will happily oblige.
I have been trying to keep my days and mind filled (or at times purposefully empty) because I know there is not much I can do right now in regards to all of this. My job is a little up in the air right now, I am hoping I still have a job with OpSmile after this month. It seems like it will happen, but my role will change. That is the hard truth about working as an independent consultant for a NPO. Things change a lot, and we as consultants don't have much power or protection. I love OpSmile and they seem to appreciate me, so I think the cards will fall in my favour. It is crazy to think of the future right now and what it means for me. I am incredibly home sick at times, I just want to absorb some sunshine with my family but tickets home in the summer are expensive. I don't want to wait again to visit until winter but it may have to be that way. Long term, I have no intentions to leave India until two years after the adoption process is over. I am in a weird residency status. I have to follow India's guidelines because I am a habitual resident here but I am a U.S. citizen. In order for my future daughter to become a citizen of the U.S., she has to reside with me as her guardian for two years in India. After two years, I can take her to the U.S. on an 'immediate-relative' visa and re-adopt her on arrival. I actually hope that living together in India for some time before eventually moving will help with adjustment and increase parental-attachment. It will give her time to learn English and feel some stability in a new home before being brought into a new culture. I have to imagine that moving across the world would be pretty shocking and extremely difficult no matter the background of a child, maybe this will ease some of that shock in the long-run. I may be a little gray haired lady by the time I move back to the U.S!
It has been raining continuously. A huge relief from the smothering heat.
This sweet guy dropped in my room from my fifth floor window!
I believe more and more in the sentience of every living thing. Still trying to figure out how to best honour that in daily life.
A whole lot of indoor and outdoor yoga has been taking place with semi-strange 6am classes at a local studio.
Finally accepting that I will be here a while and making my flat a little more like home.