"Untold numbers of professing Christians waste their lives trying to escape the cost of love. They do not see that it is always worth it."--- John Piper

Our Beautiful Joseph!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

India- Part III (Gotcha Day!)

Okay, so I am so slowly unfolding this... sorry! It is finally time to share GOTCHA DAY! Ms. Roy told us to call her at 10:00 am (yes, this makes the third time we have called her- per her requests) to figure out a time when she would bring him to the hotel. I was still praying that she would change her mind and let us come to the orphanage. She did not and said that she was going to bring him to our hotel "around" 12:30 or 1:00. You have to understand India to know that made me nervous. Time seems to be worn loosely there... it is really more of a time vortex, but I was hoping for promptness. That already felt like too long to wait to me:)

When we came back from breakfast, the housekeeper had set up the room SOO sweetly. She folded Joseph's little blanket, decorated with toys, and put some music on! I couldn't believe that he was on his way FINALLY!!

Here we are on GOTCHA DAY.. milling around after breakfast.

We thought we would go ahead and try to get massages while we waited, so we went to the spa. Well, they didn't have any openings that morning, but we got to meet the gal in the spa (Ms. Roy-- isn't that funny?) She immediately asked us if we were Christians and then told us her story... very cool. She had an extra area in her home where she would house volunteers from Mother Theresa's Home for the Destitute and Dying. One day, she even had Mother Theresa stay with her. She wanted to make her a special meal so she asked Mother T. what she liked best. Mother T. responded that she loved "mutton", but would not allow her to make it for her unless she could make it for everyone volunteering that day. This woman proceeded to buy and make mutton for LOTs of people because she so wanted to prepare a meal for Mother Theresa. She said she had to hire a caterer and it was quite expensive, but was such a blessing to her. She wanted to meet Joseph when he arrived and hugged us and prayed a blessing on us. It was precious... no massage, but that was why we went there, I think!!

Needless to say, we went downstairs at 12:15 and fixed our eyes on the door.

Here is a picture of the lobby of the hotel.

At 12:45, here was the sight!!! (sorry it is sideways... does anyone know how to rotate this?)

We were completely thrilled to see our angel for the first time. We also have some great video of me crying like a baby, but I don't know how to get it from camera to blog! Sorry!

Ms. Roy wanted to go straight up to our room, so we went up to our room with ME HOLDING JOSEPH, of course. Here is the blessing in having to meet at the hotel... we had uninterrupted time with Ms. Roy and one-on-one time with our oh-so-shy little guy. It was calm, controlled, quiet, and ALL ABOUT Joseph. I didn't have any other responsibilities or emotions to process. It was PURE DELIGHT meeting our son. Now that I know more of his personality, it was exactly what he needed as well. We met him and snuggled him a few minutes when he began to fuss. Ms. Roy took him and put him down for a nap. I will post the video of that in the next few days, I hope. She patted him and sang a lullaby to him (I guess) in Bengali. The little traumatized angel went right to sleep!

Then, we sat down with Ms. Roy and took care of all of the paperwork. We were able to calmly and quietly ask all of our questions. We were also able to give her the generous donations from our church of diapers, nipples, and over $300 for milk money. We think we heard a sigh of relief when she saw all of the donations! It was truly a blessing to have that time with this remarkable, sweet-spirited woman. She is so gentle and kind.

It was hard to see her go, but she was the conduit to bring us the most amazing gift...our son.

He slept for what felt like an eternity! Bill and I would just stare at him, then look at each other and laugh out loud. It was like, "can you believe what just happened and that he is right here?" The whole thing was this gentle, loving transaction. She stepped out of his life representing the care he received at the orphanage and then we were there when he woke up. He did wake up and was SO SAD. He had no idea what had happened and there was nothing familiar. I felt sorry for him and wanted to tell him it would be okay, but he had to have time to feel it. After a few hours of sadness.. not crying constantly, but off and on tears, he was smiling and laughing. I guess he figured we weren't so bad after all. By evening, we were seeing lots of this...

So-- that was our Gotcha Day in a nutshell. Was it anything like I imagined it would be? NO! Was it orchestrated by Joseph's Creator to be exactly what he needed? Absolutely! I will always regret that I never got to see his "first home". I wanted to see, smell, touch, feel what it was like. BUT- this is his story, not mine and this is how God ordained it to be.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

India Part II (Sunday)

I am finally writing "India"- part two. Bear with me as things are one baby crazier than they used to be:)

Let's see... I left off with our arrival in India at the Kenilworth Hotel the day after Joseph's first birthday (we landed in Delhi on his birthday--poetic, yes?) We woke up and went downstairs for breakfast with plans to call Ms. Roy at 11:00 that morning for "plans". At this point, we were still thinking she would be bringing him that day to us. After finishing breakfast (I took pictures, but I don't want to bore you with food pics again), we planned to walk a few blocks to the Victoria Memorial Park before coming back to make our call to Ms. Roy. We got directions from the hotel and started off. All was well (uncomfortable, but not unsafe) as we started off. We stopped to look at the statue of Indira Ghandi and we were taking in the sights when we were apparently "sighted". Turning away from the statue, we were met with a woman and two children begging from us. Why we had failed to discuss this prior to walking out of the hotel, I will never know, but we did not know what to do. She was an older lady with VERY small children (obviously not her own). One was on her hip while the other one trailed behind her on foot. We wanted to give her money, but didn't think that was what we were supposed to do. She was ALL OVER Bill... in his face, pulling at him... it was disorienting! Bill told her "no" and we tried to just keep walking. She followed us. She continued to follow even when we had to cross the busy street. We just knew that baby was going to get run over, but she was not concerned AT ALL about that baby's safety across the street. She continued to follow us even after we turned around to get back to the hotel- never making it to the park. We could SEE it across one more street, but didn't want that child to get plowed and we wanted to get away from this lady. When we got back to the hotel, they said that we SHOULD NOT HAVE given her any money. If we would have, we would have been swarmed with "50 more" (per the gentleman at the hotel). OH BOY, were we thankful that "something" kept us from giving her money. It was a horrible feeling turning away from her and not offering assistance, but at the same time we had a backpack full of documents. If our pack would have been swiped, there would have been no baby out of India! After talking to more people since we have been back, I know we should have had a "thicker skin" about the whole scene. We were heartbroken and Bill actually came back to the hotel nauseated. It was probably the combination of "nerves" that we would be getting Joseph and the sadness over the poverty, but he was NOT WELL.

So, we called Ms. Roy and she said that she couldn't bring Joseph on Sunday because her car was being used to pick up a baby! I wonder if that baby may be matched with a family waiting right now:) Anyway, she went on to tell us that she would come on Monday and that "It would be best" for us NOT to come to the orphanage. I WAS DEVASTATED. Not only were our hopes dashed that she would bring him a day early, but we weren't going to get to visit the orphanage. SO CRUSHED! I had been dreaming of "gotcha day" at the orphanage for MONTHS. Everything was turning out differently than I had planned. Then again, they were MY plans. God had a very different idea of what our family and Joseph needed "gotcha day" to look like. Our driver called and asked if we wanted him to take us sightseeing. In my mind, that is what we were going to do on Sunday. In reality, I had a sick husband and a sad heart. We declined as it was midday by now and BLAZING HOT on top of the aforementioned ailments.

I will close this entry with a thought about the difference between MY plans and my husband's plans. This may not apply to every family, but it sure would have made a difference if someone had said this to me before travel. Bill was on a mission. He assumed the responsibility of me and my safety along with the organization and safety of those precious documents. This was not a sightseeing pleasure trip for him in any way. He had never been out of the country and probably would have never left USA if our son wasn't born halfway around the world. He said that if we would have been there during a more "tourist" time, maybe he would have felt differently. He did not want to "traipse around Kolkata alone". It seemed like a ludicrous idea to him. I thought if I nagged enough, he would want to shop, see memorials, etc. NOT SO. After I adjusted my thought process and listened to my husband, it was so much easier to relax in the hotel and wait for the arrival of our son. It was very important for me to make this trip all about Joseph and NOT ABOUT ME. Sunday afternoon ended with us actually relaxing and enjoying the day together with no children (something we rarely do at home). The next day was about to hold MANY unexpected blessings!

Monday, May 17, 2010

India Trip- Arrival in India

We will label this one "Part One". I debated on how to write and what to include in my retelling of the trip as I want it to be both interesting and informative for those travelling behind us. Bill and I agreed that chronological would be the way to go. Those of you adopting from India will likely read a bit closer than friends just interested in our trip and experience, but here we go...

We left Springfield around noon on Thursday, April 29. This was the teeny airplane we flew to Atlanta in:

Our baggage included one big suitcase and one duffle bag full of donations for the orphanage. Those were both checked. On international flights, you can check one bag each for "free" and have one carry-on each as well as a "personal item". We had one carry-on (between us) as well as the backpack and diaper bag (backpack-style) that we kept with us. My best advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Remember: whatever you take, you will be lugging around. I felt like we packed appropriately, really. With the baby things, it is hard to pack too light.

Here we are "all smiles" leaving our hometown. Notice my sweater... very good choice for the plane. You can't see my shoes (little slip on's) BAD choice for the plane. BRING SOCKS!

Anyway, we left Springfield for Atlanta and boarded this AirFrance plane:

This was such a nice plane. They "accidentally" thought we had an infant with us the ENTIRE trip there. It seemed impossible to the French people that we would NOT have an infant going to India, but would have one coming back, SOOO... we always got a "bulkhead" seat meaning we had extra legroom the entire trip:) NICE! AirFrance was very wonderful. I did discover that my 4 straight semesters of French in college were LONG FORGOTTEN! Couldn't understand a word... seriously... not a word.

We finally arrived in Delhi via Paris where many rude people reside, apparently. Bill pretty much got "frisked" in Paris. The men were much more abrupt and flat than the women. I won't mention the air fresheners that the flight attendants would go up and down the aisles with before each flight, either. WOW. I thought the French were known for their perfumes. That must be the people who stay in France because the ones venturing abroad on our airplane... woof! That is neither here nor there... moving on...

We arrived in Delhi and took the shuttle over from the international terminal to the domestic one. We were told to get a taxi to go over there, but the guy at the taxi counter told us to take the shuttle because it was free. I thought that was very honest of him. We rode a nice air-conditioned bus over to the domestic terminal in the middle of the night with 6 other people. It was 1:30 am when we got to the Delhi Domestic terminal. It wasn't open yet, but many people were waiting in the ticketing area with us. We thought we would have to wait until at least 3:00 am. We called home and talked to the boys and I journaled a few minutes. Then, at 2:30 they let everyone in! We went inside and looked like this:

The domestic terminal is quite nice. It is clean with lots of places to walk around. We should know... we were there from 2:30 am until our plane left LATE at 11:00 am! Yes, we could have gone to a hotel room, but why miss all the fun??!! Looking back, it was a good opportunity to begin to acclimate to the situation a bit. We were the minority there and it was a clean, safe place to experience that before landing in Kolkata. We weren't THE only "westerners" there like we were about to be in Kolkata. We were shuttled onto the plane in this little bus. It struck me that I was THE ONLY woman on the bus jammed with people and we were the only Americans. It was uncomfortable, but we never felt unsafe.

Our plane finally left Delhi. When we arrived in Kolkata (late), there were several drivers at baggage claim with signs waiting for people. We looked and looked for our sign and it wasn't there. Bill went to the line to prepay a taxi to take us to the hotel. We were SOOO jet-lagged and all we wanted was to have a ride to the hotel. As I was waiting with our bags for Bill to get a taxi for us, I happened to look outside the terminal and there was our name!!! The driver was waiting for us OUTSIDE the terminal. We were thrown by all the signs inside at baggage claim! We have never been so thankful to see our name!! (Hey, Dillon families:THE DRIVER WILL BE WAITING OUTSIDE THE TERMINAL!!)

Our car ride to the hotel in Kolkata was surreal. We were overwhelmed instantly by the sheer number of people and the poverty. Jet-lagged and emotional anyway, the images were almost more than our hearts could bear. You can see pictures, hear stories, watch movies, but nothing can prepare you for looking out your car window at the everyday life we witnessed. It felt wrong to take pictures, to be in an air-conditioned car, to be so privileged. I will say that it will take a while for us to process what we saw and felt in Kolkata. To comment further at this point would be in error. What I will say is that the people there are beautiful and gracious. In the midst of what we would consider a desperate situation, the people were demonstrating fortitude and resourcefulness. It seemed to me that there were just too many people in the area and that they have simply devoured the land and exhausted their resources. I did manage to take a few photos (being careful not to show faces):

I like the top photo because the women were ALWAYS dressed up! They could be walking through mire or riding on the back of a scooter, but they were dignified and gorgeous. The bottom photo is indicative of a storefront in Kolkata. The other thing that struck us was the fact that there were no obvious traffic laws and the horns were CONSTANT. Somehow, people got where they were going. Again... uncomfortable, but not unsafe with our driver.

We finallly arrived at our hotel and felt incoherent. We checked in and I know those people were wondering about us. They would have to ask us the same question three times before one of us would register and react. So thankful for the Kenilworth in Kolkata. It was a lifesaver that day and the entire stay in Kolkata. I can't imagine a better place to stay while there. Now, it is Saturday late afternoon Kolkata time for travel time in the 30's (hours). Guess what we did Saturday?! ZZZZZZ... and ...

ROOM SERVICE!! The Chicken Korma was "out of this world" delicious. I'm not exactly sure where Bill was going with the whole "Indian pizza" thing, but he liked it. We were pretty much all about the food there... yummy!

We did call Ms. Roy on Saturday and she gave us hope that she would bring Joseph to us on Sunday and asked us to call back on Sunday to make plans. We were delighted to get him a day early, but it was the first hint that she would be bringing him to us instead of us going to the orphanage. More to come on "Gotcha Day". I want to close with a list of things you don't want to forget when going to India:

1) Socks for the plane
2) Spoons for your baby (we were always hoarding plastic teaspoons the entire trip)
3) Oatmeal and nutrition bars
4) washcloths (the hotel in Kolkata didn't have them)
5) Your own shower gel (you'll want to smell like yourself-- I thought theirs was stinky on me)
6) Water (they give you 2 free and then you can order more, but I liked having our own. We used 24 bottles in 4 days... that is a lot of water)
7) A variety of nipples for your bottles. I will explain more later, but slow, medium, and fast flow to be on the safe side.
8) A little notebook to journal everything into. You think you won't ever forget, but I've been home one week and the details are already fuzzy without the journal.
10) Your "spiritual eyes". We saw God's fingerprints in every situation and bump we encountered in India. KNOW that He is God and REST in that the entire trip. Couple that with #9 and you'll be in business.

I will close for now.... more to come... stay tuned:)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I know I promised more details about our actual trip to India, BUT... my dad just sent these pictures of our arrival at the airport in our hometown. I just had to share them because we weren't complete until we were reunited with our homegrown clan! We were greeted at the airport by our children, parents, and my brother with his family. It was precious, low-key, and (to borrow from Mary Poppins) "nearly perfect in every way."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

God Blessed America!!

We are so thankful to be home again!! Travel made us grateful to be US citizens and a part of this wonderful country. We literally wanted to KISS the ground at the airport in Atlanta. We missed our flight home on Saturday night due to the volcanic ash again. We thought we would have to stay in Paris and all we wanted was to be back in the US again. They did finally let our plane leave Paris 3 hours late only to take a huge detour making that flight 11 hours instead of 8 hours. I want to share everything about our trip, but I think I will span it over several posts. For now, I wanted to share what we have all been waiting for... pictures of Joseph with his parents!!! I will also take this opportunity to brag a little. We have nicknamed our child "wonder baby". He amazes us every day with his temperament, spirit, and delightful personality. He is all we could have ever hoped for...we are deeply in love.