Saturday, October 30, 2010

Doing Good, Just Busy

I'm doing good, just too busy (and tired), to write.  I'll be able to do a good post soon...hang in there.  I found a place to live, I'm moving soon, and Pukar and I are great.  No more news out of the Embassy or New Delhi, and still waiting for the Seattle Times article, which I have been told will definitely run.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Friend Dies on a Mountain In Tibet

Joe Puryear, the husband of my dear friend Michelle Puryear, died while climbing in Tibet a few days ago.  This news hits me hard.  I know he was doing what he loved, but somehow it feels so strange and wrong, like the Universe made a mistake.

Be Peace Joe.  May your energy flow through the Himalayas forever more.

Seattle Times Article
 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SENT TO NEW DELHI

Well the good news only lasted half a day for me.  Today my file was sent to USCIS in New Delhi for further processing.  I got an email from the Embassy saying my case was 'not clearly approvable' and that the documents supporting the evidence in my case could not be 'corroborated'.  Those are the 'key' terms.

This is really a bummer, though I knew it was a very real possibility.

I have to hire a lawyer now, and an investigation team.  I have to prepare for New Delhi to issue me and RFE, Request for Further Evidence.

What pisses me off more than anything, is that the Government is making their point, and we are the pawns.  No one prior to Aug 6th had to do any of this.  NO ONE.

Still looking for a place to live, though I have some good leads.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SEATTLE TIMES DATE CHANGE ~ WEDNESDAY

Hi All:
At the internet cafe... posting to the blog...
Change of date of the article:  Wednesday, Oct whatever that is!!  We are great...!!! Love, Pukar and Jenni

TWO VISAS ISSUED!

Today was a seriously good day.  There was two visas issued out of Kathmandu.  The first ones!!!  How exciting.  What makes it even more exciting is that one of the children is the same age as Pukar, which means they were admitted to the orphanage when adoptions were closed in Nepal.  This is helpful!  I hope this is a new trend. The news that something is changing is so fantastic.

Monday, October 25, 2010

FRONT PAGE SEATTLE TIMES

Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010.

Thank you Joy Juelson for being my PR person!!! 

Hope it's GREAT!!  

Wham% Bam! Pow# Holy Bad Nights Sleep Batman!


I have been thinking about Titles that come into my head throughout the day (and night).  The most recent being from last night’s wonderful interlude.  We had had a couple really peaceful nights so I thought I was in the clear and then ‘wiggle man’ reappeared and he battled it out with me.  I’m feeling wonderfully tired and beaten, while he seems cheerful and awake.  Ahhh, such are the joys of truly remarkable, and I do mean that, journey through adoption. 

We have had a few fairly uneventful days honestly.  The big stress is finding a place to permanently live.  Cherie seems to have struck gold, with a great price, a great location, and a great space with the necessary Western amenities that make life here slightly more doable and more bearable.   That balance could be difficult to strike.  I’m hoping Jane has a beat on it (we are wanting to move in together) as yesterday I spent too much money (taxis) and half the day riding around looking at one horrific place after another.  Dark, cold, damp, concrete, strange, cramped, dirty, way far out in the middle of nowhere, dogs, nowhere to play, and so on.  Wow.  I was more than a little disheartened.  The ‘nice’ places here are priced accordingly; after all this is the biggest city in the entire country; much like NYC to the US.   I have a few people searching for places for us now, including her and myself, so hopefully we will find something in the next couple days.  Jane is adopting TODAY!!! 

No word from the Embassy on my case.  No idea what’s happening there, but am thinking this week I might hear something.  They are swamped as Nepal issued another round of Travel Authorizations which means new parents are coming in by the swarms.   Hopefully some will stay and fight from here, as a lot of my new friends are a month or two ahead of me in the process, and it’s my hope they will be winning their cases and going home soon.   Ridiculous that I am framing it ‘win’; again, it feels like my own Government is not thinking about any kind of ‘human’ being involved here.  It’s all policy, and of course, policy that makes no real sense in the real world.  Like a friend of mine said:  “Policy is a blunt edged instrument’.  Well put.

Meanwhile Pukar and I are better and better every day.  We play, laugh, sing, and of course “gumna janay”.  I met some friends at a swimming pool on Sunday and he loved, loved, loved it.  Talk about cute.  Screaming with delight.  That same day the Himalayas were out in full glory, supposedly due to the 10-day festival and lack of traffic = lack of pollution = clearer skies.  Awesome.  I am also learning how and where to shop, how to cross the insanely busy road (OMG), and how to get enough sleep:  just go to bed when he does.  Which means little time for anything else.  That’s a little hard as I really need a couple hours a day to communicate with the world and my business.  At some point, I may be able to work a few hours a day (many people have expressed interest in what I do), and then I could hire an ‘in house’ sitter for maybe 3 hours a couple times a week to actually take care of me?  Just a thought. 

Other super cute things are:  He loves to have me rub him down with my yummy smelling lotion after a bath.  "Mommy lotion"  He has this certain voice in which he yells:  MoMMY (eee) and to which I reply;  BaBY (eee); and if I don’t, he reminds me by saying:  BaBY (eee) back to me and then we both laugh hysterically.  He loves to brush his teeth; “ Mommy bush teet”.  And whenever he falls down or bumps his head he says to me, “Mommy, bistari, bistari”, which means be careful or slow down in Nepali…and of course we both laugh at that too.  Other not so cute things are:  he much prefers to drink his water from a plastic bottle, and is in the bad habit of throwing trash on the ground and to my horror out the window of a car.  We’re working on that.  And, I have to soak my veggies in iodine, and wash my dishes in boiled, purified water.  A big, fat pain, and also sort of scary.  Our tummies are not bad, but never quite right. 

First though, I need a place to live that isn’t $1000 month.  Anybody got any ideas??? Timeshares in Kathmandu?  Condos on Freak Street in Durbar Square? 

I did an interview on KOHO Radio at 7:20am your time Monday.  I think it went well.  Pukar was supposed to be asleep as it was after 8 here, but who knows why, he was UP in full force.  I guess it was cute though as he was babbling away in the background and letting me talk, for the most part.  Live Interview KOHO Radio

He’s really cute these days, I gotta say.  We talk in our own way, my Nepali-glish; and his Mommy, kay-ho?  What is this?  We seem to find our way.  I hold and rock him and we laugh and giggle and share lots of sweet moments with building blocks and bubble baths, his new favorite thing.

That’s about it from here. Thanks for all the love and support…!!  It is so so so appreciated.  Please know how difficult it is for me to respond sometimes, but I try my best to write back always, and anyone who sends a donation will be receiving a thank you via snail mail as well as email, so be on the lookout.  I’m curious how long that will take.  xoxoxoxoxoxxooo

PS. I wrote this all in between, many ‘mommy, mommy mommy’s”, making eggs, playing with legos, going to the bathroom, drinking water and just playing around.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Banana Arms and Hippos

"Ball goyo" (The bubbles are going)
Pukar and Maya playing together in Cherie's yard

Interpretive Bubble Dance by Pukar Makani

I was having a lovely lunch with Jane, newly arrived from Uganda to sign her adoption papers, when I noticed the back of my arm was horrifically dry and scaly.  Alarmed, I thought, “wow, I need to lotion up” and then realized my son had rubbed banana on my arm while riding in his new Ergo backpack carrier, which, by the way, HE LOVES (yay for me!)!!!

Lots of happenings here these days.  My life has gotten 110% better since leaving Bhaktapur.  I’m most likely not moving to Pokhara because my support group is here, and I’m figuring that out.  I most likely am moving in with Jane to a flat for a great price here in Patan, near where I am rooming with Cherie.  I like the area, it has lots of Westerners with kids that I seem to meet everywhere I go, and there are some nice conveniences that make life just a little easier.  Stores, restaurants, shops, things in walking distance, and much cheaper taxi rides.  In fact I’ve saved a ton of money just being able to walk.  And with the Ergo, it’s even easier cause I can carry Pukar much further. 

We went to the zoo yesterday and had a great time.  It was a step back in time with people taunting the animals and feeding them paper, too small of cages and ancient, rusting rides, but it was still fascinating in it’s own weird way.  Pukar loved it.  Right when we got there and elephant walked through the kiddie playground and scared him half to death, but after the initial fright, everything else was behind bars so he was highly entertained.  He was really into the hippos for some reason, and they would come right up the chain link fence and open their huge mouths as if to be fed.  A kid could easily put their hand right through there.  Yikes.  Rumor has it that a kid fell into the tiger pen just a couple years ago, so they made it safer.  I don’t know the outcome.  There was an incredibly diverse array of species, all from this area.   Different kinds of dear, hyenas, bear, birds, cats, rhinos, monkeys, hippos, buffalo, and even fish. 

Cherie has gone with her daughter to the Chitwan jungle for a week or so, and I have decided to stay in her flat with Pukar while she is away so I can get my life situated. That, and Pukar is doing phenomenally well compared to a few days ago, and I didn’t want to upset the apple cart.  We have had so much fun together and he’s just been a joy to be around.  I think in the long run we are going to be totally great!  He’s truly an amazing little kid who’s been through so very, very much.

On the bummer side of things, there is a lot that needs to be sorted out with everyone getting RFE’s out of New Delhi.  All the parents are approaching it differently, some spending thousands upon thousands of dollars to fight this.  I just don’t’ feel like I should have to do that.  I have a legitimately adoptable child, and there is absolutely no reason I should have to spend that kind of money, when only a month before I arrived people were all going home in 2 -3 weeks.  So I’m not sure what my plan of action is going to be, but Jane is a lawyer as well as has lived in Kathmandu, and she has a pretty good handle on at least how to get answers and be smart about this if we do have to fight, and it we will.

Without going into tedious detail about all the curios and interesting people I’ve met and things that have been unfolding, I think I’ll just cut myself off here.  I get the biggest kick out of some of the stores and signs here in Nepal.
Saleways, my new favorite Safeway!
This one speaks for itself.

It wasn't open, but somehow Majestic just didn't fit


Just like this one...
Umm,  what exactly is a Human Tailor?


This is honest to goodness the best way to get your shoes repaired.
So I asked the shop guys if anyone knows what 'masstige' means.  No one did.  Sure sounds good though right?  I think I want that on my phone, whatever it is!
Pukar in his new Ergo, loving life.  Gumna Janay...let's go!


 
Oh, and I got a phone:
98 13 14 15 07
I think Nepal is 011 977 and incoming calls are free.

I have friends, so I decided I had to cave.  It was pretty cheap, and came with 50 minutes and free texts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Not Looking Good

Ok everyone, New Delhi is starting to conclude their investigations and so far they have issued all RFE's.  An RFE is a request for further evidence, which means hire an attorney or an investigative team, spend more money and hope you don't have to fight further.  This is getting ridiculous.  So first the US Embassy in Kathmandu does investigations taking 4-8 weeks, and then sends all the files to New Delhi, saying Insufficient Evident to Prove Abandoned; and then New Delhi USCIS turns around and 3-5 weeks later issues RFE's.  I can see the writing on the wall.  Guilty until proven innocent!  We need your help.  Here's what was suggested.  I hope you can spread the word and do your best to help.  I am feeling really nervous about all this.  Thank you for your support.

CALL TO ACTION: Three easy steps

1. Sign this petition and send letters to your elected officials: http://
www.petition2congress.com/2/3608/
This petition encourages elected officials to join with Senator Kerry and others to ask
Secretary Clinton to allow the pipeline cases to be processed ASAP.

2. Use the text below to email the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu to request that the
Ambassador and Consul follow the logic that Ambassador Powell used in 2007 that
pipeline cases must be processed and not be held up when there is a change to existing
procedures.
Email addresses:
• U.S. Embassy Consular/Adoption section: adoptionsnepal@state.gov
• Clay Adler, Consular Chief: adlerck@state.gov

(Suggested text:)
Dear Honorable Ambassador DeLisi and Consular Chief Clay Adler
(I, my family, our community, etc.… is/are) highly concerned about the many Nepalese
children and U.S. “pipeline” families that are being directly affected by the U.S.
Government’s recent suspension of new adoptions from Nepal.

In 2007, a similar group of “pipeline” families were affected by the suspension of Nepal
adoptions by the Government of Nepal. These families were left in limbo for almost a year
as Nepal attempted to reform its adoption law. Fortunately for them, then-U.S. Ambassador
Nancy Powell advocated to the Government of Nepal that pipeline cases should be
processed on humanitarian grounds under procedures in place when the pipeline cases
were initiated. We believe Ambassador Powell's support was critical to the eventual
processing and positive resolution of these cases.

We respectfully request that the US Embassy process the current pipeline cases for the
same reasons Ambassador Powell argued in 2007. On humanitarian grounds, these
children should not be denied a family, especially given that in many cases the Government
of Nepal has already awarded an adoption decree. Cases that were initiated before the US
adopted new standards for documentation must be reviewed according to the previous
standards in place at that time.

We applaud the US government’s efforts to strengthen the protection of Nepali children
from fraudulent adoption practices. However, this must not be done at the expense of the
children's right to a family and permanent home environment, especially when a legal or
designated adoptive family has already been recognized by the Nepali government.
[signed]

3. Ask your local NPR affiliate or other news or media outlet to run the story.
Here are the instructions for NPR:

1. go to npr.org
2. scroll down to program section - on lower right under "about" see: Press Room -
click on this
3. when you get to this page, scroll down again and under the section "contact us",
click on "To pitch stories to NPR" - click on "NPR contact form"
this will bring to you a story submission page...

for "show" put in Morning Edition (you can only select only one here, but
theoretically we can bombard the station by repeating this submission on every
individual show)

for "subject" I put in Nepal Adoption Nightmare

For "body" copy and paste the following (please edit and make it better/stronger if
you want!):

The following text can be copy pasted for your communications with NPR:
Due to what has been deemed unreliable Nepali information of orphan status by the
US Department of State, a ban has been placed on Nepal intercountry adoption. Currently,
about 80n American families who have completed their adoptions in Nepal are unable to
obtain a US visa for their children, and thus are stuck in country, unable to return to the US.

Although these adoptions are legally final, the US is requiring full investigation into each
child's background to confirm the orphan status that was supplied in documentation
and certification by the Nepali authorities. This abrupt change in policy was announced
and implemented by the US government after these parents formally become the legal
parents of these children. While we all want transparency and legality within intercountry
adoption for the best welfare of the children, these adoptions have already been finalized
and bonds have been developed between parent(s) and child.

Please listen to the links below of both DeeDee Martin and Candice Warltier who have been
stuck in Nepal for over 2 months with their adopted children. Please broadcast this story
on your program, or other NPR program that is best suited to this story.

http://www.wgntv.com/videobeta/?watchId=d0a5a401-7187-4d4c-8dc2-
43f5b1bd44af

Chicago Woman Stuck In Nepal After Adoptions Banned By U.S. -- WGN www.wgntv.com

http://www.hereandnow.org/media-player/?url=http://www.hereandnow.org/2010/
10/rundown-106-2/&title=Full%20broadcast&segment=&pubdate=2010-10-06 > Her
interview comes at 25:45 and runs through 33:10.

http://www.wbur.org/2010/10/08/nepal-adoption



There is a link to find the station in your area.
also, remember to check this box: Permission to share my information with my local station
4. click "send message"

In Transition

I decided that the place I was staying at wasn't going to work for me on a number of levels.  Firstly, I was uncomfortable, damp, sick, and getting depressed.  Secondly, I didn't have a kitchen and couldn't cook for my kid.  And lastly, I am done visiting the orphanage so there is no further reason to stay near it.  It was a great place for anyone wanting a real Nepali experience, and the family was incredibly nice, but I needed to find a more suitable place for me and Pukar.  So for the time in between, I am with a friend Cherie, who has a little girl about 16 months of age she is also adopting, and we are staying in a part of Kathmandu called Lalitipur.  We are in a very western style house, with a bathtub, a washer, 2 bedrooms, and a kitchen with a fridge.  Very civilized.  Pukar and I took our first 'bath' yesterday and after about two minutes of screaming he loved it.  He also loves Maya's beautiful carved wooden rocking horse. 

I am here until Saturday and then Cherie and Maya are off to Chitwan and Pukar and I are off to Pokhara.  I am going to see if it is a better place for my body and spirit.  Kathmandu has sucked the life out of me a little.  All the transition is not the best for Pukar, but there's not much else I can do at this point. 

We are having a lot of problems right now with crying and tantrums.  It's gotten worse since my last visit to the orphanage, which is why I'm done.  It's now causing more harm than good.  Sigh.  I have been trying to the the best thing, the right thing, and it feels like some of it just backfired on me.  It's been really, really, really hard and sad. 

For me, being in Lalitipur has been amazing.   There are a lot of western style restaurants and amenities, as well as families so I've already connected with a few people and feel like I could come back here and work out a place to stay if it's clear that Pokhara isn't the best choice.  We'll see.  I wish I could have done all this before I adopted him, but I couldn't so it is what it is.  We'll get settle eventually.  Until then, I can probably expect a lot of tears.   

Feels like we've had a major setback and I'm hoping we can recover soon.  When we are 'on' we are doing really, really great with lots of love and laughter.  But when we are 'off' he won't even let me near him until he's done, which is heartbreaking and hard to watch.  Slowly slowly, bistari bistari. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Deserted Streets Make Dasain a Wonderful Holy Day!


Laughing Buddha below the Monkey Temple
Pictures speak louder than words today… another 2 hours of uploading and here they are.  We took advantage of no traffic, like Christmas Day in NYC (I know, cause I’ve been there), and went to Swayambunath Temple, Durbar Square, and then by rickshaw, topped it off in Thamel at an Italian Bistro.  I almost cried I was so happy to be in a very hip, western setting eating food that was delicious, though I think my taste buds might be warped due to deprivation.  Pukar had a lot of fun, but then melted down totally later that night.  Another mom wrote and said they really do best with low stim days, and today was definitely high stim, so I get it.  Gosh, it must just be SO MUCH for him.  Since Dasain is almost over my investigation should be moving along which makes me happy.  Every day there is at least one thing that makes my jaw drop, and at least ten things to write about:  The stench coming off the river, the biggest, most unbelievable pile of garbage along the river, the utter filth everywhere, the red puja pile on people’s foreheads, the merging of Buddhism and Hinduism at the temples, the angry monkeys and mongrel dogs (scary with a little kid), the close calls in the taxi, the ‘how many people does it take to buy a banana’ experience, the guy who repairs my shoe in the rain, and the Sadhus, holy Sadhus.

Chasing pigeons at the Monkey Temple ~ Swayambunath
Monkey Demon
Buddhism and Hinduism merge

Thousands of Prayers on the Wind
Infamous Sadhus at Durbar Square

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu
Young monks being...well, kids!
Thoughtful boy
Buddha Boy:  see the similarity?? Seriously!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rain, Rain, Rain

The biggest day of Dasain was rained out...beautiful, red saris walking down muddy streets, and guts and gore washed away by the cleansing of Mother Earth.  I didn't even venture out of the house until the late afternoon and missed the blood bath.  I know that sounds harsh, but in this day and age, my Western mind has a hard time comprehending 'sacrifices', as open minded as I am.  I did see some intestines wrapped around the front grill of a car, and most all vehicles had beautiful flowers along with some bloody remnants on them somewhere.  Very strange.

For me Dasain is mostly an inconvenience.  I'm anxious for my investigation to come to a completion and waiting around in Nepal while everyone celebrates is not how I would spend my time given a choice.  Sigh.

Pukar and I are doing well, every day is a little better than the last.  I sleep easier, and worry less, he's eating better, and crying less, and we are both learning new words every day.  He asks for Mommy instead of Auntie at night (that's what he called his caretaker) if he wakes, and seems pretty happy most of the time, except when he's not getting what he wants.  Two is a rough age in any culture, I'm pretty sure.   All in all he's an absolutely great kid, and I'm a lucky mom who's tired of being in Kathmandu and would love more than anything to bring my son home.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pukar Goes to the Clinic

It's the night before the big sacrificial slaughter and there's been a few pathetic bleats that sent me running into the bedroom to make sure my sleeping child wasn't crying.  Wild sound.  Oh, and the chickens and ducks are definitely to sacrifice, for those folks who can't afford the expense of a goat, and they are expensive, especially for Nepalese.  I've heard anywhere from $100-$200.  With a national average of $400/yr income, that's a lot of money.  So I can see where ducks and chickens would come in handy.  The festivities start at midnight.  Should make for a good night's sleep. 

Pukar cried the moment we step foot into the Clinic until the moment we stepped back outside.  Poor, little guy.  It was an interesting visit and the doctor felt he was probably the exact age that his papers say he is, and that was one thing that was bothering me a little as he seemed bigger, but in fact he is about 2 years 8 months.   All vitals looked good.  He has one leg that is a little bowed in, but he felt it was no big deal and would correct itself.  No need to test for parasites, just give him the medicine, and run a blood test to see about vitamin levels and liver function etc.  He said he sees the "screaming the entire time" a lot from orphanage children as that's the way they learned to get noticed.  He called it emotional deprivation.  I will get my tests back in a few days.  I also had them look at me and the doc put me on antibiotics for my lung/sinus congestion issues.  He said it was my choice but better to be safe in Kathmandu as it can get ugly.  I've been coughing and congested for about a week now and it's staying about the same, so I think I will take the antibiotics.  I need to feel better. 

I had another treat today as he totally melted down when we got home and had a full on tantrum, then fell asleep in my arms, no doubt exhausted.  It's a lot for a little person.  The tantrum in my presence is supposed to be a good thing, as it means he is starting to trust me and feels he can melt down (show his true colors!)  His personality is getting brighter and brighter too, and he's really got a lot to show.  He comes alive a lot of the time when we are around Nepalese people who understand what he is saying and engage him.  I have found that he has quite a vocabulary.

I've started joining my Guest House owners for dinner at night as Sunita is an amazing Nepali cook and Pukar loves to hang out in the kitchen.  They are wonderful people.  Unfortunately for them, they just had a death in their family so they can't celebrate Dasain because there is no festivities or eating meat or eggs to honor the dead for at least 2-weeks.  Bad timing!  Ajaye and his father also have to shave their heads and leave a tiny little tail of hair on the back to show respect and that they are in mourning.  Bummer for me as Dasain is the Nepalese equivalent of Christmas, and they were going to deck the house out, have big feasts and friends, and now it's all quiet.  But the food still rocks.    Ajaye told me when his mother died, he had to sleep on the floor, and no milk for an entire year!  He was especially bummed about the milk, as he loves his Nepalese milk tea. 

That's the report for today.  All Government Agencies are out of commission, and the streets of Kathmandu are relatively deserted so my ride into town was borderline pleasant.  Amazing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Singing, Drumming, Chanting and Bleating

Dasain Festival seems to be in full swing now.  Everyone has gone to spend the next 10 days with their families, shops are closed and Nepalis are out and about in their finery with their little worship plates of tika, flowers and rice, making their way in a clockwise motion around the Goddess Temples of Bhaktapur.   It's beautiful at night, with candles lighting up the temples and statues.

Today Pukar and I were out walking around and the whole Square where Joy and I first stayed here is now filled with goats, chickens and ducks.  I am not sure of the significance of the ducks and chickens, perhaps to eat, but perhaps to sacrifice and then eat.  However, I do know about the goats, and they are lining the streets of Kathmandu, being parading through the Square, and in makeshift pens along the side of every road.  Everyone is buying a goat it seems, and the neighborhood is full of these sad, and painful bleats.  I guess the goats know what's up.  Now at night I get to listen to not only dogs, but goats.  They still have a few pitiful days ahead of them before they will be slain for one of the Goddesses.  Wow.  My mornings are filled with drumming, and chanting, and the singing pretty much is on and off all day long. 

Pukar is doing so much better now that we are just 'home'.  I think the familiarity thing is huge.  He slept good last night, though I still have to figure out how I get a good night's sleep as he's such a little wiggler and he wants to be right next to me, kicking and smacking me all night long.  We've had very few tears so far, and I've got my fingers crossed.  He is also super happy... and we've been able to have a lot of fun together just hanging out.  I think it's good for us to have some quality time with just he and I.  Yesterday I took him to a pool with some other moms and he just didn't adjust, was sullen and teary all day.   He also was strangely attached to the taxi driver and the whole scene was just really hard.  But once we arrived back at my place, he got excited, jumped out and started playing with the kids in the street (I thankfully live on a dead end), and was happy for the rest of the night with no problems sleeping.  Whew.  That lifted my spirits. 

I'm getting a little bit of an idea of a routine in my head, and it's not the same as the orphanage, cause honestly, it seems like he wants it to be different.  He doesn't want the cereal that he ate there, nor does he have any desire for dahl bhat, the staple food.  So I keep trying different things and he's eating.  Hooray. 

There has been little movement on any front in terms of when anyone of us who are stuck in Nepal or stuck at home waiting to come to Nepal.  There has been no word from New Delhi USCIS on the cases that have been sent there, no one has been approved from the US Embassy in Nepal, and our 'conference call' last week told us little to nothing.  Blah blah.  Meanwhile, Joy's efforts to get the word out in our community and State seem to be working.  I should have some news stories later this week. 

Everyone is getting their own press, and one of the moms here just had a story aired:  click here to watch  Cherie's News Tape.  I think we all resorted to using the media because something has to give.  From Congress to the layman, we are trying everything in our power to get home with our kids. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Himalayan Delight

10/12/10:  First of all, the internet has become burdensome and slow if working at all.  I can hardly get my photos to load, and I have to send them via the lowest possibly quality.  I tried uploading to Shutterfly as well, but it’s the same problem, no bandwidth.  Sorry.  I want to show you stuff as much as you want to see it. I was able to get a few pics on this blog, but it took HOURS.  


They ARE really there!  The Himalayas exist everyone, cause I saw ‘em bright an early this very morning.  The phone rang at 5:30 am and I thought to myself, what the ??,  I didn’t ask for a wake up call.  But when I looked out the window, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a skyline of mountains, all magnificent and clear!  Huge blessing.   After marveling at them while the sun came up, Pukar and I went down to breakfast.  As I was sitting there eating some toast and looking out the window I thought to myself, “bummer I can’t see them anymore”…but then noticed something a little higher in the sky, and there they were again, floating far above where any mountain range normally sits, hauntingly beautiful.  The Himalayas truly are what fables are made of.  I choked back a few tears of gratitude.


Back to reality.  There was “no tears” in the middle of the night, which was a big plus over the day before, but my little guy just never quite had the bounce in his step today.  He wasn’t upset, but he was unusually quiet and very difficult to get to smile.  We hiked down the steepest path in the Universe, (I asked which trail would be good to take my 3 year old on, and to this they replied “Whichever you like Madam”).   However, we saw many awesome sights along the way.  I love this peek into another world on these village pathways.  Tamang is the peoples who live on the hillside here near Nagarkot.  The most beautiful real estate ever.   

They live in these gorgeous mud homes, thatched and metal roofs, livestock in the yard (goats, chickens and bison), farm their land, carry their water, and chop and carry wood for cooking fires. The women tattoo their chins for beauty and hang out together smoking cigarettes, after carrying their huge baskets via cloths strapped across their foreheads to lift the load.  The men?  They seemed busy making special Puja to the Gods for celebrating Dasain, flying kites, playing music (I sure hope I can upload that video!), and riding together in jeeps on impossibly muddy roads (see photo below).

Pukar seems to have not spent much time around animals, and was thrilled with the goats.  We  petted some babies and he was the most animated all day at this.  I do role-playing with his stuffed monkey as he seemed to me to be quite abusive to the monkey at first, so I started loving the monkey, and now he seems to be more gentle.  I’m hoping this rubs off on real animals.  That, and real practice.  Cats freak him out the most.  Not good for the Pinecone, so I’m ‘training’ here.  So despite the insanity of the actual hike, it was a super beautiful and interesting walk.   However, even the guide was whooped, and I kept asking her what the women were saying along the way… “Oh, they are saying this is a very hard path to carry a baby”.  I must have heard that at least three times!  Hilarious.

Pukar slept the last ½ hour of the hardest, hottest uphill part in my arms, which triples his body weight, I swear!  Then we crawled into the nearest restaurant, got some water and waited for my ride back to drive by.  Meanwhile I met this crazy traveler from Granada, Spain, who was born in Venezuela but living in the Canary Islands, and who was boycotting India’s new 3 month only tourist visa policy by hanging in Nagarkot Nepal on a 5 month visa.  What a riot.  He’s like me though…loves to just immerse in culture.  Forget the running all over the country to see everything, just hang out. 

My taxi driver told me he had a ‘surprise’ for me on the way down and I was curious and a little worried.   His surprise was he took me to his home where I met his wife and daughter.  They live on the 3rd floor of a decrepit building, in a room smaller than my bedroom that houses all 3 of them, their stuff and a makeshift kitchen.  It’s almost like a clubhouse.  $40 US a month.  He is so beautiful as is his wife.  They cut up fruit and served me coke.  He thinks I really like coke as I’ve had him stop and get me one.  I have this thing about coke in developing countries.  They serve it in these nice, small glass bottles, it’s cold and bubbly and I think it kills anything in my stomach I might not want in there.  Anyway, he said it was a big deal as I am the first tourist he has ever invited to his home.  I am honored.  We stay for at least an hour and for some odd reason I feel very comfortable in this strange and cramped environment with these three people, two of whom don’t speak English.  Really beautiful.

Pukar gets his wish and heads back to his Didi, barely giving me a wave as I leave him behind.  Not what every mother wants, but we are still a work in progress.   I think the whole new place thing was a bit much.  Sigh.

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If I Can't See Them Are They Really There?



10/11/10
One more morning left to see the Himalayas as today was a wash out.  Too much haze to see much of anything.  Nonetheless, the vistas from up here are still stunning.  Sadly I don’t have the kind of camera that can capture much of it.  Nepal is such a hill-rich country, and they aren’t wimpy little hills, I’m talking deep, steep and terraced, which I’ve always found to be particularly gorgeous. 

We had a pretty good day today, but naptime was brutal sadness, as was bedtime.  I started taking long, deep breaths while I was holding and rocking him, to just calm my own rising nerves and worry, and for some reason that shut him right up.  It made me wonder how much of this hollering is true sadness, and how much of it is Pukar being the star child at the orphanage and getting to have his way whenever he screams.  Nonetheless, I remember from my classes that this cycle of agitation followed by soothing, is a bonding cycle, and so I think in the end we are making progress.  I decided, however, two days away from Didi is enough and I’m heading back tomorrow afternoon to the orphanage, where I think we will do another night and try again.  I also think the new place thing is hard.  He had gotten used to my guest house.

We hiked, played and ate a lot, yay!  Our taxi driver saw us on the road when he was dropping off another guest so we took a little tour to the high point of Nagarkot called ‘The Tower’ and it was just as “not worth it” as the last time I saw it, but fun to go on a little trip nonetheless.  Last time I was here I had mountain biked up from Kathmandu, and was really disappointed when I rode my bike all the way up to that silly high point for no apparent reason.  I felt sorry for some older folks who were leaning on a couple of Nepali’s and who had hiked the whole way, for it’s far and up and the air is a lot thinner here.  If you ever come to Nepal, skip it, okay?  Saw some mountain bikers up here too and had a little envy I have to say.  Mountain biking all over this country is an unbelievable blast. 

On another note, my shower is this crazy box that I have to light with a gas flame in order to get hot water.  Last night I filled my rubber bucket with hot water and gave myself a luxurious pedicure.  Haha!  There’s a ‘spa’ here, but I thought better of it, and just did my own.  If you’ve ever been to a spa at a two-star hotel in Nepal, you’ll understand. 

And when I was sitting at breakfast this morning, the guide at the next table, (lots of older and/or single people here in Nepal that travel around with guides) was talking obnoxiously loud so I could easily hear him expounding on his disgust with the corruption in the adoption system here.  Why don’t these foreigners just ‘sponsor’ the children, that’s what he does, and on and on.  If you know me, you know it took a lot for me to just keep my mouth shut and smile politely when he turned to me and pretended like nothing happened.  Just to clarify, yes, there is corruption in the system.  The problem is where do you point the finger.  It’s not as simple as making the woman at the next table uncomfortable about her decision to adopt a child she felt, after her own investigating, was in need of a home.  It’s a multifaceted problem with many layers, including cultural.  And again, I will state my own feelings about this; there are children who need homes here.  It is an incredibly poor country.  Yes, poor people living in poor conditions can be happy people, but the outlook is not that great.  I feel I have something to offer, and I’m willing to offer it, and I truly believe my child is not part of corruption of any kind, other than the fact that he is born in a country that has a whole lot of internal/political ‘issues’. 

Onward.

He's starting to copy my words more and I think we are beginning to have a little better understanding of one another today.   Today he was saying something to me and when I didn’t understand he grabbed my hand and placed it on his zipper; he wanted me to take his jacket off.  Very cute. 

So tomorrow, after a morning hike with a local girl I hired as a guide and to help me carry Pukar, it’s back to the pit.  Sigh.  My lungs are about 90% better but now Pukar has a cold and it’s the classic nonstop runny nose kind that you always see those little Himalaya kids  with. Sigh.  Oxygen was nice while it lasted.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sad Times at Himalaya High

I was reading through my notes from all the ‘adoption homework’ I did prior to making this decision.  The good news was this (from the book Toddler Adoption):

What Toddlers Made the Easiest Transition?
1.  The fewest placements prior to adoptions with the exception of institutionalized children who had experienced extreme neglect.
2.  Toddlers who have had a secure attachment to a caregiver
3.  Toddlers who were prepared and gradually transitioned
4.  Toddlers with the least amount of trauma prior to placement

As far as I know, Pukar is 4/4.  The only part of his life we don’t know about is the first month when he was, hopefully, with his birth mom.  Since he has been with his current caregiver, Shanti, for almost the entire part of the rest of his little life, I know for sure he has not experienced any neglect and is EXTREMELY attached to her.  We have been gradually transitioning him, and he has been aware of what is going on, as well as wanting to be a part of it.  And hopefully, besides the trauma of losing his birth mom, that’s it for trauma. 

The sad news is, losing Shanti is going to be a trauma, and it’s going to involve grief.  And that’s pretty tough stuff.  We had a lot of tears tonight when nighttime rolled around and he realized we weren’t going back to ‘auntie’ as he calls her.  He grabbed her photo (as I have one of the two of them that we carry around) and howled and sobbed for at least an hour.  This means that we had a hard time eating dinner, and went to bed without a lot in our stomach.  I ordered food to be brought to the room, but he wasn’t having it except for about 10 bites.  Darn. 

He fell asleep rocking in my arms as I sang to him the “papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring’ song”, with entirely made-up lyrics since I have no idea what the real ones are, just know the way the tune goes.  Since I have no internet up here at Nagarkot, I am writing this in ‘word’ and will post when I find some wifi tomorrow.  Right now he’s fast asleep next to me, looking like a little angel, which normally he is.  But wow, those tears are somethin’.  I had to hold it together and not get sad with him.  I can totally feel how much it hurts to miss the one person your whole world revolves around, and I want to be there to make space for that grief when it rolls around again at an age where he begins to comprehend what happened to him.  I didn’t try to distract his sadness (well maybe just a little with food), but mostly just held him and rocked him and let him cry, knowing that I was right there and not going anywhere.  It was damn hard on many levels.  He finally relaxed and let go.  I am hoping he doesn’t wake in the night and start all over again, if only for the sake of the other guests.

So we are in Nagarkot and I am already breathing better.  I can literally feel the oxygen in my lungs.  It’s honestly amazing.  It’s green up here and quiet.  There are a million guesthouses, but the owner of my place in Bhaktapur booked me at his friend’s place and they gave me a fantastically perched room for a super cheap price.  We are on the tippy top of a hill with a 365-degree view.  There is nothing to see today, (other than gorgeous green terraced hillsides) but I am hoping for some Himalaya action in the morning.  I will be able to see those beautiful mountains all around me if it’s clear, and I am ever so hopeful. 

The road to Nagarkot was a good road. I said to my driver, ‘is it a nice road to Nagarkot?”  To which he replied, ‘Yes, it is nice road…but nice road is also bumpy road.”  We both laughed. It is what “we” (in the USA) would call a single lane mostly paved path up the side of a hill, (much like a forest service road only worse) which serves as a main highway for all the traffic going to and from Nagarkot including buses.  Seriously, it is so narrow and so bumpy, but thankfully paved (I have been on so many unpaved roads in Kathmandu it is mind boggling, literally), relatively uncrowded, and very picturesque.  (The dictionary tells me uncrowded is not a word, but I swear it is, and besides it’s how I want to describe it!)  The picturesque part is those beautiful green terraces of rice mostly, and probably wheat.  I remembered today why I fell in love with Nepal all those years ago.  It is so simple here.  So simple and so very rustic and close to the earth.  These people live in little huts, farm by hand, carry things on their backs, and live so peacefully.  It is completely out of another time. So totally far, far away from anything aside from perhaps the Amish in the US, and even they are probably way advanced to what is going on here.  It is absolutely beautiful to my eyes and heart.  The tolerance, the patience, the slowly slowly.  I think there’s a happy medium, as I wouldn’t wish to live this life, as I know it is very hard, and at the same time I feel like many of us have lost touch with what is real, and what is truly important.  I have no choice here but to slow down, and accept and tolerate.  I take cues from those around me.  When the traffic is so insane that we are sitting in a huge mess that looks and feels like gridlock (happens everywhere I go), I watch my driver smile and laugh, and carefully and slowly work it out, as do the drivers around him.  I have yet to see anyone get mad at this insanity.  They just go with the flow, and cultivate peace somehow amidst adversity.

I remember living in India years ago, and after some months I realized there was a rhythm to the chaos.  I began to love the rhythmic chaos, and learned to be at one with it.  When I returned to the States nine months later, with all it’s bright lights, orderly lines, regulated traffic where people stay in lanes and stop at lights (ridiculous), and where anything can happen in an instant and when it doesn’t there’s irritation, I found myself missing the chaos.  I remember thinking, “this is no way to live, this is utterly boring and without “a pulse”, lifeless.”  I could do without the pollution and traffic here, but feel I have some things to relearn.  Nepal is not India, but it is far closer to India than the US.  There are many lessons along the way, and for some reason I like to learn through immersion and experience, so here I am once again.  The beauty this time around is that I will have all of this to share with my son as he grows up.  I will have a true ‘feeling’ for how his life would have been here, and I can share with him all these stories, this blog, and some wonderful photos.  Namaste, Shanti, Aum.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sleep, sleep and more sleep

In between sleeping and a little internet today (did I say how much I LOVE having internet in my house!!) I managed to get myself together and visit the orphanage in the late afternoon.  Nothing quite like that little smile that lights up his whole body when I pull up in the taxi.  Apparently he's been saying how much he likes to ride in the car, and whenever they are out walking around and he sees a taxi like ours, he tells his Didi's it's his car.  We did our usual playtime with all the kids.  I brought balloons that popped one after another, and we ran up and down the dirt road outside the orphanage being fascinated by kites, (of course), dogs and motorcycles.  When it was time to leave today, I told him in my best Nepalese that I would be back tomorrow, and he was really upset.  The Didi's want me to give him chocolate when this happens, which isn't my favorite idea, but I don't object to their wishes as they take GREAT care of him, and know him far better than I do at this point.  It didn't really work today, but I got him calm before I  left as I would never be able to leave if he was crying for me (hence the reason I am still in Nepal!).  I think this is all a good sign in terms of bonding and attachment.  I really don't like that I had to put him back in the orphanage, but I think it's going to be okay.

I took advantage of my home stay and had them cook for me today so I didn't have to leave the house in search of food.  What a blessing.  It's the best food I've eaten since I've been here, served right in my humble, little room.

Not much to report today other than I have the kindest taxi driver who is exactly what I remember from the Nepal I fell in love with years ago.  This gentleness, and real genuine caring nature.  The children at the orphanage love him.  He even stopped by my house today saying he was 'scared' because I didn't call him as we had planned the day before.  It's people like him and the owners of my house that help make this all do-able.

I tried to include some very random shots from the last couple days but they wouldn't upload (bad connection) so maybe next time.  Here is a link to an interesting article posted by Cherie, one of the mom's here.  It also has two-links on it of radio interview with a couple of the other moms, one on NPR.  Cherie's blog

Friday, October 8, 2010

Failed Mommy

I'll tell you what, there's nothing quite like the horrible feeling of not being able to be a mom to your kid, especially at this stage of the game, but that's exactly what happened.  The stress and pollution finally had their way with me and it feels like a bomb went off in my lungs an sinuses, not to mention my entire body aches and I'm just coming off a raging fever.  Fun times. 

Thank goodness I'm at a homestay/guesthouse as the very kind owners of this place stepped in and totally took care of me.  I almost collapsed yesterday evening and could hardly stand up.  I let them know I thought I may have to take Pukar back to the orphanage for the night as I was so ill.  They were being so kind and helpful and I was feeling so alone and helpless that I burst into tears and sobbed.   It felt like all the pressure of being stuck here, trying to make some kind of life in this insane city for myself and my child, and just all the stress of it just broke free.  They made me some tea and then Ajaye, the owner, drove me back with Pukar in the crazy traffic and it actually made my lungs ache despite the triple layer face mask I brought from home (that is already BLACK where I breath in and out of it).  The Didi's assured me not to worry, that they love having Pukar and he will be well cared for which is all true, but still, I feel like a total loser/failure mom.  I didn't know what else to do though, and it seemed like the best idea.  So here I am Pukarless and sad.  Hoping for a speedy recovery as I'm sure it is a bit confusing for the little guy who is consistently wanting to be with mommy over staying at the orphanage.  Sigh.  This sucks.

On an upnote, there is internet hooked up at my Guesthouse which makes it feel like a whole new world of possibility!!!!   Being cut off from the internet for the past 4 days was really, super hard.  I couldn't use it at night and I had to walk 10-15 minutes in order to get online, not very practical with a 3 year old.  And on another upnote I am making plans with a couple other moms to get out of this valley for a bit after the festival.  We are going to visit Pokhara and the Chitwan and get some fresh air.  That lifts my spirits a lot. 

And funniest thing of the day was one of my taxi drivers (I have two very kind drivers who I always look for) told me that during Dasain he asked his boss not to slaughter a goat for his taxi, just slaughter coconuts instead.  I love it!  An act of kindness towards a goat.  Apparently they slaughter goats during one day of the festival for anything the own that is mechanical so that it may run smoothly throughout the year...it's supposed to be a bloody, gore show.  I think I might stay inside that day.  Just the walk in the morning with entire animal carcasses out by the side of the road being hacked up with an ax is a little too much for me.

Signing off from the hellhole formerly known as Kathmandu,  Jenni

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Night with Mommy

Great night for Pukar, bad night for mommy.  The dogs barked all night long, mosquitoes buzzed my head, and every little sound he made worried me, but he slept the whole night and awoke happy as can be.  Not so much on my end.  Haha!

I got him a soccer ball yesterday and after a hard day of play in Durbar Square with numerous other children of all ages (Nepali are so curious and we make easy conversation pieces), we headed home as the sun started to set (6:30pm).  It’s about a 10-15 minute walk from my guesthouse to the Square, and about 2 minutes into it, he started to fall asleep.  He’s not a small boy and the 10-15 minute walk seemed more like 20-25 with a sack of Pukar potatoes in my arms.  Motorcycles whizzing by, horns honking and all he stayed passed out for the rest of the walk and into the night.

He was the most animated I have ever seen him yesterday, full of laughter and tugging on my arm, “gumna janay, gumna janay” (let’s go play).  It’s very rewarding to see his little personality come to life.   We play this very interesting game of chase that he instigates, and it involves him running and then letting me catch him, at which time he goes limp in my arms and wants me to hold him up, swing him or just carry him.  It’s quite fun until it involves running toward stairs as he will just step right off the top stair and trust me to grab him.  Today he climbed up part of a temple and started running for the two-foot drop off.  I literally caught him by the collar in mid air, onlookers gasping.  Very scary.  It seems as if it is some of way for him to establish that he trusts me, but I’m not sure.  That’s just how it feels.  He loves loves loves to be held.

I don’t have ‘the schedule’ down at all so I’ll have to work on that.  Every time I have him all day I have hard time getting him to eat much.  I’ve tried all kinds of different foods that they say he likes and one day he wants it and the next day he doesn’t.  It never seems like enough.  Ugh.  He is VERY interested in seeing the world.  My kind of kid! J  The thing about Nepal is it’s filthy here, and every day we come home covered in dirt and grime.  However, I have the bathroom from heaven, worth the price of the entire room.  Hot water, clean, the shower isn’t over the toilet, new tile, it doesn’t smell, it’s big, it has lights, and they even work.  I’m telling you it’s soooo nice to have a bathroom like that in a country like this, cause at least at the end of the day I can come home and go to bed clean.  It’s those little things that keep me sane. 

Sights of they day:  Goat heads on a cart by the side of the road, open sewage pouring (and I mean POURING) into the street and down the road, a kid on a bike with baskets of bloody bones hanging off the front, back and sides, and a printing shop called Queer Printing.  

Meanwhile, the festival has started and I don't expect to hear much about my case for a few weeks.  Sigh.  I'm soooo ready to come home!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Laughter is Good Medicine

Thanks to my mac application Photo Booth we had some serious laughs today.  While the children were napping I busted out the computer and Shanti and Ganga were really interested so I pulled up Photo Booth and started using the effects.  Obviously here is some of the great shots.  Even the neighbors got in on the fun.  Laughter is such a fun thing to share with others.  Even when the barrier of words exists, it's a common language.  It felt really good to have a good laugh with these women who I've mostly cried with over the past 10 days. 

Earlier in the day, I had to go into the hellhole commonly referred to as Kathmandu to renew my tourist visa.  They charge $2 a day to visit Nepal, by the way, and I extended for 60 days.  Not cheap, and I had a little sticker shock and even had to borrow money from my cab driver as I was completely taken off guard by the price.   With the number of tourists coming here I have to wonder where all this cash goes.  Certainly not into infrastructure, clean water, or roads.  And trekking permits are pretty pricey as well, which is what most people come to do.  Double Whammy.

My day with Pukar was absolutely awesome.  He is getting to where he is jealous when the other children want to hang on me, and comes running over and busts in on the action when it's getting a little too lovey without him.  He also really wants me to hold and carry him a lot which is new.  And his big thing nowadays is going outside to play.  He wants me to take him away from the orphanage, anywhere is fine it seems.  And if there are kites, all the better.  He's obsessed with kites.  We had long conversation today with some beautiful children from the neighborhood who had kites and whom Pukar wanted to follow wherever they went. (where was my camera!!!).  They learn English in school and love to practice.  He just wanted to be near them it seems, standing and staring.  Shy.  When I left he had to walk me all the way out to the main road, which is about a 10 minute walk on those little legs.  And when I said good bye and he headed back with his Didi, I stood and watched and he turned around again and again and again to see if I was there.  So beautiful.  Tonight he will come with me and spend his first night.  I hope it goes well.  It's a HUGE deal.

And there has been such a wonderful response from people wanting to help that I  am just blown away.  I will have to do a whole post just on that.   But please know that your generosity is SO APPRECIATED, and words cannot express my gratitude.  Namaste.

And here's a link to Joy's final slideshow:  (darn these are over):  Stupas and Swimming Pools

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Typical Day In Nepal

L to R:  Sumjana, Rajani, Sharmella, Raju, Pukar
Yesterday we had a really awesome day together.  Joy had left me some money to buy the children clothes as she ran out of time, and I was able to get 4 little sweatsuits:  pants, jacket and shirt all for about $7 a piece.  Here they are!!  How cute is that?  They were THRILLED!  All their clothes are stained and with holes, and surprisingly, this really seems to matter to them.

I then took Pukar to Bhaktapur for the day and we visited my new home to get him familiar with the new surroundings and meet our hosts.  Afterwords, we walked to Durbar Square to play, where there are no motorbikes or cars.  Everyone had a kite since it is almost the Dasain festival and the children apparently have kite wars.  Pukar is crazy about kites ("SANGA! SANGA!" ~ means kite in Nepali), so we bought one for about .75 complete with these very cool wooden spools, and the children in the Square taught us how to fly.  One super nice kid called himself the kite professor.  He would get it up in the air and then give it to Pukar to hold onto.  We only lost one to a rooftop :-).  It's amazing to me how helpful and generous the children are with us.  So willing to spend time to assist us and so interested in this strange mommy and Nepali child.  I didn't take any photos!!!  I'm not used to being the photographer, but trust me it was super cute.  Imagine, these beautiful children of all ages, flying little paper kites in an ancient square with fabulous temples. Neat, huh? 

We had a Nepali Thali for lunch and I'm starting to get him to eat better.  Lentils, rice and carrots yesterday.  Hooray!  He likes it more when he can do it himself and though it makes a horrific mess on the floor, me and him, if it gets him to eat,  I'm in.  He's such a sweet kid and so incredibly easy so far.  He's cautious with people at first, but once he warms up and his little personality shines it's really something to behold.  He talks to me mostly in Nepali still, and I'm learning a little or I ask someone what is trying to say to me.  Yesterday at the end of the day he could see I was packing things up and he told me, "No Janay"... I don't want to go.  That's the best day ever. Even when I took him back to the orphanage he is normally very attached to one of his Didi's but yesterday he was hanging on to me like never before.  It's a good feeling to see that we are making progress that feels really healthy.

Of all the children at the orphanage Pukar is the least clingly.  When I arrive at the orphanage they all come running up to me, "auntie, auntie" with little outstretched arms, wanting to be picked up and held.  I can get two at a time up in my arms, and three when in my lap when I'm sitting down.  It's going to be hard to leave them. 

Right now I don't have internet at my house which is a real bummer, but the walk to the restaurant in the morning where I take breakfast (and has free wifi) provides a great show along way.  Here are a few of the things I noticed this morning:  Men in large groups playing bells and drums chanting, slaughtered buff on the side of the road, head and all, people passing by with red tika plastered all over their foreheads, women in beautiful saris holding offerings of flour and rice to bring to the temples, numerous temples lit with candles and covered in rice, flowers and red tika, life spilling onto the street with vendors laying out their plastic sacks and spreading their wares along the side of the road, putrid smells wafting by replaced by the sweet smell of flowery incense, families of four riding by on motorbikes with their beautiful shawls blowing in the wind, the constant barrage of honking, at least three near misses as cars speed by me (I'm getting used to this), and one man with flowers on top of his head.  Sigh.  This is Nepal.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Namaste SOS

I have launched a new blog which you can click here to see:  Namaste SOS .   In case you need it the URL is:  www.namastesos.blogspot.com.

It is a place where you or someone you know may visit to find out about my journey and donate to help if you feel inclined.

The donation button is via paypal, so you will need a paypal account to donate.  If you don't have one or find it too hard to get one (I had a very hard time with paypal), you may contact me directly at: lotuslola9@gmail.com to find out other ways to donate.

There is also information about 'Other Ways to Help'.

This is a blog you can send out to anyone as no invite is needed.  It will remain a one page blog so it serves as more of a website, as I won't be doing updates on it like I do on Prayer on the Wind.

I would also like to know if you donate, if you wish to be named.  I plan to post thank you's with our without dollar amounts as you wish.

Thank you for your love and caring about my journey, and please don't feel you have to donate, only if it is something that you feel is right in your heart.  Namaste.

*** See the post below for the most recent NEWS

A Day Is Like a Week Here

Namaste loved ones!  Sorry it has been so long since the last blog.  Things have been busy here, and between that, intermittent power, moving Guest Houses, Joy leaving,  and spending time with Pukar it's been difficult to be able to write.

So much has happened, I will try my best to encapsulate it.

We have had a couple magical days taking Pukar out of the orphanage and having fun.  We took him to Boudnath Stupa (picture forthcoming when I get the link).  This is beautiful Buddhist Stupa where monks and other Tibetans/Buddhists even Hindus come to walk around the base clockwise, spinning the prayer wheels and chanting Om Mane Padme Hum.  There is a air of peacefulness, and it's beautiful to see all of the orange monk robes flowing by,  smell the familiar Tibetan burning incense, and watch the prayer flags blowing in the wind alongside the eyes of Buddha.  Pukar was the center of attention, especially with the monks.  I'm not sure if it's the Nepali child with a Western mom, his cuteness, or something else about him, but he definitely draws attention to himself.  We had a great time buying grain and throwing it to the pigeons, until too many hands got into the grain pile and it turned into a free for all of screaming and grabbing, reminding me of the streets of Kathmandu.  At first Pukar was scooping handfuls into a another little girls palms and sharing sweetly which was super cute, but then some school age boys got involved and it was too much.  Life can be rough, huh?   On the way out we were surprised by a Hindu Worshipper who called us close to show us the huge snake in his bag.  Pukar and I both jumped back in surprise.  You see the darndest things here, I swear!

We had the good fortune to spend the afternoon at a hotel pool where another Mom from the States was staying.  She had come to sign her papers as well but had to return home, unfortunately, as I really enjoyed meeting her.  Pukar was THRILLED with the pool.  Screaming and laughing and playing near the water and in the extensive lawn.  It was so cute.  He is a very cautious little boy, and all of this is new so everything takes time for him to warm up to it.  But the pool was a huge hit, so I'm going to try to find a pool nearby that we can visit once a week or so.

I was initiated into motherhood as Pukar fell asleep in my lap and wet himself all over me in the van/taxi.  By some miracle I had on my fastest drying pants and had brought a change of clothes for him, plus we found a supply of water and a place to change that didn't stink of excrement (as most public bathrooms do).  So I rinsed out my pants and changed him up and away we went.  Later we found his lollipop wedged into the fabric of my sweater.  Haha...Joy got endless laughter out of all this.

Joy had to leave yesterday and it was a bad day all the way around.  We went to the orphanage in the morning, but she had to leave before me and Pukar was super upset, screaming and crying when she left in the van.  I think he's gotten used to two mommies; like a mommy team.  Even though Joy has been very careful to let me be the primary caregiver, we are always together, and Pukar gets very attached to different things, much more so than the other children.  Joy had really bonded with a little girl named Sharmella, but she seemed fine along with the other children who waved Bye Bye.  Things went downhill from there.  He fell and hit his head, and never really recovered.  Was sad and fussy the whole day.  I had never seen him like that.  It was super hard. He's not the only one who is gonna miss her, that's for sure.  Yikes.

On an up note, I was at the orphanage when the Investigation Team from the US Embassy arrived to do their onsite investigation.  THIS MEANS MY INVESTIGATION HAS STARTED!!!!  I had to wait in another room but eavesdropped on the conversation and had a good talk with them.  Basically they are trying to get information to prove he is an orphan which is the hard part as the police records all say the same thing about these kids:  found by the river.  No one is still around to question and no one knows anything.  It's a bummer.  There is a social stigma culturally when women give up their children and what I've heard is they are protecting the identities of the women and their families, but ultimately this has to change or these children won't be able to be adopted.  What I have going for me was they were visibly impressed with the small size of the orphanage, how well cared for, healthy and obviously loved the children are, and how they hadn't taken in any new babies in the last 2 years.  All good signs.  They were pretty forthcoming about the process of the investigation and they are really doing their best to do the right thing I believe.

Despite all that, 2 more cases went to Delhi and 3 more are going in today to find out if they have been approved.  I'm still holding out hope. 

I am planning to spend the first night with Pukar on Thursday and from then on we will visit the orphanage during the day for a couple hours and then return to our 'home' at night.  My new Guest House is with a Nepali family.  I have a large room and a great bathroom, but it is still very strange and funky as many places here are.  We are definitely not in Kansas anymore.  Things just aren't quite right, but I will adjust.  I'm trying to stay as low budget as possible and still be reasonably comfortable.  This is familiar territory as I staying in this part of the world for 9 months in 1998 as many of you recall.

I'll have another link soon to some great photos.  Joy is flying now, so we have to wait til she gets home I think.  Thank you for staying in touch.  It means a lost, especially now that I am alone.