Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ups and Downs

Today was an up and down kind of day.  One of parents here decided that they could no longer afford to stay in Kathmandu and fight for their child so they had to put her back in the orphanage.  This is the first time this has happened and it is so, so, so sad.  I went along as I adore this particular little girl, and I wanted to visit her and take her for outings while her parents are away.  On the way to the orphanage their was a major accident and the road to get in was totally blocked and was not going to be cleared for hours.  If that's not a sign I don't know what is.  I assume she went back later but I was unable to go as I had a dinner appointment with my roommate DeeDee and a renowned Adoption MD from Boston, Dr. Laurie Miller.  (see her book at:  The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine )

She has a research project in Nepal and is here for a few weeks and agreed to have dinner with DeeDee and I (DeeDee knows her as she lives in or near Boston).  She also looked at and talked to us about our kids.   It was fascinating and wonderful.

I told her about the situation and what was going on and how I wanted to help by visiting this little girl and taking her on outings.  To my astonishment, she discouraged it.  She said it would confuse her even more.

She also said, adopted children like ours are in this phase with us, their parents, where they don't believe it's going to last; so it's like when you go on a vacation and you want to cram everything in all at once, so you don't miss anything, and you've only got five days to see all 25 sights.  That's where these kids are at...Disneyland.

She said it can take up to a year or even more for kids to finally realize that we (parents')  aren't going anywhere, and that they can relax.   They really can't understand complex concepts and have such little life experience to draw on that tells them anything about what it's like to have someone around 'forever'.

She looked at Pukar and his little legs as I have had some concerns about his bones.  She said it looked as if he may have had rickets at some point.  I will follow-up on that by making sure he gets enough calcium and vitamin D.   Along with a lot of other really interesting things, she assured us both that we had great little kids and we are very lucky.  Like we didn't know, but it's really nice to hear it from a Specialist.

It was a really unique and awesome opportunity, and Laurie is a really genuine, kind and highly skilled doctor.  As usual, a marvelous and heartbreaking day in Kathmandu.

Now for some random photos I haven't had the opportunity to post...

Naptime... his favorite book right now...just pictures and words

Pukar feeding Bina's demented doll, Chucky...we laugh hysterically about this doll all the time.

My new yoga practice

A beautiful Tika Mandala during Tihar or Diwali Festival (it is made out of colored powder!)

This beautiful Mandala is made out of powder, beans, rice and colored grains.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Note From the Universe

It's precisely when in the throes of activity, giving 100%, focused and concentrating with all your strength and might, Jenni, that it's easiest to forget I exist at all. Even though that's precisely when I can do the most, with just a nod from you.
Like right now, perhaps?
    The Universe

"Thoughts become things, choose the good ones."

Nice little reminder that asking for a little help and allowing a little surrender allows The Flow the do it's thing... and I've always been a huge fan of aligning myself with all that Energy!  WooHoo!

And now for Pukar doing his yoga practice:  

Downward dog, stretching out the feet

To three-legged dog

Then stretching out his side body by opening the hip and reaching his knee back

Now for the tricky part:  transition to headstand

 Full Headstand!! 


See. . . Yoga brings Joy!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

THE TALK ~ Wed, Nov. 30th, 1:00 CST

Candice Warltier was able to leave Nepal and return to the US with her daughter Antara a few weeks ago when she received the ONLY visa issued out of New Delhi thus far.  I am now living in her apartment with her former roommate DeeDee Milton, and daughter Bina.  

Please watch Candice and Antara on "The Talk," a new daytime talk show on CBS, which will air Tuesday, November 30 at 1 p.m. CST.

"I am thankful to be back in the US with my newly adopted daughter, Antara. For those who are not familiar, I returned from Kathmandu, Nepal this month after traveling to adopt my baby girl.  What I thought would be about a three week process turned out to be a three month unexpected adoption nightmare."

"While Antara is flourishing in her new environment, this situation continues to be a nightmare for the families waiting to bring their children home. I don't want to underestimate the amount of stress I endured, and the families who are living in Nepal continue to experience as new parents in a third world country with no idea when they will be home."

To read Candice's new blog:  Chicago Now; Portrait of an Adoption
She says, "I will share more of my own story with you, and let you know how you can help bring the families and their children home to the US."

And now for some comic relief.  I saw this on Facebook about a week ago, and I get such a kick out of it I watch it over and over.   It was shot at the Gorge which makes me smile as well.  Enjoy.  I mean really enjoy.  This is tickle me silly funny.  Be a Leader!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Walking To Thamel...

Bamboo scaffolding...that's all I'm sayin'

And I mentioned that they live in the construction site, right?

Trash baby... lots of trash

More trash...this being the infamous dump...my view that is!

Tuk Tuk Transport Anyone?

The corner store

Ok, this is insane...the human dump truck

Beautiful, sacred, pond of brown scum

Pukar asks me every time we pass by what this is?  Junkyard? Playground? Empty Lot?

Tuk tuk delivery?

A little green relief!

Sherpa headquarters; all the big photos are Joe's: RIP

Temple Peek a boo

Fashion Mantra... gorgeous at night

Royal Palace...now a Museum

Fresh coconut?

Getting tired?  Try a rickshaw!

Crossing the street...and this is NOT a busy day...mellow...Saturday is a holyday

The most interesting part of this is the wheelchair guy...coming to work where he crawls around on the ground begging

My destination; respite

Mommy! MomMY!  Goose goose!  Two goose!! Mommy two two!

The reason for all this insanity

How cute are they?
 So this was on my walk this morning from my house to the garden restaurant where the Saturday Farmer's market is held.  This was all shot in about a 12 minute walk.  Good times, Kathmandu.  I decided I should post the mundane as well as the great photos...this is the day to day reality.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wonderful Thanksgiving

The Flag ~ love/hate relationship right now!
Wednesday at Ambassador DeLisi's Kathmandu Residence for a short program and some DELICIOUS, very American tasting snacks... Tiny Turkey sandwiches, tiny pumpkin pies, and little pb and choc chip cookies!!! Yummmm!  My kid was so jacked up on sugar it was little frightening.

Nepali Diva ~ little miss Nima

The esteemed guests and lovely grounds

program seating... and speaker podium

Then, for Thanksgiving Day I counted a total of 27 parents, children and friends of parents here from the USA for our gathering at Mike's Breakfast, across the street from where I live.  We have a super amazing, rock-solid group of outstanding American Citizens here in Kathmandu fighting for their kids.  They are not all able to stay, one lucky couple gets to take their child home, and two others are visiting for the second time.  So insane is this whole ordeal, but here we are making the best of it.

Part of The Gang

Cuteness himself

 More of us...

Sexy moms and our buffet spread
Amazing Kathmandu Mom's

Pukar peeking into his present of a soft, fluffy robe brought from the USA by one of the generous parents!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lots to Be Thankful For

So today I felt like I had a lot to be thankful for.   We were sitting at the British Embassy, under the shade of large tree, watching our kids play on a very clean and and nice playground,  where nothing was broken or in disrepair.   This was in the middle of a large expanse of lawn, where, if you didn't think about it, you could believe it was actually peaceful.  Listening carefully, the horns and sounds of traffic are always present, but at that moment, they felt far, far away.  This is where I began sinking into thankfulness. 

Here I was,  at the British Embassy, talking with moms from around the globe, and even a few dads, and of course, the Didi's who were caring for the children whose moms and dads were working, from around the globe.  How cool is that?  How awesome that I have time to just hang out with my kid, and watch him have a great time, learning to explore, feeling safe, having fun, using his body, interacting with other kids, and just getting to be a two year old?  I had absolutely nothing else that had to be done today.  I am waiting, yeah, I'm stressed about waiting, but in the meantime, it's me and him 24/7.   We had lunch on the lawn, outdoors, in a tank top and jeans.  It was warm.  And it was fun.  I was with DeeDee and Bina, my roommate and her adopted daughter.  Talking, relaxing, watching our kids play, playing with our kids.  Really, truly a nice day.

Other things to be thankful for besides my amazing kid and all this time we get to spend together:  I live in a great place, with a great roommate.  We have a generator so when the power goes out, we hardly feel it.  It comes on automatically, withing 10 seconds of the outage, so we don't have to worry.  I have hot water 24/7.  Not many people can say that.  My internet connection is incredibly good and consistent.  Not many people can say that either.  Our apt faces the sun so it's like we have solar heat with lots of windows, so when it get's cold we will still have mother nature on our side.  We have no big buildings around us (just a bus station and dump, haha!) so there is this illusion of space. Not many people can say that either.  I have great support here; amazing moms trapped in this country.  And I am making great friends!   I can afford to eat out if I want to cause it's not expensive, which is nice and handy and gives me the illusion of luxury.   I'm in a foreign country, I love to travel, it's massively different, I love culture, it's nothing like the US, and all of this I usually find intensely interesting.  So soak it up!  I don't have to drive.  I take taxis when I need to go somewhere, and otherwise I walk.  And I get to walk a lot cause we live in a super central part of town, close to all the things I like to walk to.  Nice.  I can carry my child on my back cause he's not too big and I'm still strong and in shape.  I've only been super sick once since I've been here!  I have a lot of free time, something I haven't had in years.  I am learning a ton about my child's country, culture and language, something I will be able to share with him.  I will have great stories for him about our time together here.   And I am learning incredible things about patience, perseverance, and tolerance; always a good thing.   I'm also learning to be a mom, in my child's country, where he is most comfortable, so that when he goes home with me, he will be well adjusted, and feel safe with me and familiar with my language, and some of our customs, which all adds up to way less stress and shock for him.  Amazing.   And OF COURSE, Sooooo thankful for all the donations and wonderful support from home that has allowed this entire process to take place and for this little boy to have a mommy who didn't have to leave him here in an orphanage wondering, while she returned home to wait and worry.

So in closing, and with Thanksgiving fast approaching, I guess Gratitude is the Attitude, that can turn a pile of shizit into a beautiful garden of roses.   There you go.  My very own pep talk.  Amen, and thank you ALL. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

CNN Hero of the Year from Orphanage In Nepal

Anuradha Koirala accepts the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year award and calls for an end to human trafficking.

Click the above link to see her on CNN.

Part of her work to end human trafficking also has her running an orphanage of which a few of the US Parent's children are from.  Hooray.  This is a big win for Us, for Nepal and for the Orphan Children and all Women of Nepal.

The video I posted the other day by Annie Lennox is about her work.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Far, Far From Home

Without my camera, I can only offer words.  Some of the most interesting moments are when I feel far, far from home.  I was catching a taxi back today from one of the small Farmer's Markets that we like to attend on the weekends, and with me I had brought one of my boots that had broken.  Considering I had this same pair of boots in Peru in 2006, I'm not surprised it broke!  None the less,  I have so very few things here to wear and even fewer shoes, so I had dragged my boot with me in hopes to get it fixed and asked the taxi driver to please try to find me someplace to repair my shoe.  I have had shoes repaired before in Nepal and know that the repairmen set up shop on the side of the road, but didn't know exactly where to find them.  However my taxi driver did.  He took me to a very busy corner in central Kathmandu, where along the dirt on the side of the road was shoe repairman after shoe repairman.  Each had a little tarp or piece of an old bag laid out and on it, their little shop.  Cars were whizzing by, and throngs of people as well, and I picked a guy with a neat little tarp who had two small blocks of concrete with pieces of vinyl laid across the tops of them for tiny chairs.  The taxi driver and I took our seats across form each other and Pukar decided to stay in the taxi and hang out the window and smile at everyone and wave as they passed by.  Wish I had a camera for that especially.  My boot had a buckle with some kind of pin that completely snapped off, and lo and behold the shoe guy had a little piece of newspaper and wrapped in it several of the types of metal fasteners that would be necessary to fix my particular problem.  He used an amazing variety of tools and was very meticulous about his repair which I watched, nearly enraptured.  It was super interesting.  When it was perfectly fixed, in less than 10 minutes, he told me it would be 20 rupees.  I had to ask two more times in English and then said it once in Nepali "bis"??  Yes, bis.  Twenty rupees is about 30 cents.  So I gave him a 50 rupee note, a whopping, 70 cents or so, and could see from the look on his face that he was very happy.   We were all happy...Pukar still smiling and waving, the taxi driver, the shoe guy and me, feeling far, far from home.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Boy

Today we got invited to a fancy place just outside of bowels of Kathmandu for a Kids Day.  There were many, many parents and children from lots of different countries all living here for one reason or another.  We gathered together to share the day in a nice place, with actual trees and the sense of fresh air.   We did some kiddy horseback-riding and had lunch on the lawn, while the kids played and fought with each other.  Pukar was not in the best of moods today, so we left around 2:30 for a long nap, but you wouldn't know it from the photos.  Enjoy.

He was the ONLY kid who didn't need his mom beside him... he was STOKED!  Bye mom!

The analogy that popped in my head today is this.  The lotus flower blooms on top of the water, but it's roots are down deep in the mud.  At the bottom of the pond, amidst the muck and darkness is where this beautiful symbol of spiritual enlightenment begins it's journey towards the light.  Kathmandu is the bottom of the pond.  I am living in the muck and darkness, in the cesspool of decay where the soil becomes rich with nutrients to fuel the beautiful lotus to move toward the surface, and bloom.  I am moving toward the light... being filled with what I need to carry me towards the light.  We will make it to the surface, one way or another.  It is our destiny to bloom. 

Women on the Frontline, Nepal:  with Annie Lennox.  (click to view)  Great video to see one of many issues in this country; trafficking of young girls to India for prostitution.  It also gives a good look at the country and it's dismal statistics.  The longer I stay here, the more horrified I am at the state of affairs in this country.  Imprisonment for 12 years is the price you pay for abandoning your child.  Yet, it is still common for honor killings, death by stoning and/or beheading if you dare to have a child out of wedlock or worse, out of caste.  Do you think parents want to be found?  This is what the State Dept is asking us to do.