Thursday, December 30, 2010


So I decided to leave town for a couple of days, and wouldn't you know it... I GOT MY VISA!!!!


A few more hoops and I'm home!  Scheduled to arrive in Seattle, WA on 1-11-11 at 11am!

How's that for cool?  I'm so excited I think I'm in shock.  :-))))))

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Amazing Vicki Taufer Strikes Again

In case you haven't seen these on facebook, here is a photo shoot that Vicki Taufer did in Patan, Durbar Square.  I hope she does a photo book.  She has been kind enough to shoot ALL the parents who have come through Nepal.  See her work at  She is one talented photographer...

Goodbye Nepal, Hello America! At least for some of us!

Four out of eight of us in this photo are now gone... Home to America!!!  The four on the right (minus my little Pukar), Emma and Sujan, DeeDee and Bina are either home, or well on their way.  A dream come true, a great holiday gift and excellent way to begin the New Year.  Sharon and I both have our RFE's in and are awaiting a response at about the same time.  If we are lucky, we should hear from USCIS next week.

It is a happy occasion, but we will miss each other a lot.  Having this circle of women has been a life raft for us.  To lean on, cry with, laugh, and share our fears.  We have been here for one another, and now we will be scattered across the US, with stories that only one another can truly understand.
Amazing, powerful women and moms.

Keep your prayers on the wind, and your face to the sun!  Namaste. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Final Hurrah

We had our goodbye dinner tonight at Fire and Ice, DeeDee's favorite restaurant.  As usual Pukar hated everything, and I unusually LOVED my meal.  I had salad.  We know the owners and have been assured that their 'process' of both employee cleanliness and food cleanliness almost guarantees no 'delhi belly'...we'll see!!!  Dee's a maniac about this sort of thing, and it's her second home, so I went for it.  Wow...salad.  SALAD!  I don't get any fresh veggies EVER so this is a real treat.  !!!

DeeDee is running around the house now finishing up her packing.  Her flight leaves tomorrow afternoon.  She has her VISA in hand, and the mega-book of sealed paperwork for the US Immigration Officials upon entering the USA.  Wow, don't lose it!!!

Other than almost being run over on the sidewalk by a speeding taxi, then scooping up my kid and kicking the taxi as he went by simultaneously wondering if that was a bad idea, but giving the driver my best 'try me' look, nothing hugely eventful has happened.  Oh, well there was the student riot that closed the streets and many businesses for half a day.  We were tipped off by the US Embassy, but then our babysitter let us know when it was going to end.  Hmmm. 

And on the humanitarian front, a bunch of parents went to one of the big orphanages here the day after Christmas and brought all the toys Mattel donated, as well as a bunch of warm clothes and blankets.  I didn't feel it would be good for Pukar so I donated and opted to not go, but I have heard that it was pretty heartbreaking and also a wonderful thing to do.  Many of the children are waiting for their US families. There was 80 kids in all.   It's freezing here now, especially at night, and the kids don't even have socks.  One mom told me she was going around and just bundling up the neediest kids.  After watching her husband and daughter open presents on Skype all morning and then going to the orphanage, she said it was a pretty huge contrast.  Like I said in the beginning, there is SO MUCH NEED HERE, it's almost hard to know where to start and where to stop.  It's way beyond anything we have ever seen in the States, honest.  And when I hear these stories I'm just so incredibly thankful that I was able to get Pukar out when I did.  Again and again, I just feel so lucky. 

No more word on the Visa front, but I am hopeful we are still on track. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tis the Season...

Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree.  When we got the news that DeeDee had received a Visa, I took it upon myself to get a tree.  Up until this point, I was going to wait until I got home to recreate would be too half-hearted and Dee wasn't celebrating. But now, I knew we could celebrate!!!    We ended up with a fake, silly, blinking tree, with some actually really beautiful handmade ornaments that I had bought so Pukar and I could talk about Nepal every year when we decorated the tree, and how we spent our first Christmas together in his birth country.  Next we bought a few gifts for the children, and some for another American family, so that we could demonstrate how Christmas wasn't just about 'getting' but it was also about 'giving'.  Christmas morning the kids noticed the stockings on the wall, and the presents under the tree.  Santa had come overnight.  They have a vague idea of Santa, and it's probably a pretty weird concept, but when presents are involved it seemed easy to get into the spirit!  We did a small gift exchange and watched their little faces light up.  They were so thrilled with the plastic plane and motorcycle (the toys here are so bad, we didn't even try very hard), that we stopped there, and never even looked in the stockings.  We proceeded to have a beautiful Christmas morning, with happy faces and Ella Fitzgerald.  Later, two friends showed up with their children, and it got a little crazier, but stayed very beautiful.  Lots of love, lots of gratitude.  We were with our kids, after all, and many families are not.  We had each other, and we are full of hope, because Visa's are being issued.  It's very different being in country and knowing that you are probably going home within a few weeks, vs. being in country and having NO idea when, or if you are going to go home.  It's much more peaceful being on this side of the process, however delusional it might be. 
Left: Sharon, Sujan, Emma, Shakar, Bina and DeeDee...Pukar Center
He is OBSESSED with planes...and so Excited to have one!!!
Arriving at the Hyatt, which overlooks Bouda; um notice the airplane in his hand!

Where we had our Christmas Lunch

Part of the group!!! The man in front is Rob, from Himalayan Healers who wrote that amazing letter a few posts back. REALLY interesting man to talk to.  Works with empowering women and untouchables.

Emma and DeeDee... Emma left TODAY for America with her son and husband. 

Beautiful interior of the Hyatt

Children playing in the lobby; still has the airplane...!!!

The afternoon was spent at the most beautiful place in all of Kathmandu; The Hyatt Regency.  We were in HEAVEN.  It is the first time since I have been here that I have had delicious food, great service and a nice glass of wine.  Truly astounding and wonderful.  I made a reservations for 15 and I think at least that many people came and went.  It was a stunning party, and very fun.  The Hyatt is architecturally beautiful and stays true to the culture, while maintaining a truly 5-star feel.  It’s an achievement in any country, but especially in Nepal.  I know it may sound strange to say that a hotel is the most beautiful place in Kathmandu, but sorry, it’s true.  Peaceful, elegant, and still feels like Nepal.  Love it. 

Melancholy took over on the way ‘home’ and especially after getting on facebook and seeing Leavenworth, snow, and everyone’s family comments.  But we are going home soon, and I did have a beautiful day.  Plus I have the best gift of all; Pukar.

Merry Christmas to all!

PS... Pukar has not put down his plastic plane ALL DAY.  It now has no tail, no wings, no engine, no wheels, and is, in fact, just a white tube, but he still LOVES IT!!  He is so excited to go to America!!  Every day he asks if we can go.  Sigh...I wish.

Click to see a beautiful photo montage of many of the waiting parents in Nepal and their children by the very talented Vicki Taufer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy For One Family

One family got their visa today.  This is wonderful, wonderful news. This is Awesome news.

My roommate DeeDee who turned in her paperwork first, heard nothing.    So, though it makes me upset, we are going to get through this and hold our hopes that tomorrow, on the full moon, and Soltice, she will get her approval.  DeeDee has been here since August 3rd.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Day

our countdown calendar
With the exception of adopting my son and spending every single day with him,  not many things have happened here that have really lifted me up, given me hope, and made me smile deep, down inside.  If you know me, you know that I live my life with my cup more than 1/2 full, and it takes a lot to get me down.  But it's been hard here, and though I've kept the cup as full as I can,  each day I awake to the challenge of being the best I can be in some of the worst of circumstances. 

This weekend two great things happened on the same day.  My friends threw me a Benefit Concert & I turned in my RFE; that's 168 pages of investigative evidence, to USCIS to prove that Pukar is an orphan.  The massive packet is scheduled to arrive on Monday, and immediately after I finished it and dropped it off at DHL, I rushed home to be on skype during my party back home.  To see a clip from the party, click here:  Jenni & Pukar Let Your Love Shine Benefit Concert.  Not only did they raise money to help me out, they poured their hearts into making it a great night for everyone.  Three bands, huge raffle, Gypsy Cafe pizza and soup and of course plenty of beer.  From the notes I've been getting, it sounds like everyone had an amazing time, and that the community really rallied.   Special thanks to Zack, Marion, Angie, Teri and David, for being the steam and the engine, as well as part of the entertainment!  To be on the receiving end of something so powerful and wonderful leaves me a little speechless.  I'm just really lucky.  Or as Joy likes to say, "You're the luckiest unlucky person I know.".

The little pictures you see are on our wall so that Pukar can begin to have a sense of what is going on.  He knows he needs a visa and a plane ticket and that he's going to America.  He talks about it constantly and his favorite book is the one I made for him before I left on iphoto.  It has all the pictures of his home in America, as well as what I had of his orphanage, and tells a story about how I came to get him, shows him where he's going and who he will see.  The date I have my heart set on coming home is Jan 11th.  If you know me well, you will understand why...  (1-1-11)  But it also happens to be about the right timing IF we get approved (which we should) and IF USCIS keeps their promise of processing in 2 weeks time.  I'm the 5th RFE to be submitted and they are done with 2 already, though we won't know the outcome of those first two until tomorrow. 

I'll post the little face tomorrow to let you know what happens.  !!!  Obviously as well as geography and travel we are learning about emotions :-).  But whatever happens tomorrow, today was a really, really, really happy day.  And I needed one of those, and it felt good.  A huge thanks goes out to every single soul that has contributed to making this journey at all possible.  Wow.

Friday, December 17, 2010

READ's important and powerful

December 16, 2010

To whom it may concern:

My name is Rob Buckley and I am the Founder and Director of the Himalayan Healers project in Nepal. Before building the Himalayan Healers project I was a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal, working in the border town of Birgunj, within City Hall. Both my work with Himalayan Healers and with the US Peace Corps has focused upon issues of human trafficking, prostitution, women’s rights, and youth issues. In fact, the youth development program I developed in Peace Corps was featured as a model for other youth programs for Peace Corps to use, worldwide. My work with Himalayan Healers has focused upon human trafficking issues and we have received acclaim in numerous international media sources for this.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer I lived with a Nepali family and learned of the Nepali culture, and the Nepali language, in-depth. I pride myself on my grass-roots connections in Nepal, and my understanding of the various dynamics that interconnect in this amazing nation. My work in Peace Corps occurred during the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, and when US Peace Corps closed their operations in Nepal I was the only Volunteer to stay and to continue our work, independently. This is simply an example of my grass-roots connections here in Nepal, and my commitment to these issues.

In my more than seven years of work at the grass-roots level focusing upon human trafficking, prostitution, women’s rights, and youth issues I have never once come across even a hint of human trafficking relating to the orphanages and to adoptions. If the US Embassy has information in relation to this they have a responsibility to share that information with the numerous organizations and professionals in Nepal that work on human trafficking. The very fact that they have not shared any information is in fact a very telling statement to consider.

I have however been keenly aware of the tremendous problem with human trafficking of young teenage girls in Nepal, and there are numerous organizations that focus upon this in Nepal. My organization helps to rehabilitate Nepali girls who have been rescued from brothels after being sold in to sexual slavery. Recently we won an international award in Asia for this work, as we are the only project in the world doing what we do.

What confuses me in regards to the official US Embassy position on child trafficking in relation to orphanages and adoptions is that among all of my professional colleagues and contacts in Nepal that work with human trafficking on the grass-roots level on a daily basis – these are professionals that are fluent in Nepali, understand the local culture, and have strong community contacts – none of us has even once come across a human trafficking issue in regards to orphanages and adoptions.

There are numerous issues in Nepal that the US Embassy could perhaps better use their resources towards. One painful example would be that of pedophilia in Kathmandu. The issue is bad enough that a billboard has been posted in the main tourist area of Kathmandu stating that pedophilia is against the law. If the US Embassy were committed to protecting Nepali children this would be an obvious area for them to focus their attentions. In fact, it angers me greatly that they do not.

Lastly, it is important to consider the local dynamics in Nepal in terms of the Maoist insurgency and the infrastructure of this nation. During the eleven years of civil war many people were murdered, abused, assaulted, tortured, and disappeared. Many males that were in their teenage years or older moved to India for work, and to escape forced conscription within the Maoist army. Many villagers moved to the capital city to avoid the conflict and the oppression; it is estimated by local authorities that the Kathmandu Valley grew in population from around two million people to between five million and eight million people in the past ten years. Prior to the Maoist insurgency birth certificates were a fairly uncommon practice. With the social turmoil caused by the insurgency it is certainly understandable that families were broken apart and that children were born without birth certificates.
Without specific evidence and examples of human trafficking in relation to orphanages the US Embassy is doing a tremendous disservice to those children, to this nation, and to the law abiding US citizens that are investing their own time, funds, and resources to provide safe, loving homes to children of need. Beyond being a disservice, without credible and tangible evidence to justify their official stance on human trafficking, orphanages, and adoptions, the actions of the US Embassy are confusing, as well as unethical.

There are so many painfully obvious areas of need and attention here, it is absolutely confusing as to why the US Embassy has taken the position that human trafficking is an issue that relates to orphanages and adoptions. If they were interested in learning more of the realities of human trafficking any of their staff are more than welcome to visit my office at Himalayan Healers to meet with my students and staff, and to learn first-hand from their experiences.

If I can provide further information or details in relation to my perspective on this issue please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.


Rob Buckley
Founder / Director / Volunteer
Himalayan Healers

Another Push

In light of the recent phone call with USCIS and DOS, where they revealed, among other things, that all investigations out of Kathmandu are done, and NO CASES OF FRAUD have been found, there is another push to get us on the radar of Congress and get us home.  Please visit They Wait Nepal and sign the petition, yet again!

I am in my own push to get my RFE submitted.  Spent 6 hours on it yesterday, and have another 2 or so this morning to finish it up and get it on a plane to Delhi so it can arrive on someones desk Monday morning.  I'm sending the original docs from here by following the PDF my lawyer in the States created.  I can overnight to Delhi, and it takes her about a week from the US.  So it's up to me to assemble it.  Major time consuming...everything in both Nepalese and English, all these Exhibits, over 150 pages...Get this... I spent $130 in printing yesterday... yep, loco.

Amidst all this I decided to get a mild bout of food poisoning and was vomiting so hard that I had drainage from my sinus cavities for the next 2 hours.  Insane.  I scared my kid, but we used it as an opportunity to drive home how important is not to get the water from the tap in your mouth cause 'it makes you sick!'  Mommy sick?  Mommy bad pani? Mommy pani mouth?  (pani is Nepalese for water).  The vomiting wasn't what freaked him out, it was the fact that for about 2 hours I could barely stand up and had to crawl or lie down.  Thank God once again, I had help.  DeeDee took are of him for me while I pulled it together.  Now I'm up in the middle of the night with stomach cramps and anxiety.  Nice.

Meanwhile back in L-town there is a Benefit Concert going on for me TONIGHT!!!  Hope you were able to go!!!  It's going to be such a blast.  Massive love went into that planning and I am so touched and appreciative.  I am thinking we can use the proceeds to buy Pukar a plane ticket HOME with any luck.  USCIS plans to give responses to RFE's in 2-weeks time.  We'll see!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chicago Now!

Our friend, Candice Warltier, who was on The Talk a few weeks ago writes a blog for the Chicago Tribune called Portrait of an Adoption.  She featured Pukar and I this week.  Thank you Candice!!! Click the link to read the full story:   Another Woman Fights for Her Child

Three Cups of Tea....for Pukar

Ok, so I think my kid was Japanese in a past life.  I'm not even kidding!  It's uncanny the way he acts when we go out for Japanese.  We discovered a Japanese restaurant that we both LOVE.  *Note: It's hard to love places here.  I love it even more so now that I figured out they have a back room where we can sit on the floor.  That's the best with a kid.  I order Chicken Donburi every single time, and it's big enough that we can share, but almost not quite cause Pukar eats ravenously at this place.  Pukar does not eat ravenously, period.  He seems to know all about the hot rag, then proceeds to down the tea (I cut it with water, but still, he sips it and then says, mmmm!  It's unsweetened green tea.  It's not kid food).  When the food comes, he jumps in full force, eating seaweed shreds and all.  He picks up his miso soup bowl and drinks it, and then spoons out the tofu at the end.   All the while, "mmm, mmm".  At one point I thought he was going to start eating with chopsticks but after a few tries and getting nothing in his mouth he went back to eating with his hands and spoon. And he is so well mannered and so much fun to go out with at this place, that I feel like I'm with one of my friends, not my 3-year-old.  To top it off tonight he was hilarious.  I was laughing so hard I could hardly get him on my back to leave.  "Mommy, what's this?"  "It's a shoe horn."  "Pukar shoe no horn!"  ... and on and on.  He was just, plain, funny.  And so cute.  My god is he cute.  He has the whole restaurants attention.  And the best part... he walked behind me at the restaurant, curled his arms around my neck and said, Mommy, I love you.  Who could ask for anything more?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Benefit Concert

My dear friends in Leavenworth organized a benefit concert for me this Friday.  See the announcement in the Wenatchee World, or better yet, if you can come, please do!!!  It should be a blast.  Thank you to Zack and Marion Lodato and David Thompson for putting it together and hosting it, to the Self Wonderful's for taking care of the door and God knows what else, to Jessica Raley for this beautiful poster and to Jim Jack (Get your Goomsba Up!) for being the Emcee!!!  I know there is a host of people behind the scenes who still need to be thanked.   This is the kind of stuff that makes Leavenworth so special, and Pukar and I, so fortunate.  THANK YOU!!!  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boudha to Pashputinath

Inspired to do something with my day that would help my cousin Jan and her family in their time of need, Pukar and I set out to spend the day at both Boudha, a Buddhist Stupa and place of worship, (where we spun prayer wheels and sent our prayers on the wind), and then continued on to Pashputinath, a Hindu Temple and cremation site.  As always, the Buddhist site was far more peaceful and sacred feeling to me.

You can also click this link to view it a little larger, or click on the slideshow at anytime and it will take you to the Picasa Web Album.  (I'm getting more and more clever by the day! Just like my little guy :-) ).
*I find the play button to be a bit fast, so if you want to keep it slower, then control the show by pressing the > forward button at your leisure.  Namaste.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Layers of Sound and The Miracle of Adoption

I awoke this morning first to the sound of my child, "mommy, mommy"... as soon as I open my eyes there is a wide grin that greets me from across the bed.  It's one of the most beautiful sights on earth.  I close my eyes again and listen to the layers, child babbling, generator churning, a few birds barely, some bells, and finally honking, and construction, bang, bang, bang. Those are my layers of sound.  At night there is the men drinking and gambling next door, and buses revving their engines and idling which replace the birds and bells.  And instead of babbling there is the deep breathing of my little lovebug. 

I realized today that he is everything I ever dreamed of.  I remember first receiving that little postage stamp photo of  him in my referral; the first time I saw his little face.  He looked like a scared monkey; and I thought to myself, wow, that wasn't what I thought he'd look like.  And then I fell in love and carried that little photo around with me everywhere I went until someone sent an updated picture of him that included a body, arms and legs.  Relieved he was all in tact, I then carried that around with me, and still do to this day.  But this morning I looked at his little face as he was looking up at me and talking about something in his sweet voice and realized he is more than I had hoped for.  After reading all my adoption related books I set myself up for the worst.   I put to bed the dream I had for years of this gentle child with a wonderful disposition, and instead decided that was unrealistic and these kinds of children come from loving homes with two parents and no trauma.  I was dead wrong.  Somehow, through some miracle, I was matched with a little soul that is so gentle and kind, so loving and sweet, that it doesn't seem possible given his beginnings.  Miracles do happen.

One adoptive parent told me she would never consider adopting alone as her journey has been so difficult that she couldn't imagine it without the help of her husband.  I read this in one of adoption books as well... to not even consider single parent adoption of a toddler.

So, maybe I already cashed in on my Miracle ...?  But then who's to say we get a set amount of Miracles each year?  I say phooey!  I'd like to be home for Christmas pretty please!

Portrait of An Adoption   Read more on Candace, who is now home, and DeeDee and Bina;  My roommates.

Worst Traffic in All of South Asia! Told ya so!

An excerpt from the Gorkhapatra Daily:

" Kathmandu traffic has of late become, to put it mildly, absolutely murderous, so much so, that it has even been labeled the worst in South Asia and dangerous by international standards. According to a couple of Australian tourists visiting the country for the first time, it is even enough to give them a culture shock of sorts! 
The axiom "The state of the traffic reflects the state of that particular country" could not be truer than in the case of Kathmandu. The Kathmandu traffic has of late become some kind of a free for all, so much so that one begins to wonder if there are any traffic rules here at all or for that matter if there is a sane government at the helms of affairs. By any standards, the state of Kathmandu traffic should be enough to call for an alert if not an emergency. The situation is such that it has even proved to be a harrowing experience for Kathmanduites themselves just commuting from one place to another within city limits. The notorious drivers of microbuses who think they are taking part in the Grand Prix virtually take the prize not only for rash driving but also for the highest rate of accidents. 

Get the full story sans photo (darn):

Nightmare on Every Street; Kathmandu 

And now for something inspirational...if you haven't already seen this video... 

One Less Broken Heart in the World

Friday, December 10, 2010

Add to your Holiday Card List

Here is a great Christmas letter to send out to a few of our Political Leaders, in particular Obama himself, this holiday season.  I guess it prints perfectly on one page.  Addresses are included below.

Written by a thoughtful mom, and I changed it so that it would say things like:  These children instead of Our children and so on, so that you, my friends and family, could print and send it out for me...since I won't be trying to send or print anything here in Nepal...if in fact, that's where I am this Christmas.

President Obama
The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

A Christmas Wish
74 American families are facing a heart-breaking holiday season this year due to U.S. policy in Nepal. Some families are stranded in Kathmandu - many since August - as they await visas for their newly adopted children. Other parents remain in the U.S. while their newly adopted children stagnate in orphanages in Nepal. These parents wait helplessly for visas knowing that every day their child spends in an orphanage is a developmental disaster.

These children need to come home to America. Some of the children awaiting visas have developmental delays due to malnutrition or institutionalization. Other children have diseases caused by nutritional deficits. Orphanages struggle to provide the children two meals per day - most can't afford to serve meat, fresh fruit or milk. These kids are surviving on rice, lentils, and unsafe water.

The families farthest along in the process have spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal and investigation fees and on extended in-country stays. This is in addition to the not inconsiderable costs to adopt internationally. At least one family in the group is being forced to sell their house to bring home their daughter. Others risk losing their jobs or income as they stay in Nepal for an extended period. Several are taking out loans and/or soliciting donations from friends and families. The policies of the US Government are placing these new families at severe financial risk on their return in an already tough economy – this cannot be in anyone’s best interest.

They  are undergoing tremendous emotional, financial and, in some cases, physical hardship and all for one reason: these children.  These children are truly abandoned. We cannot give up on them and leave them in orphanages in a country that is not only impoverished but also has a caste system which ensures that these orphans, as casteless adults, will face rampant discrimination.

Please, it is in your power to grant our Christmas wish. The U.S. Embassy in Nepal has now completed all investigations and though they will not confirm this directly, what we can gather is that NOT ONE of these cases revealed any evidence of fraud or child trafficking. They are denying our children visas because they can’t prove there WASN’T fraud. The assumption is – against all evidence to the contrary -- that all documentation from the orphanages, police and hospitals is fraudulent. A conspiracy this large would be impossible to keep secret (just as it was no secret in Vietnam and Cambodia), yet no evidence of money changing hands, documents being forged or children being sold has been found. For those families that haven't yet spent the tens of thousands of dollars it will take to adjudicate cases through USCIS in New Delhi, let them save that money for college funds instead.
Please grant them a Christmas wish to be able to bring their children home this month. Please grant these children the visas they need to travel home to America.

Thank you.


FAX: 202-456-2461

Other important people:
First Lady Michelle Obama / The White House
 / 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
 / Washington, DC 20500 / FAX: 202-456-2461
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton / U.S. Department of State / 2201 C Street NW / Washington, DC 20520
Secretary Janet Napolitano
 / Department of Homeland Security / 
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
 / Washington, DC 20528
U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (Colorado) / 600 Grant Street
Suite 202
 / Denver, CO 80203
 / Phone: (303) 844-4988
Fax: (303) 844-4996
Senator Michael Bennett (Colorado) / 2300 15th St., Suite 450 / Denver, Colorado 80202 / Phone: (303) 455-7600 Toll Free: (866) 455-9866 Fax: (303) 455-8851
Senator Mark Udall (Colorado) /999 Eighteenth Street 
Suite 1525 North Tower
 / Denver, CO 80202 / P: 303-650-7820 fax is 303-293-0507
Senator John Kerry / One Bowdoin Square 
 Tenth Floor 
 / Boston, MA 02114 
 /(617) 565-8519
Senator Jim DeMint / 112 Custom House / 200 East Bay St / Charleston, SC 29401 / Phone: 843-727-4525 / Fax: 843-722-4923
The photo you can affix to the letter

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hodge Podge, Lookie Loo, What The Heck?... It's Kathmandu! And I've Got It Good.

I live in a very strange place.  There is just really no other way to slice it.  As I was walking down the sidewalk, (if you can call it that...and anyone with a stroller wouldn't), I was trying to notice things around me.  I have learned after being here for this long, to tune things out.  It becomes overwhelming when you let all of Kathmandu in, and so I have mastered really trying to ignore a lot of what is going on around me in effort to cultivate a sense of peace while I plow my way through the city.  At any rate, today I let it in, and found that if I wasn't 'trapped' here (more on that to come), I would actually find the chaos around me utterly fascinating.  I mean it is downright freaky, wild, insane, other-worldly strange here, and I've been around the globe a fair number of times.

How to I explain this?  Where do I even begin?  There is just SO MUCH!  There is every kind of vendor sitting on the side of the street ON THE GROUND, IN THE DIRT selling every kind of imaginable thing you could possibly think of wanting, from a plastic comb to a pair of undies, watches, bras, games, nail clippers, shoes, pants, saris, hats, cigarettes, juice, sliced fruit, peanuts, popcorn, garden vegetables and cotton candy.  Why it is fascinating is not just the variety, but the presentation, the non-regulation of vendors, the feet of people, the dirt and trash that is so pervasive, the stench of urine that arises near a certain wall, or feces that wafts up from a little river of open sewage that rolls down the street like water on a rainy day only it's sunny.  The beggars crawl around in this filth and work in it for a living and the list of insanity goes on.  Besides the street vendors there is shop after shop of indiscernible genre; it takes time and effort here to figure out who sells what, and how to even notice who is selling what.   Cars fly by, vans, tuk-tuks, trucks and motorcycles honking incessantly with the occasional motorcycle coming onto the sidewalk to honk at you there as well.  It is a barrage of sound, sight and smell.

I see motorcycle accidents EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I'm not exaggerating, and I'm not kidding.  I have yet to see a really horrific one, but I see people go down, and hear the morbid sound of scraping across the concrete.  Then throngs of lookie-loos pour into the street to see what happened.  It's weird.  Like I said.

I do things here like GO TO THE MALL.  Why would I do something that I abhor in the States?  There are many good reasons... it is relatively quiet, I don't have to worry about myself or my son being blasted down by a speeding vehicle, there are always children's play areas,  I can usually find what I need, there are generally good ATM's, the lights are on for the most part (imagine!), and it feels familiar, in a strange and warped sort of way.

Nepal has NO sense of fashion by the way.  NONE.  I've never seen a country so completely clueless on what the word fashion even means.  I swear they get all the stuff that no one in any country has wanted for the past 20 years,  hodge podge it together and call their shop:  Fashion Central, and Serious Fashion.  If they would just stick to sari's and kurta's they'd be doing good... in this arena they are flawless, beautiful.  But when they move into the Western Fashion Circle they are probably about as helpless as we are when trying to wear a sari.  Utter failure.  

I walked into a mall today called Kathmandu Mall on my quest for long sleeved childrens t-shirts.  The stairs into the mall were covered in a layer of thick dirt, inside the mall there was part of the floor that was broken and left a gaping hole of about 12' x 12' and about a 10" drop down...that I nearly fell into as it was completely unmarked.  Someone thought it a good idea to cover the mall with a blue sunroof, so the whole mall had an eerie blue glow that made everything even stranger than it already was.  I quickly exited, it just felt all wrong.

Kids hang out at malls just like the States.  It's cool to be cool and look cool and wear cool western clothes (never mind they are rejects from the 80's and 90's), smoke cigarettes and wear sunglasses. Some things are the same.   Though I think cigarettes are out these days.  Side note:  How anyone could handle polluting their lungs any more than they are already being polluted here is just way beyond my comprehension. 

And here is something else that baffles me.  People drive without mirrors here.  I mean they have them, but they are all facing some strange direction, so the driver can either see himself, (this is the number one most common scenario) or see you.  The mirrors on the sides of vehicles have no visible purpose.  They face any direction they please and are never used as far as I can tell.  This is equally confusing as the fact that I have never seen the passenger of a motorcycle wearing a helmet.  Only the driver.  I watch for this, seek it out, and to this day, not a single passenger has EVER had one on.  Most passengers, by the way, are women, hair somehow not blowing in the wind (this is a good trick), and children... think about that one given all the facts I have just expounded on. 

Intermixed with all this is construction everywhere.  The women that work on construction sites fascinate me.  They work in Kurtas, with baskets strapped to their foreheads in flip flops, carrying gravel and doing hard labor from sunrise into the night.  I walk by in my clean clothes and feel simultaneously grateful and guilty.  What do I look like to them?  Here, in my poverty stricken, income-less condition, I am a rich woman.  Rich and privileged, and free.

 So about being trapped.  I can never recall, in my whole life, being utterly and totally trapped somewhere for any length of time that I completely, and totally did not want to be.  It is a helpless and frustrating feeling, especially for someone like me, who loves to take action.  I was thinking that maybe this was like being in jail:  Kathmandu Jail, like Alcatraz ... or remember that futuristic movie where all of Manhattan was a big prison?  But no, WAIT!  I signed up for this!  So this is more like being in the military, with a post in some heinous place, and I have 2 years to go in my tour-of-duty, and no idea how long they will keep me at this godforsaken post.  That's what this is.  And yes, at the mercy of our own Government.  They love us like they love our War Hero's that they tested drugs on and sprayed with poisonous gases.  Nice.


I have created what I call THE LOAF.  It is a rolled concoction of a few old sheets and a blanket and it fits neatly down the center of my bed so that my little bundle of love is unable to kick my ribs at night and/or continuously wake me up with his wiggling. It is brilliant and I highly recommend making your own loaf if you have a similar problem with anyone you love! :-)

So as I lay my beautiful child down tonight to sleep, and as he reached across the loaf to grab my hand and hold it tight (will she still be here in the morning, is this a dream, am I safe?), I listened to the drone of the generator outside, lighting our building while others go without, heating our building while just next door the construction girls sleep in dirty kurtas and bare feet without a shower, and thought about the fact that I live in an earthquake safe structure amidst so many unstable buildings ...and I said my thanks and had deep gratitude, cause I'll tell you what;  I've got it good.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Can't I just buy some pepper?

Nothing is easy here.  My friends and I are all taking turns dropping like flies and heading to the Clinic.  Pukar was diagnosed today with rickets to top it all off.  I need 4000 IU of Vitamin D a day to treat it which of course is not available in Nepal.  Parents who have come and left are reporting going home with parasites.  Nice.  And all I wanted to buy today was some black pepper.... no such luck.  Did I mention it took four different cash machines just to get some money?  On the bright side, Pukar and I had a lot of fun today, and spent a lot of time in the sun soaking up the Vitamin D (since I just got the diagnosis, what better to do!).  We played in the gardens of a hotel called Shangri-La.  I do what I can to make-believe.  Nepalis wondered if we were cold?  It's like 70 something degrees.  All their kids have on full coats and hats in the middle of the day.  I know spirits can invade small babies, but wow, they really bundle...and the sun is the devil...fair skin is the way to go.  Whatever... my kid needs D and everyone knows I LOVE THE SUN!  Bring it.  I will get the Vitamin D I need one way or another.  And we are another day closer to submitting my RFE.  Don't hold your breath, but it is moving forward.  Goodnight!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tired to the bone

Some days I wake up so congested, and so exhausted and the first thing on my mind is, "I want to go home".  Today is one of those days.  Please do one thing today that might help us get home.  Thank you soooooo much~!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yay! Another day closer ... I guess

Bina and Pukar drag racing

Cute or what???
Well it was just another day in Kathmandu.  Rushing to the Lawyer's Office, spending over an hour scanning documents, finding a pharmacy that carries children's liquid Vitamin D with Calcium (another 30 minutes), dropping off a poo sample at the Clinic, locating a tailor to alter my fuzzy pajama bottoms (brrr cold at night!), grocery shopping, feeding the kids, making sure Pukar gets his favorite banana lassi, and even a little time for Fantastic Mr. Fox and a little book reading before bed.  Does all this mean I am one day closer to home?  It must ... cause it can't be one day farther.  Am I going to make it by Christmas?  Only if it's time for me to cash in on a Miracle.  I'll take one, if it's my turn!

This would be the way, seriously. Gotta love DeeDee in this shot!

Bina and her boots
Snacks anyone?

The extreme juxtaposition

Where everyday is laundry day... must be for a hotel???

And here's the next load.

The craziest mode of transport

Transporting the craziest loads of ???

Rickshaw moving van?

And then there is the dog issue...some not so nice

And others just chillin in the middle of traffic on a busy street corner


In addition to UNICEF there is another person, EJ Graff who is anti-international adoption and who is sniffing around for information.  Stay away from answering any questions to this person and be very wary of her.  Speak out against her if you can.  She is out to make trouble for us. 


 Can anyone tell me the status of the adoptive families in Nepal? Last I heard, there were several -- not sure how many -- who had adopted under Nepalese law and were waiting for USCIS to investigate their I-800 applications. I'm not sure if these were RFE or NOID notices. Does anyone know how many are still there waiting, and if so, which families?

Thank you!
E.J. Graff

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Please Don't Give to UNICEF This Year

Effective, Misguided Attack on Inter-Country Adoption

Click the link for a Story in the Washington Times!


So today taxis went on strike:  with rising fuel prices, and regulated meters, drivers are getting even.  Dead in the water if you wanted to take a taxi.  Now they get even other ways too, by charging tourists 3x the going rate, but even today that wasn't going to get you anywhere as roads were totally blocked.  Traffic has been unbelievable the past few days as well.  Beyond insane.  And power is now going out a lot.  Even in our super bomber generated building we are having regular shut downs of power without a generator, daily.  And to top it all off, it's getting cold at night.  Still warm days, but brrrr, every night it's colder and colder.  I had started sleeping on a mattress on the floor beside Pukar cause he's such a wiggler, but even with the extra blanket I bought,  I was too cold.  I told him tonight that mommy and Pukar were going to start sharing the same bed again and he said, "YAYYYYyyy!" .  Ok, how cute is that? 

Each day I am getting closer to submitting my rebuttal to USCIS.  There is still a lot of work to do, don't get me wrong, but it is fascinating what I am learning and uncovering.  I should have been home a long time ago folks...that's all I'm saying.  Wow.  What a society this is here.  It is not Kansas, Dorothy, and that's the understatement of the century.

PS.  The Talk Aired and you can get it in the States:  You Tube has it as well as many others:
Google:  The Talk, Nepal Adoption Exile Story.  I can't link it from here as for some reason it's 'banned in my region'.