When do you travel?
Our goal is to leave next Thursday. That would put us in Bangalore early Saturday morning (1 am ish) and we could then visit Ramya on Saturday and Sunday at the orphanage, hoping to be released with her on Monday. We would travel to Delhi on Monday, see the doctor Tuesday, see the doctor Thursday, go to the embassy Thursday afternoon, and travel out Friday. We would get back Saturday. We are using a travel agency in India because if we have any problems with travel or need to change a date, they will be easiest to get ahold of, since the time will be the same once we are in India. It takes a little longer to book travel this way, so we are awaiting the itinerary to approve and book.
What can I do to help?
Pray. That's the biggest thing I can think of! Pray for sweet Ramya who is getting uprooted to a foreign land by people who look different, talk differently, smell differently, and are complete strangers. Pray for a quick adjustment and no attachment issues. Pray for safe travel for me, Amanda (my friend coming with me), and Ramya. Pray for safety for David and the kids while I am away. Pray for them to have an easy time while I am gone. Pray for no sickness.
Invite the David and the kids over for dinner. We have decided not put together a meal calendar for while I am gone. I will be preparing some meals over the next few days. I have also bought more "processed" type foods (like gluten-free chicken nuggets, nitrate-free hot dogs, etc....) that I would not normally buy, so that there are easy things to cook in the house. David would love to get out of the house with the kids, though, and would love dinner invites. We do eat gluten and dairy free, but some ideas for food are hamburgers (no cheese, wrapped in lettuce), hot dogs (no bun), tacos (corn tortillas), grilled chicken or steak, fish or chicken breaded in corn flakes or the such, spaghetti made with gluten-free pasta, etc..... I know our families will have them over as well.
When can I meet Ramya?
The answer to this really is, "I don't know!" It will really depend on how she is doing and how attachment is going. We are trying to build our family. As of right now, Ramya has little concept of "family", or "attachment". She doesn't know me more favorably than any other female, nor David than any other male. We will try to keep contact with other people to a minimum for a while. It is best for our family not to have people in and out of the house for a while. We know this will be hard, as we are excited to show her off, but it is what is best for our family, as we build our family. Additionally, we ask that when you do come visit, you do not try to hold/hug/etc... Ramya. If she tries to hug you, please gently re-direct her to me. It is important that she learns that I am mom and the one to go to. Feel free to say hi, smile, wave, etc... though!! Children will often easily go to anyone for attention, but this is a sign that they are not understanding who to attach to. Here's a good read about this: http://www.rainbowkids.com/articledetails.aspx?id=530. To highlight a few points...
Minimize your child's exposure to anyone outside the family for the first few weeks . Let no one else hold the baby except the parents, even at the airport on your triumphant arrival home!! Isolate yourselves with your new child at home for the first week or two, with as few visitors as possible. Do not let visitors hold your baby. If family members want to help, ask them to bring meals, do shopping and errands, or clean the house. If challenged, say the social worker or doctor advised this early isolation.
Focus on building attachment in these early weeks at home.
- Mom should do as much of the baby care as possible, to establish the primary bond.
- She should hold and interact with the baby when feeding him or her. Do not allow your baby to bottle-feed by holding the bottle alone. This is a key bonding activity, where the mother should be offering the food and maintaining eye contact. When the baby is eating solids, the mother should always feed him or her herself. Do not encourage early independence in self-feeding. Hold your baby on your lap if possible, with eye contact. If the baby must be in a high chair, keep him or her very close to you, between parents if possible, and touch your baby often, use lots of eye contact and conversation. If your child insists on self-feeding, play interactive, reciprocal feeding games - you put a Cheerio in her mouth, she puts one in your mouth.
- Lots of physical contact is very important. Mom should hold and carry the baby as much as possible. Cuddle, caress, stroke and rock. Gentle wrestling and tickling are fine if not over-stimulating. Cuddling your baby with eye contact while rocking her or him in a rocking chair is very beneficial. Use a baby sling or cloth carrier (Snuggly, Baby Bjorn etc) to carry her or him facing inwards against your body, wear your baby all day while you go about household tasks, or out shopping or walking.
We love you all and love that you are sharing in our joy, and we will happily show Ramya off once we are settled and have worked a bit on attachment and bonding. We appreciate your understanding and support with helping us build our famly!
Please also be forgiving of me when I am bad at returning texts/calls/e-mails etc... I am going to be exhausted and overwhellmed, and I will greatly appreciate your grace during this time! I promise, it's not personal, we just have a LOT going on right now!
Why is David not going with you?
David and I decided it was best for one parent to be here with Conner and Madi. After Madi's seizures, we did not complete her necessary immunizations to go to India, as we did not want to possibly cause more seizures (her first was after getting the MMR vaccine, though she was also coming down with hand-foot-and-mouth disease). We also worry about how to handle medical emergencies in India. We decided it was best if the kiddos did not go. However, because of Madi's medical needs (cathing, medication, seizures, possible hospital stays, doctors appointments, therapies), we decided it would be best for one parent to stay with them. We contemplated having my parents watch them, but that would mean medical power of attourney, etc..., as we would be 22 hours away if an emergency happened. We felt better having one parent stay for these reasons. Because David does not like traveling, new situations, etc..., we decided it was best for me to go.
Who is going with you?
My amazing friend, Amanda, is coming with me to India. Though she has not been to Bangalore and Delhi, she has traveled numerous times to India with her husband (who is from India). I am so very thankful and excited to have her traveling with me!!
How old is Ramya?
Ramya is 5. Her birthday is March 7th, so she is almost 6. Madi is 4 and Conner is 6, just for an idea of how the kiddo's ages fall.
Can Ramya speak English?
Probably not much! She knows some basic vocabulary as far as we know, but not much more than that.
That's all I can think of for now. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will try to answer them!