Monday, September 01, 2014

Back to School

First day of school for Isaac and Delia.
 
Delia is in first grade this year!

 


Isaac is now in third grade!
 

India Part 3

Once we got back to our hotel with Avika we didn't do much.  We were expecting to be more adventurous and see a lot more of Delhi, but we ended up spending a lot of time at the hotel just getting to know each other.  Here is the view from our room...
 
First days together- she looks so tiny here to me.  It's amazing how much she's changed in three weeks.
 
Eating idli downstairs in the hotel.  Avika was a big hit with all the waitstaff at the hotel...

Fun with bubbles...

We brought some toys to keep her entertained, but she mostly liked playing with empty water bottles.

One day it stopped raining (we were there during monsoon season) and the sun came out so we took walks in the grass around the pool. 

 A lot of time spent playing and being silly with Poppa.  She loves to rough house and LOVES to be thrown up in the air.  Maybe she'll love the trapeze like Aunt Emmie?  I think this is the day we had our embassy appointment for Avika's visa...

Thankfully we were able to pick up Avika's passport the next day so we could get to the airport for our flight home.  This is us at the airport with Anu.  She helped us navigate all of our appointments in Delhi.  I don't know what we would have done without her! 

After a long wait at the airport we found out that Avika was unable to board our first flight home!  Apparently there was something about her passport or visa that did not allow her to make numerous connecting flights outside the U.S.  It was a disappointing and frustrating evening but Avika was a trouper through the whole thing.  We were able to cancel our original flights and book new ones for the next night.  We eventually made our way back to the airport and got on our rescheduled flights.  What an adventure!  Here we are on the first flight right before melt down city.  After a 45 minutes of screaming she settled down and was great for the rest of the 14 hour flight...
 
Matt and Avika on our second flight.  I can't believe how well she did with all the flights, airports, long lines, and waiting.  We really couldn't have asked for better travel days from her.
 
And then we finally made it home!  (Can't believe I didn't take a picture at the Durango airport!!!)  The kids, my parents, and Matt's mom were all there to greet us in their Delhi to Durango shirts!  What a welcome sight after being away from the kids for 10 days (the hardest part for me) and three days of travel from the opposite side of the world.  Every little bit was worth it to bring our daughter home.  We are so grateful to everyone who helped us all along this journey. We are humbled that God would give us this little girl to be a part of our family and to bring her all the way from Delhi.  Feels wonderful to be home and a family of SIX!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

India Part 2

Our third day in India was Avika's Gotcha Day!  Hooray!  I was actually pretty nervous this day- we'd only been waiting for two and a half years.  This is us outside of her orphanage.

This is another shot from the alleyway in front of her orphanage.  There is a crib in the courtyard on the other side of the wall below the opening.  The orphanage takes in children that are left in the crib.

We had the privilege of being the first international adoption from this orphanage.  The Sewa Bharti directors, Avika's social worker, and all the orphanage employees were unbelievably kind and welcoming.  They have a ceremony for each of their adoptions.  They prayed/sang/chanted, and the director gave a little speech and asked us to give speeches.  The three of us were draped with marigolds and showered with flower petals, and then we had the official hand off.

We are so grateful for how well Avika was cared for here.  I imagine they were sad to see her go, but they all seemed genuinely happy for her to join our family and grow up in America.

This is Avika's name in Hindi.  This sign hung over her crib.
 
Her crib were she likely spent most of her time.
 
After saying our final goodbyes and namastes, we had to get to the hospital for her second medical appointment. 
 
After all the excitement of the morning she fell asleep on the long ride back to the hospital.
 
This second Max Med visit was so emotional.  We needed to have them check the TB test they had administered two days earlier and give them the waiver from the embassy.  We initially thought her TB test came back negative, then they told us it was positive.  I was very close to a total melt down as testing positive for TB would mean she couldn't leave the country.  We had to stay and do x-rays which eventually came back negative for TB.  After a nerve-racking couple of hours we got all the necessary paperwork and headed back to the hotel to spend the night with our daughter for the first time!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

India Part 1

Traveling to Delhi to get Avika was an adventure to say the least!  It felt crazy that we were finally traveling to meet our daughter after waiting for two and a half years.  We started this journey with an application to our agency in February of 2012.  Avika was born in April 2012.  We were matched with her in the spring of 2013, and we received word our embassy appointment was scheduled early August 2014.  We bought plane tickets that morning and left the next day!
 
Here we are at the start of our journey in the airport in Durango. Only 24 hours of flights and layovers ahead of us!

On the plane somewhere over Russia?

We got into Delhi late, then woke up early to go to the orphanage to meet Avika!  This is the alley/side street where her orphanage was located...
 
Moments after first meeting her.  She was definately a little leery of us, but allowed us to hold her and try to play a bit.

Unfortunately we had to take her to her first medical appointment right after meeting her for the first time.  We wished we could have spread this out a bit, but we were on a tight schedule.  This is us in the car on the way to Max Med.  She was less than impressed with us!

We were able to make it through her medical without incident, but she did throw up on me in the car on the way back to the hotel.  Quite the introduction...
 
 Day two:  a trip to the embassy to get a form we didn't know we needed, a little shopping and a mendhi session (!), and lunch at a south Indian restaurant (found out I love dhosa masala) near Connaught Place.


In the afternoon we were able to go back to the orphanage and spend more time with Avika.  I think we won her over a little this day.  We got lots of smiles, a couple of hugs, and she seemed sad to see us go at the end of the afternoon!




Avika

 
 
Introducing the newest Bong!  This is our daughter
Avika Ruby Priya Bong.

 
 
 
 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Three on a Skateboard

Appearing in the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo: three person street luge/longboard bobsled.  These guys are going for a gold medal.

 

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

This is a pitcher, not a belly-itcher.
Knocking out a homer...
Matt just finished up another softball season with the Steaming Armadillos.  Still loving playing with these guys, wishing they won more games, but truly enjoying relationships formed on the team.  Go Armadillos!!



Weolcome Home Mommy!

I got a wonderful surprise coming home from trip last weekend!

Yes, the spelling needs a little work, but Matt said they did it all on their own.  It pretty much made me the happiest mom ever.  I had a really really great trip- I got lots of time alone (this really never happens for me so I am always in need of it!), spent time with dear friends I haven't seen in much too long, did some reminiscing in Boulder about my CU days, and went to a college reunion.  It was so much fun to see and catch up with roommates, neighbors, and friends from CU- I'm very grateful to have been part of such a great group of people during my college days.  A giant thanks to Matt for allowing me to indulge while he took care of everything at home.  I couldn't wait to get home to these monkeys, though!