Monday, 24 October 2016

When K came home!

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
God alone knows just what they did
But they came back with a daughter!

Who knew that the ditty we laughed about in school would come true for us, with the minor alteration of us going to a beach town instead of a hill. But this is how our lovely daughter K came home.
My deepest secret wish, for a long time, was to adopt a daughter. When Conscience Keeper and I got married, we were quite sure we wanted to be DINKs for the rest of our lives – if there were to be any leeway, it would be to adopt a daughter. We could never really make up our minds in all these years because life without a kid was great too. But sometime last year, after meeting A and her wonderful daughter she had adopted at that time, I was inspired momentarily to take some action – and so we registered ourselves online in CARA. The next step was to conduct the Home Study Report but life got in the way and we didn’t do anything about it, until a year and a half later – when we got a call from CARA a few weeks ago.
That set the ball rolling – and oh god, how the ball rolled!
So CARA insisted we completed our pending HSR and gave us some more time owing to certain change in rules. We wanted a pahadi baby from Uttarakhand where Conscience Keeper’s allegiance lies – but owing to certain rules of HSR, we changed it to the local agency here. I called the agency and R who is in charge of HSR asked us to visit her the next day. On our way to the agency, we stopped by MIL’s house for lunch – and that was the first time I told her about our plans to adopt. Conscience Keeper had already prepared her, but I was apprehensive to broach the topic. But she took it well – in fact a bit too well, because it turned out she had already knitted a woollen sweater in anticipation!
We met R, who happened to stay just a road away from MIL’s house. So she decided to go ahead with the HSR visit on that very afternoon – and we could also give her a ride back home – and the documents could come later. So in a matter of hours, we were back at MIL’s place with R in tow for the HSR. In the next few days we submitted all the documents and a week later, I got a message from CARA that our HSR had been updated and we were in the national waiting list. I called up Conscience Keeper and started making plans for all the travel we could squeeze in. I predicted at least a year of wait – but the big news decided to come in, in 40 minutes flat!
Hardly had I finished my call that I got a message from CARA again – this time notifying us that we were matched! Needless to say, I was in severe shock which made me spend my day in the loo with a serious case of stomach upset.
We had 48 hours to reserve the baby  – we had to choose between two babies, online - but our decision making was easy because well, my mum thought that K looked like me; and my MIL thought K looked just like Conscience Keeper. In two days, we were in Kundapura meeting her in person. She was brought to us, a vision in sunflower yellow. She gave us a broad grin which has now become her trademark –the loveliness of her first smile still brings tears to my eyes. She was placed on the centre table in front of us, and the spirited baby that she is, she immediately tried to roll on one side, almost falling off the table. That’s the moment I am sure Conscience Keeper fell in love with her!
We spent the day conducting various medical tests on her – a painful task but we wanted to make sure that she was healthy, and CARA does allow us to conduct an independent medical test. The results seemed fine, and while the agency told us we could take her home that very day, we still bought ourselves some time to let all these events sink in. We tossed and turned restlessly through the night – waiting for morning to come so that we could go back to her.
Next morning, we went directly to the lawyer’s office for paperwork, and that done, we went to the centre, picked her up and headed to Bangalore (which incidentally was burning, over the Cauvery river dispute with Tamil Nadu). We did a road trip from Kundapura to Mangalore, and she was in high spirits throughout the three hour ride. But the moment we reached the airport, she raised one hell of a storm.
At first, I tried to distract her by showing her pretty little things at Shoppers Stop store inside the airport, but she just would not stop crying. Passersby gave us curious glances and we were getting steadily uncomfortable with the attention. In sheer desperation, I called up A for advice – and it was she who figured out that the poor girl had not been fed in hours. We quickly gave her milk, and within minutes, we were all posing for charming selfies.
We reached Bangalore very late at night, by when thankfully the violence had settled down. My aunt and cousins rushed to our place with balloons and banners and my  mum and V Aunty did a small welcoming puja for her.
The next day – and for many days after – we had streams of friends and relatives coming over to meet K. Since we had never publicly announced our desire to adopt – and those in the know doubted our seriousness – everyone was pretty shocked (In fact, the most common first reaction was WTF!!!) But they all came bearing a lot of love and hugs for little K, and we were overwhelmed with their reactions.
Since her arrival, life has turned topsy turvy in the most glorious way. Conscience Keeper and I, in our rare opportunities for pillow talk, try to remember our lives before K. But we can’t seem to remember a thing!