A: Entire process for us was 2 years 2 1/2 months. why so long?? Mumbai is an area of India that typically takes a little longer than some other areas.
A: We applied 6/30/2010 - and got our referral of our daughter the end of March 2011
Mid-July 2011 we received our Article 5 letter
End of November 2011 we received NOC
April 18, 2012 (about) we were approved through the court system
May 2012 - her passport was applied for and it was received mid August 2012
A: Our agency required this document. Basically it involves reading MANY adoption books (I think around 13 books) and establishing a plan for a bunch of issues such as finding a support group, thinking about doctors and therapy your child may need to see, what plans are for school, parenting, learning facts about India. Developing the service plan was a blessing to us because it required us to find our support group and also led us to attending adoption seminars that included Dr. Purvis. It also took time during the LONG wait :) - made you feel like you are working towards something in the process of waiting.
3.) Who is Dr. Purvis?
A: Dr. P. is a national treasure that performs research and also established TCU Institute of Child Development. (Texas Christian University). She travels the globe helping mentor families, orphanages, etc. on how to care for "children in the hard places". This basically means any child that may have been in a non-typical environment - orphanage, foster program, neglect, etc. Her website has a whole host of information that you may find useful. If you get a chance to attend one of her conferences....take it! You will be blessed.
4.) How much did the adoption cost?
A: Granddaddy total, including travel expenses, etc. - approx. $32,500 Don't let this alarm you, it is paid out over time and you will be surprised if you do fundraising how God will provide for your journey in ways you can't even imagine.
5.) Where is your daughter from?
A: Bal Asha Trust (BAT) in Mumbai, India. Private email me if you have questions about Bal Asha.
6.) Why is she getting physical therapy?
A: When a child doesn't develop in a typical home environment with one-on-one attention, the child may have subtle physical challenges that only after a bit of study do you realize she may have missed something. In our case, we question whether our daughter ever really crawled much or had much belly play time. She has a weak trunk (her middle section of her body...belly, back, upper arms, upper legs). Therefore, she falls easily, is off balance, and doesn't have a strong body awareness. She runs and plays like many other children, she's just sortof like a "bull in a china shop" unaware of body control. It is subtle....but none the less she needs to be stronger in the middle so once her "gross motor" skills are more smooth and she's more confident with her body awareness, then her "fine motor" skills will develop along the way more efficiently. We are told gross motor develops (large muscles used for playing, balancing, etc.)....and THEN fine motor are developed (ability to hold a pencil, for example or open the toothpaste cap, etc.).... why do we need fine motor - because going to school in a few short years will required these skills. Plus the brain is all developing right along with these things - when all this stuff develops typically or is caught up through intervention -- learning becomes easier down the road.
7.) How much of this were you aware of before you met your daughter?
A: We knew she had some PT while in India for low muscle tone, but we were told she was finished with PT and didn't need anything further. The best way to tell, we think is see if your child can do a few simple things like, can she stand on one foot and balance herself without holding on to anything, can she skip or jump, and how well does she go up and down stairs? Does she fall down often or easily trip over small items (or does she pick one foot up and walk over small items (like a toy) for example. It's likely if she's 3 years old and still has a bit of challenge in these areas, she may have a weak trunk and should be evaluated. I've used this website through the years with Joshua.... this is a link for milestones. http://www.babycenter.com/milestone-charts-birth-to-age-3
8.) What things are you doing at home to make her stronger?
A: Hoola-hoop! Not the traditional way though, we hold a hoola-hoop horizontal and about 5 inches off the floor and she steps into the circle with one foot and then with the other.....it has been amazing how this skill has developed!
She lays on her belly to play a peg board - builds belly, neck, and upper arm strength.
She lays on her belly and pulls herself around on a scooter board - back and forth through the kitchen.
Lots of playing at the park on jungle gym. Pulling herself up the side stairs, etc.
9.) Where did you stay in New Delhi? The hotel connected to the malls??
A: Hilton Garden Inn at Saket http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/india/hilton-garden-inn-new-delhi-saket-hotel-DELSKGI/index.html
10.) How much cash did your travel with to India?
A: $3,000 (for tour guides ($200), medical exam ($40 - I think), Anjali's VISA ($220), gifts and things for Lauren (we spent about $600), meals, tips, drivers, and emergencies). We came back with about $1300 (I think). Hotel and airfare was on credit card.
11.) How challenging while in India and now at home is the language barrier?
A: In India, many people speak english - with the exception of a few taxi drivers, we had no problems with communication. With Lauren at home -- it's amazing, she seems to understand english very well....or at least complies with what we ask of her like, "go wash your hands, or go sit at the table, or do you want something to eat?".... she obeys or nods, gives hand guestures, etc.... we on the other hand can't understand her verbal jabbering.... but we are hoping this comes along quickly through preschool -- she is picking up some words. She hasn't been home even two months yet - so we'll see how much she says in two or three more months :)
12.) Why was your daughter going to OT?
A: She's a sensory seeker. The best way to understand sensory issues, I've found is summarized at this link. http://www.essortment.com/symptoms-sensory-disorders-children-57219.html I'm sure we will return to OT sometime next year - but right now we are trying to settle in and also focus on PT. Plus, having been through several OT sessions and exercises, we know what calms her - so we are still giving her a bunch of sensory inputs (like swinging her, bouncing her, holding her upside down (this she LOVES - and begs for more of), we play a bunch of music, she pounds on the piano, she plays with the kid drums in the basement.... lots and lots of activities :)
13.) How did you know what size of clothes and shoes to take to India?
A: This was a hard one - because for Anjali -- her length is 36 inches and she weighs 26 lbs. So if you look at clothes tags most would tell you to purchase based on weight of 12 to 18 months -- but for her it's too small most of the time because of her length, her arms are somewhat long too. So if your referral is about this size and weight - I'd bring 2T night gowns (no footed PJ's) - other PJ's we took were 12 month Carter brand and they fit (at least the bottoms stay on)... they are a bit crop in length and sleeves are 3/4 in length. She mostly wears 24 month pants and 2T or 3T shirts. Sounds unusual, but her waist is tiny and pants tend to fall off. We also took a bunch of leggings - which worked great. As with any clothes - the nicer brands you can usually wear a smaller size, lower cost brands like target, etc usually need a larger size...she wears 3T in Circo Target brand tops and 2T leggings.
Shoes were hard - because we had NO idea what size. We took some mostly open sandals which gave her a feel of barely having shoes on..... we took sizes 4, 5, and 6 -- she mostly wears size 5 now.... which is pretty small for a three year old, I'm told. Her feet are wide - I'm thinking because mostly running bare foot - keep that in mind too -- our sandals were sketchers (velcro adjustable over toes and ankle) - worked great!
14.) Who booked your travel and how did you book the in-country flight between Mumbai and New Delhi? Remind me again, why did you have to go to New Delhi?
A: We used Tabitha Lovell - we priced many places, including Golden Rule and Tabitha was the cheapest. She also booked the in-country flight between Mumbai to New Delhi. Tabitha and her husband really have a love for the Lord and serve families with their servant, kind, patient heart.
Her website is www.adoptionairfare.com
We had to go to New Delhi to the US Embassy to obtain Lauren's VISA to enter into the US.
........................more to come later......................