Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer - Short but Sweet

Maddie and Olivia - cruisin'

Max and Nate - yes, Max seriously went tubing. He did not have Mommy's permission. He loved it. Thank goodness Nate took good care of him. He's such a good role model for my boys.

The kiddos love their Aunt Ang.

All the kids (and Papa Winnie) in their motorized vehicles :)

Lobster - Good to the last drop!

Sharing a Maine meal with our RI cousins

Max Rup didn't want to be left out on the fishing

Myles wanted to go fishing all summer. It was so great to see him fishing with my Uncle Mike - our resident expert. What an added bonus that he hauled in this great bass - reeled it in all by himself. Thank you, Uncle Mike!

Labonte Girl Broadway Trip 2009

Maddie chose to see Mamma Mia - the show I've been boycotting for 10 years (sigh)

Maddie was in heaven at the Dinosaur exhibits

It was too hot for the Zoo, so we went uptown to the Museum of Natural History

Waiting to see Shrek
Last year Madeline and I started a tradition of taking a couple of days at the end of the summer for a girl trip. Maddie and I LOVE Musical theater, so off to Broadway we go - the Mecca of Musical Theater talent.
This year we bought tickets to see Shrek. We seriously considered Hair, but in the end I decided that I was not ready to explain all that would be required :)
We left at 4:30am Tuesday morning to catch a bus in Boston so we wouldn't have to drive all the way down. Next year we'll drive all the way down - Madeline was fine, but Mommy did not do the bus well. By the time we got there I had a migraine and was so motion sick. We checked into our hotel around 3pm, and Madeline watched an hour of Tom and Jerry while I recovered. She was so patient with me.
When Dan and I went down a few months ago we got a great deal on a newly opened hotel right on 8th ave between 44th and 45th streets. I figured it was so cheap because it was just opening, but we got the same great price this time. It makes such a huge difference to stay right in the theater district and be able to go back to the hotel whenever we want. If anyone ever takes a trip there, it's The Milford Plaza. The staff is sweet, it's very clean, and you just can't beat the price for the location.
We grabbed a slice of New York pizza and wandered around the theater district. Maddie loved the new M&M store, and seeing all of the posters and billboards for the shows. We headed over to the theater a bit early. We were both exhausted by that time, and Madeline was really impatient waiting to be able to take our seats. We got a little irritated with each other and a little snappy. It was the only time during the whole trip that I had to speak to her.
We had third row seats - it was amazing. Maddie couldn't believe how close we were and was thrilled that the theater provided booster seats for kids. It really did make a huge difference - I wish all of the shows provided them. I wasn't thrilled with seeing Shrek (although I couldn't wait to see Maddie's reaction). I was just waiting to see Sutton Foster whom I just adore. Great voice, great sense of humor. Of course, we saw those dreaded white squares of paper in the PlayBill indicating that her understudy would be playing the role that evening. I was so disappointed, but I gotta tell you, this gal was great! Her energy and physicality was perfect. Maddie thought she was hilarious! We both really enjoyed the show. The folks sitting next to us told me that they watched Maddie more than the show because her reactions were so great. I continue to be so impressed with Madeline's ability to abide by perfect theater etiquette.
We didn't have tickets for a show the next day, but planned on roaming the ticket booths for SRO tickets (they're usually really cheap). I had never used the TKTS booth, but we figured we'd give it a try instead of risking not getting any tickets. The concierge at the hotel suggested we get in line at 8:30am even though the booths didn't open until 11 - ugh - that's a LONG wait for a 6 year old. Maddie wanted to give it a shot. We were probably the 20th people in line and we lucked out. At 9am a rep. came out and said, "Well folks, the line is short now because people don't expect us to open until 11. We're opening now." Fabulous! Maddie got to choose from the shows available, and of course, she chose Mamma Mia. I have been boycotting this show (and all other jukebox musicals) for 10 years. We had a blast, but it was exactly what I expected. After curtain call they sing a bunch of the songs, and Maddie was belting 'em big time. The lady in front of us thought it was hilarious:)
After the show we had to RUSH to Port Authority -about 11 blocks away from the theater to catch the last bus out. Maddie made me proud. She was a trooper, and jogged along with me without complaint. She chatted nearly the whole bus ride to Boston, and then in the car from Boston home. I'm so proud of her behavior, and how fun she is. I love her sense of humor, how she notices everything, and comments on it, uncensored. I love this special girl time that we get to share every year. I can't wait until next year. Madeline has already decided we'll be seeing Bye Bye Birdie. Sounds good to me :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Looking for Help

We recieved this email from our adoption caseworker yesterday. If you know of anyone who may be helpful to this little guy, please forward this or contact me for more information. Even if you aren't of Indian decent, registering may help someone else. Dan and I are already on the registry.

"Dear Families,

We hope this email finds all of you doing well. We are contacting all of our India families to share with you about a little boy named Ben.

Ben is a 7 year old boy adopted from India/ISRC. He joined his family right before his 1st birthday. Ben was diagnosed in 2007 with systematic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Ben has become very ill in the recent weeks and is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant. In an attempt to help Ben’s family find a possible match for Ben we are sending this to all of our families who have adopted a child/children from India. If you are an individual of Indian Heritage and/or you have an adopted child from India that is 18 years of age or older you can go to the following link and order a kit: and submit it back to the Bone Marrow Registry. "

Friday, August 21, 2009


We received word today that our NOC (No Objections Certificate) has been issued by CARA. This means that early next week our case will be transferred to the Indian court system. This is a two step process where the case will first be scrutinized, and then be heard by a judge who will assign us guardianship. After that we will wait for Probal's passport to be issued, and then we can travel.

As far as time lines go - it is just really unpredictable. The current judge is an interim judge, and no one is sure how long he is staying. If they change judges, it could take a while for the new judge to get into the swing of things. Also, October is a month full of holidays in India, and the courts are closed for the majority of that month. Passport usually takes about 15 business days, but we waited 7.5 weeks for Max Rup's. Unpredictable. I'm praying like crazy that this could all happen before Christmas, but realistically, I don't think that is likely.

In our adoption journeys, we celebrate each step. Each completed step brings us closer to our handsome little guy.

I need to post some summer pics and updates, but I've been way too busy enjoying the long overdue good weather :) I'll get 'em posted soon.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Raksha Bandhan

A strong sibling bond

Three smiling kids after tying Rakhi

Maddie tying Max Rup's Rakhi

Maddie tying Myles' Rakhi

Myles and Max Rup tying Maddie's Rakhi
India has a LOT of holidays. We cannot possibly keep up with all of them, but we do feel it is important to celebrate our sons' culture. We have chosen Raksha Bandhan as the time to do this every year. Here is a brief description of this sweet holiday:
"The annual 'festival' of Raksha Bandhan, which is meant to commemorate the abiding ties between siblings of opposite sex, usually takes place in late August, and is marked by a very simple ceremony in which a woman ties a rakhi — which may be a colorful thread, a simple bracelet, or a decorative string — around the wrist of her brother(s). The word 'raksha' signifies protection, and 'bandhan' is an association signifying an enduring sort of bond; and so, when a woman ties a rakhi around the wrist of her brother, she signifies her loving attachment to him. He, likewise, recognizes the special bonds between them, and by extending his wrist forward, he in fact extends the hand of his protection over her. The thread-tying ceremony is sometimes preceded by the woman conducting aarti before her brother, so that the blessings of God may be showered upon him, and this is to the accompaniment of her enunciation or chanting of a mantra, which may be in Sanskrit or one of the other Indian languages. In Punjabi, for instance, the mantra says: 'Suraj shakhan chhodian / Mooli chhodia beej / Behen ne rakhi bandhi / Bhai tu chir jug jee', which can be roughly translated as follows: 'The sun radiates its sunlight / the radish seeds / I (the sister) tied the rakhi / brother, may you live long.' After the conclusion of the ceremony, she places a sweet in her mouth, and he might return the gesture. The brother bestows a small gift upon his sister."
We use this day to play Indian music, talk about the country, and it's people. We cook a huge Indian meal, and then our children exchange Rakhi. Traditionally, the brothers receive Rakhi from their sisters, and present their sisters with other small gifts, but Maddie loves the idea of the Rakhi, so our boys present her with one as well. The kids donned their Indian outfits for the exchange, and we also tried some Bengali sweets this year.
This year I also attempted to cook some of the meal from scratch. This is no small feat considering #1 - I am not a chef nor do I enjoy pretending to be, and #2 - it is difficult to find a lot of the ingredients used in Indian fare in this area. But we managed, and I think it came out alright.
I get emotional on days like this when we really focus on the boys' roots, etc. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to expand our family this way. We have been so enriched by the experience, and these days make me think of the people in their lives before us. I think of their birth parents, the amazing Ayahs. This year I missed Mason Probal like crazy, and thought about having 4 kids by the lake next summer. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make these days and traditions special because I feel a huge responsibility to make sure my boys know how proud we are of their heritage, and that we never want to forget any part of it.