We made it home! We are all in one piece, and the travel portion wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.
As we were in line to board our plane in New Delhi, Dan's phone rang with a "multimedia message." How amazing to open it up and see a picture of my brand new nephew! He looked so great, and is doing very well. I am sad that I won't see him for some time since I can't very well leave Mason or cart him off to another destination right now.
Mason slept through the flight from New Delhi to Amsterdam. The 7 hour layover in Amsterdam was not a friend to any of us. Mason was miserable, and did this really great thing where he yanks your hair, hits you, and screams this ungodly scream while throwing his head back as far as he can. It garnered lots of stares from others, and made me feel like a horrible mother. There was just nothing I could do about it. He did this as we were waiting to board the second plane and I could feel all of the penetrating stares, and hear the thoughts of, "Oh, please let me be sitting as far away from them as possible." I though it would be the longest 8 hours of my life.
As soon as the plane engines started, he was asleep, and I had to wake him up to get off the plane in Boston. The gentleman in the seat in front of me turned around and said, "I can't believe he didn't wake up once. I really thought you were in for a long flight." Phew, so did I.
It was so nice to land in Boston and have people really cater to us. We were moved to the front of the immigration line, and waited less than 5 minutes for them to process his visa paperwork. People were friendly, curious, and accomodating.
As we walked out of the international terminal, I saw the most beautiful sight - my babies! Max Rup came running up and I was anticipating a big hug, and a request to be held. Instead he yelled, "Mason!" and hug his new little brother. So sweet. Aunt Dawn brought the kids, and Dan's brother brought his family from Providence to greet us! They also came when we brought Max Rup home, and it was so nice to see their faces again. Their kids and ours play so well together - and they certainly raised heck at the airport :)
Mason did pretty well on the 3 hour ride home. He cried a bit, and isn't very fond of his carseat, but for the most part, he slept and was quiet. Max Rup had a rougher time. He just wanted me to hold him, and it was so hard not to.
When we got home it was very late, but the kids were pretty wired. Mason thought the kids were absolutely hilarious, and it was great to watch them interact and bond a bit. Myles couldn't wait to show Mason the cat, and Mason loved the cat, although we clearly need to work on the meaning of gentle. Mason is terrified of our dog, which will be difficult for a while since Copper is a huge part of our family. We'll work on it slowly.
The three weary travellers cleaned up and everyone crashed for the night. Hopefully we can quickly get back on Eastern Standard Time. I felt like I never adjusted to the time change, so I shouldn't have too much of a problem. We'll see how Daddy and Mason do.
I think we'll have some visitors today, and Grammie and Grampy are coming over for a low-key Thanksgiving tomorrow. We'll make sure to get lots of pics of the kids together, and post some soon.
We are praying that our friends Shad and Maggie were able to resolve their issues in India, and bring their little girl home in time for Thanksgiving with their boys! As annoying as our problems were over their, we didn't have any issues with the paperwork to get Mason home. It certainly put things in perspective for us!
He got into this position from laying down all by himself!
Oh, my happy boy.
This guy saved us when our hotel car didn't return, and we didn't have our hotel address. I wish we could have had him with us our whole trip, he was soooo sweet!
For Maddie, who I know I've disappointed with my lack of animal pictures :(
Cute, isn't he, Maddie
So we attempted to go out yesterday. We made a brief trip to the Red Fort in Old Delhi. It was nice to get out of the hotel room, but again turned into a rough day. Here are some pics none the less, and a couple cute pics of Mason in the room. As bad as everything else has been, he has been wonderful. We'll be in Boston at 4:10pm on Tuesday and just want to go straight home. I want my kids there because I can't wait an extra three hours to see them.
Gotta tell you, it didn't start out well again, and I was just about at the end of my rope. Our embassy appointment was at 10am, so we had arranged for a hotel car at 9am. For those that know me well, you know how I HATE to be late. At 9 we headed downstairs, and there was no car. At ten past we mentioned it to the concierge who told us that we should have gotten our driver's number. Dan said, "you didn't give me his number, you said you'd have a car waiting at 9!" He did not remember that he was supposed to make the arrangements, but assured us there was "no problem." It's a line we hear often over here, and offers no comfort to me. At 9:35 we were still waiting! Finally our car pulls up, but has to stop for directions to the embassy. It was after 10 when we drove up and then we had to wait in line to turn Dan's cell phone in.
When we walked into the embassy, we saw familiar faces of two other families, one of which we spent time with in Kolkata, and one whose blog I have followed, and we have been emailing. It was so comforting to see those familiar faces, and get to chat with them while we waited.
And I can't believe I'm going to say this, but the embassy was a breeze! The staff was delightful and easy to deal with. Downright friendly! They asked for only his visa pictures, the fee, legals, and NOC. They told us we could come back later, or wait in the American Citizen's lounge and it would be about an hour! From start to finish we were there less than 2 hours, and we were comfortable and happy the whole time!
We are very relieved to have ALL of our paperwork taken care of. Dan immediately felt better with that behind us. We were hoping to get to Agra today (Saturday), but yesterday I felt worse than I had felt the whole trip, so we just didn't dare. Of course, this morning I feel much better, and I'm kicking myself for not taking the chance! We are going to try to see some of Old Delhi, which we missed last time because of a Sikh festival that was going on. It will be wonderful to get out of this hotel room, and then perhaps I'll have a few pics to post. What a boring blog it's been this trip!
We still cannot wait to get home to our babies. I miss them terribly, and cannot wait to see Mason Probal interact with them. He's been a trooper, but has to be bored in this room with only two adults! As he gets used to us, he is eating better, becoming more demanding, and sitting up a little better. I'm sure we'll see very fast progress once we get home!
Heading into our room at the Kenilworth - btw - we LOVED this place!
Clothing shop in Kolkata
Happily riding with Daddy
Yeah, this is pretty much what we do
We woke up this morning to head to the embassy medical appointment. We are not happy with our accommodations here at all. The room is tiny, food is awful, and the staff is abrupt, and not very responsive, though they are not shy about telling you exactly what you "need" to tip them.
Our driver was very nice, and knew right where the doctor lived. We got there at about 9:30am. They went through Mason's paperwork and told us that he would need 4 immunizations. I knew that this was a possibility, and I knew that we could get a waiver before we left, but I guess I just didn't think it would happen, or that he would need that many. Honestly, it was one more piece of paperwork, and I just didn't do it. I certainly regret that now. The cost of the medical was supposed to be 1600 rupees, and we brought a little extra just in case. Well, with the 4 immunizations he needed, we ended up having to pay 8,300 rupees! We didn't even have that much with us, so I stayed and went through the appointment with Mason, while Dan and our driver had to go to a marketplace, and our driver exchanged money for us. He was very nice about it, and guided Dan every step of the way.
The medical exam was brief, the doctor asked a few questions about his health issues, was a little rude about the fact that he couldn't stand up yet, and was frustrated that I couldn't tell him whether Mason was aware of when he is urinating and defecating. First of all, he hasn't defecated yet, and he's 2.5, so we really haven't been watching for huge signs of awareness in the whole 3 days we've known him. We've kind of had bigger fish to fry. Then the immunizations - ugh. The lady giving them was very nice, but SOOOO slow! The vials looked very antiquated, and since NONE of Max Rup's immunizations from India took, we are not very confident in them. She would give him one, and then wipe wipe wipe the area until the blood completely stopped before moving on to preparing the next one. Of course Mason was SCREAMING the whole time. I was crying - it was the first time I'd heard him really cry. He did that whimpering thing the first night, but has been really happy every since.
We waited another hour and a half for the doctor to finish the paperwork we need for the Embassy - this sounds like a long time, but he could have asked us to come back later today or tomorrow, so we were very happy to just wait there.
We are both feeling pretty awful. I think the food, time change, stress of all the little mishaps, are finally catching up with us. It's frustrating, because we want to do so much, see things while we're here, experience at least a little of India. We haven't had the chance to do that at all. We're hoping to feel better this weekend and do a bit of sightseeing. We haven't taken a lot of pics to post (sorry) because we've really been holed up in the room for most of the trip.
There is also something big going on back home which is unexpected, and I'm having a really hard time being away while it's going on. I've been asked not to share it on here, but it's a big deal, and I'm very upset that I can't be there, know what's going on, etc. It affects who my kids are staying with, and makes me very thankful that we have so many family members that my kids love and trust. We know that they are safe and happy :)
Not a very uplifting post, but do know that we are safe, Mason seems happy, and we're ready to come home. Just a few more days.
Just a quick one today, because I'm exhausted. We're safe in New Delhi. Dan has had it with all of the little frustrations we've had along the way. It's so strange, because I've been pretty relaxed about it - complete role reversal for us. We're both ready to go home, though. We went shopping today, picked up some wicked cute children's suits.
Tomorrow - the embassy medical, and then probably nothing. We're just worn. Probal is still doing really well. Handled the flight very well, but didn't like take off and landing. They had touch screen tv's on the backs of all of the seats. He figured it out in short order, and thought it was hilarious that he could keep changing the screen. He also learned how to say light today. He rocks :)
Everything is still going really well. Mason woke up a little confused, but once he got his bearings, he did fine. We joined the other Dillon family for breakfast. It's nice to have someone else here to identify with. I think Mason has some issues with swallowing. He'll take whatever we put in his mouth, but he doesn't really get the concept of drinking out of a glass, and seems to have a hard time swallowing even the softest fruits, etc. We assumed that he would be drinking out of a cup, but that is clearly not the case. Ms. Roy told us he is still using a bottle. Thankfully, the other Dillon family gave us one of their bottles to use for him. We'll try that this afternoon, and stick with really soft porridge, etc. until we get home and get him figured out a bit.
He talks a lot more than we expected. He doesn't say a lot of English words, but he says several Bengali. He said his name yesterday - it was very cute. Meagan, he definitely needs your help with a decent hairdo. And the boy has hair everywhere - it's very cute.
He loves to play and will immitate us. He likes to be tickled, and I'm attempting to post a video of his cute little laugh. He can sit up, but he's very tippy. We call him humpty dumpty - he kinds of just slowly tips to one side. It's hard to get him dressed because of the stiffness in all his limbs, but it's odd because sometimes he's very bendy. He's awkward to carry, because of the stiffness, and also because he doesn't really hold on yet. I'm afraid Maddie will be disappointed - she won't be hauling him all over the place :) I cannot get over how long he is. Much taller than Max. And he seems to weigh more, but maybe not.
Overall, I'd say we're doing quite well. We'll stay in the hotel today, and then tomorrow we'll hire a car to get his visa pics done, do a little shopping, and then get us to the airport. The feeling of relief is wonderful. I think we'll try to call home in the U.S. morning, and set up a time to chat. I haven't talked to the kids, and I miss them very much. I can't believe we've still got a week before we see them again. Too Long!
Well, today was interesting. We barely slept last night, partly from our internal clocks being messed up with the time difference, and partly because we knew what today would bring. At 8am Daniel called the children's home. He was told something that he didn't understand, and the person hung up. We went to breakfast, and called back at 9am. We were told to call Ms. Roy at 11 at a different number. We did, and got cut off. We called back and were given yet another number to reach her. This time we got through, and we were able to make an appointment for 2:30pm. These waits are endless. We played a lot of cribbage, and watched a lot of Discovery Channel.
At 1:30, the car arrived, stating it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get there. We got there half an hour early, so we asked him to drive around. He did, and we arrived precisely on time. We were met at our car by Dipak, who we know from our last go around. He escorted us to the consulate to get Max Rup's visa. He handed us a note from Ms. Roy, asking us to go back to the hotel and wait. That she would bring Probal to the hotel. He handed us his cell phone and Ms. Roy was on the phone repeating the message, only stating that there was a problem in Kolkata, and she'd tell us when she got here.
More waiting! My nerves were shot already, but we managed to hold it together with more cribbage. MS. Roy was on time. Bottom line is that we have Mason. I won't go into the "problem," just because I don't know if I should. To the families waiting for pictures and news of their babies - I am SO sorry! This was not our choice, but we do feel it was necessary.
Mason was all smiles and snuggles for a while. He loves to throw things, loves to read. He has this cute thing where he puts his hand up to his face like he's sucking his thumb, but he's not really sucking anything. Then for a while he would look at the door, whimper and pout. It was very sad, and has come back a few times. We expect more for sure. He ate some dinner, and then promptly threw it up. I hated giving him a bath so soon, but the minute we walked into the bathroom he grinned and said "tubby". He splashed and played, got into some jammies, and now he's chatting up a storm!
We are all winding down, and ready for sleep. We met the folks in the next room who are recieving their daughter tomorrow. They seem like a sweet couple, and we're hoping to get the kids together tomorrow evening.
I don't think we'll be doing much for a while. Laying low, and getting used to each other. That's just fine by us. He's wonderful, perfect for us, and we're completely in love with our son! Sorry it took so long to post, but it's been quite a ride today!
We arrived safely in Kolkata this morning. All of our flights were on time and relatively smooth! The dry air didn't help my sinuses, but they are recoverng thanks to humid India :) We took the shuttle between airports in New Delhi which was WAY easier and better than a prepaid cab adventure - and it was free! Our driver from the Kenilworth was waiting when we got to Kolkata, and we were so glad to see him. Neither of us is capable of sleeping on a plane (I even took sleep meds, and it bought me about 20 minutes of sleep), so we were exhausted.
We slept all day today, will venture out for dinner soon, and then get everything ready for tomorrow. We miss our babies, but we are SO excited to meet Mason!
OK, here's what our trip will look like. It is longer than we planned because we had to book without a confirmed appointment with the embassy, so we had to leave a bit of wiggle room. The good thing is that if Mason is doing well, we'll have time to go to Agra.
Friday Nov. 13 Leave Boston 7:05pm Nov. 14 Arrive Amsterdam 8:10am Leave Amsterdam 11:10am Arrive New Delhi 11:30pm
Get from the International to Domestic Airport Nov. 15th Leave New Delhi 6:05am Arrive Kolkata 8:15am
Sleep and recover!!
Nov. 16th GET MASON! Nov. 17 &18 Get to know Mason, may do a bit of shopping if he's doing ok. Nov. 18 Leave Kolkata 5:30pm Arrive New Delhi 7:40pm
We will be in New Delhi through the 23rd. Somewhere in there we have to do the medical and our embassy appointment. If Mason's doing ok, we'll do Agra on Saturday. We will get to meet friends of ours (if we're all up for it) on Sunday who are there to bring home their daughter!
Nov. 24 Leave New Delhi 1:40am Arrive Amsterdam 5:55am Leave Amsterdam 2pm Arrive Boston 4:10pm HOME, HUG MY BABIES, RECOVER
The best news in the entire world came this morning. Mason's passport is done, and we are free to travel. Of course it would come now, when I am sick and Maddie is getting sick, and I have zero energy or focus to do anything. I am trying to balance plans and preparations with resting and recovering.
I don't have a fever anymore, so we are tentatively leaving on Friday. Our airline tickets are on hold until I can call the US Embassy in India to get an appointment. Our Gotcha Day will be either Monday or Tuesday. We are currently debating what to do about our anticipated trip to Agra. I feel so run down right now, that I'm afraid even if I feel better by Friday, adding this one omre thing (and it's a daunting thing from what I've heard) may not be in our best interest. I want to be ready to completely focus on Mason when we get him. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. We may wait and do it at the end of our trip IF there is extra time and IF we feel like Mason would tolerate it.
The important thing is that we will FINALLY meet our son in less than a week. I am drained, but so relieved.
I'm worried that my kids will be sick while I'm gone. I know they have amazing people looking after them (seriously, we wouldn't be able to do this if it weren't for my fabulous mother, aunt, and sister), but it's not the same as being with Mom. My Dad has graciously volunteered to take care of our multitude of animals (even the lizards, God Bless Him!).
Can't really think of anything else right now. We'll post our finalized itinerary tomorrow. We will be blogging over there and would love to hear from everyone! If you feel the need to pray, pray for health in the Labonte house :)
I know this one's on facebook, but it needed to be here too :)
The crazy kids "carvesting" pumpkins
Batman, Cat in the Hat, and Magenta Mystic. They were not cooperative with photos.
This hen has decided to live in the breezeway, and visit the house for seed treats. She lays in an old chair.
He looks like trouble in this batch :)
All smiles as usual.
Happy to interact.
Causing trouble for the Ayahs :)
So, the update is that the computers are up and running in India. We hope this means that our passport will be issued very soon. We're hoping by Friday since our travel agent is on vacation starting Friday. As much as I'd like to wait for her to return, I'm not sure I'm capable of waiting one more second for this boy, so we might go it alone with a bit of help from my cousin who is familiar with the travel industry. Pray for passport SOON!