For Junu

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Contrast

One of the first few days with Junu in Nepal (December 2010)...the first time around.

Just recently, at home, in her cozy jammies. (August 2011)

Contrast.  It's been significant.  I am astounded at what has transpired within the last 12 months and often I need to catch my breath.  Half way around the world, different language, different foods, alone and now together.  We made it through.  Now as we have had a chance to get "more settled" in, I use "more settled" loosely,  I see what has been consistent throughout this past year...contrast.  The greatest happiness coupled with the greatest sadness, total desperation and complete faith, a peace that passes all understanding and a fear that wakes me up at night, total order and complete disarray.  Sometimes I feel smooth and together, other days like a Picasso figure.  This year has held the greatest financial challenges I have ever experienced and well, continue to experience, but then I am rich beyond measure.  It has brought me closer to my family, made me see what is truly important and helped me slow down to be present, both for Junu and for myself.  There will always be unknowns, there will always be challenges, some of which will bring you to your knees...I think I hit that today.  I realize for the first time, truly, I need to surrender.  Surrender my need to do it on my own, to be so fiercely independent, to not ask for help, to not reach out when I need to.  Have you ever had situations in your life that just keep getting more and more complex, intense, convoluted and  just when you think it will end then wham, something else?  If you were to take an aerial photo of me right now, you'd probably see something akin to a whirlwind...okay I'm being kind here, really more what feels like a hurricane.  The one stabilizing force (and we all know what a force she is) is Junu.  She makes me smile when I want to cry, gives me strength when I want to pull the covers over my head and reminds me to be patient as all comes in the right time.  For 3 years she had no mother to hold her at night, to cuddle her, to wipe her hair out of her eyes or to kiss her booboos.  There were no comforts of a true home. When I feel the pressure of any particular situation right now, I am reminding myself to look back and see how far we have come.  It only takes a moment to realize how truly special and precious life is and how blessed I am to travel this journey with Junu. 

As I believe, God is at the center of everything, so all that has happened and continues to happen is part of the greater plan.  Seeing through the problem to the answer is a moment by moment practice.  So while there are still many unknowns and many challenges, I rest in the knowing that Junu and I were set on this path together and along this journey many beautiful people have joined us.  Both of our lives are fuller and richer because of one another....and all the other spinning out of control stuff, well it just has to take a back seat now.  I really am trusting, even on the darkest of days, even when I've been brought to my knees, it is often here that I truly listen.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baby Junu

http://www.flickr.com/photos/drwhimsy/2796729564/in/dateposted/
 
I was gifted a great treasure, a baby picture of Junu.  Through this blog a very kind person shared this picture of Junu.  She was quite certain I was speaking of the same Junu as friends of hers adopted their child from the same orphanage.  In a round-about way, Junu's baby picture made it to me.  Thank you for your kindness in sharing.  I can tell you that the photographer's take on Junu is absolutely spot on, "impishness" was the word I believe.  She is full of it and I will be a very busy mother as a result.  I wouldn't have it any other way as she is absolutely perfect for me.  I love her spunk, her joy of life and her interest in people.  She wants to know everything, constantly asking "What's this?" or "Who's this?".  She is stifled a bit in her verbal expressive language skills as her comprehension is so great and cognitively she seems she could tell me about more than I even know, but her ability to facilitate her language with gestures, facial expressions, etc. is, shall I say, extraordinary to me.  She may be the most expressive child I've known.  I am fascinated by it all and once again finding myself so grateful for this most precious child.  How was I the one chosen to be her mother?  I am so very blessed and thank God for her.  I thank God for all the kind people in our lives, there are so many.  I feel that both of our lives have expanded in ways we could never imagine.  I am very fortunate and remain ever grateful to all of our old friends and now our new friends.  Truly, life is constantly expanding...we shall see where we go next.
Thank you again.
Sharlyn

Friday, April 15, 2011

Home!

Junu and her Buwa.  So happy to be together again!

Getting ready to go visit her new school.

Eating eggs at school!



Junu and I have been home now for nearly 2 weeks.  Re-entry has been challenging.  There are so many mixed up emotions, but I will save them for a later post...perhaps.  Junu is doing great overall.  When I sit down and really take in all she has been through, all the changes, I am amazed at her resilience and ability to adapt.  She is curious and interested in everything and everyone.  She trusts me and all that we have been through together has only made our bond stronger.  I realize now, despite this most difficult challenge, that the way it unfolded was absolutely perfect.  This is where trusting in God's plan comes into play.  If Junu's adoption had gone as I had planned and hoped for, I would have spent 2 weeks in Nepal and then she would have come back to the U.S. with me.  I would have had perhaps only 2 weeks at home with her before I would need to go back to work.  There would have been so much we missed, which now seems invaluable.  Invaluable to our relationship and to our future.

The blessings have been plentiful.  I am constantly humble by this experience and I believe it will continue to shape the direction of my life.  With this challenge I received the blessing of having nearly 3 months to bond and attach with Junu and she to me.  I experienced her culture, her language and the many beautiful people who we now consider family.  I slowly have learned some Nepali and she has quickly learned much English.  We were able to spend 2 major chunks of time with 3 dear friends in Nepal who will now also know and understand Junu's first home.  We developed relationships with other American families who will be life long friends.  We learned to really trust and love each other in Nepal.  How could this be wrong?  I have learned, once again, no matter what lies before you, if you trust and keep your mind in this place of trusting, there often will be more blessings than you can imagine.  Blessings that only God could configure.  Truly.

We now are adjusting to another set of challenges since returning to the U.S., but I am not fretting, I am not worrying, I am trusting.  All the energy I put into worry is wasted energy.  I choose to focus on goodness, endurance, patience, trust, fun and joy.  I'm not being airy fairy, really I'm not, I just know deeper that negative talk and negative thoughts have a great impact on my furture.  Why not hope and believe the best can happen despite the appearances?  Why not visualize your perfect life and know that all the difficulties that arise may just be the path to that perfect life?  There are always treasures and I now further understand that the greater the treasure is often the greater the challenge.  Patience, perseverance, and faith!!!

Much gratitude to all,

Sharlyn


Monday, April 4, 2011

CL

Claudia and Junu

All Hail the Toothache God.  Really, a shrine for the Toothache God, behind my girls. 

Monkey Temple

Claudia and Junu were very happy to be the same!  Yellow girls. 

Namaste at the Botanical Gardens

An Irish Pub in Nepal????  Why yes!  Happy St. Patrick's Day
I realize that during my second stay here in Nepal I have barely written on the blog.  Writing has been a way for me to stay connected and to continue to express the various experiences and emotions that have come my way.  I suppose adjusting my time with a very busy active minded 3 year old is part of the reason.  While Junu and I are now home in the U.S.  I still want to share these pictures and stories.  Thank you for reading all.


Claudia and I have been friends for 9 years.  Our friendship was  instantaneous.  In these past 9 years we both have been through many changes/challenges and have been supportive to one another along the way.   True friends.   She has always known how much I have wanted to become a mother and has watched me from the beginning make the commitment towards motherhood.  She was there to  give encouragement and a listening ear when  I chose to give up aspects of my life which I really didn't want to give up ...but I did.  All the delays, the frustration, the confusion and the tears...all the excitement, the  hope and the challenges.  Finally the dream became real and Claudia was there to jump up and down, which we did, when she saw the picture of Junu for the first time.  Thank you cl for always being there to make me laugh, let me cry and help me hold the vision when I was unsure if I could.   

Claudia was planning on joining me when I left for Nepal on January 26th, but due to unforeseen circumstances, she was unable to come.  So I went alone.  She kept telling me, "This is just a delay....I am still coming."  She is a woman of her word.  I am so thankful and moved by the fact that she was willing to take the time to be with Junu and I all the way on the other side of the world.  She and Junu were bff's in less than 1 minute.  I felt my whole body relax knowing she was here with us.  She helped us stay busy and stay positive.  She was here when I recieved my approval phone call and accompanied us to the embassy for our interview.  She made us the most delicious of dinners, which helped Junu expand her repertoire.  Most of all she showed total acceptance, love and endearment towards Junu.  She helped me through all the rough spots with Junu this week (i.e. hitting, biting, pinching, etc.) and continued to help Junu process and understand.  We laughed often and enjoyed the simple blessing a child brings.  Perfect in every way. 

My heart is so full and I am so thankful for Claudia's love and friendship.  I look forward to many summers of fun in LI, trips to NYC with Junu (especially during the  holiday season) and most of all just sharing in each others' live and seeing our beautiful children interact and grow up together.  Thank you CL,  little Junu loves her Claudi. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Approval!!

A quick update.  We have received approval for Junu's visa and are preparing to go pick it up on Friday at the embassy.  We are so happy to know we will be coming home to such wonderful people.  I can't tell you what it has meant to me to have the love and support of so many.  I couldn't have done this alone, so thank you again and again to all of you.  I look forward to the next step while at the same time continuing to be present and grateful for today.  Love to you all from Nepal. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More Photos

First day with Seneca and Robin
Playdoh magic!
Group photo at Pashaputi
Junu chasing pigeons and me chasing Junu
Seneca and Supria
Love this one!!
Our first day out of Kathmandu.  In Nagarkut, the countryside.  See the Himalayas?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Our First Visitors Came, Landed :) and Left :(

Pahaputi

Junu and Uncle Pandey at Pashaputi

Junu and Seneca in their Nepali hats...and me

Junu and Uncle Pandey in Nagarkut.  Himalayas in background.  This was the countryside outing.

Junu and Auntie Robin

Junu and Robin at the Dream Garden

Seneca and Junu looking at the fish.

Seneca at Sahayogi Samaj.  She and Supria (little one in the pink) were fast friends!  Again, Seneca is AMAZING with children. 
My dear friend Robin and  her most beautiful and precious daughter Seneca came to visit Junu and I.  I can't tell you how wonderful it was to have a bit of home right her in Nepal.  Our visit was PERFECT and Junu has clearly bonded with both Robin and Seneca (or "Senca" as Junu says).  It was reassuring for me to see her bond and attach with others.  Our visit was filled with many day trips; some simple, some more extensive such as our visit to the countryside.  In addition, Robin and Seneca did some of their own sightseeing while Junu and I hung out at home (I hadn't been feeling well, respiratory stuff again).  Each evening we would gather for dinner at home and while Junu and Seneca did art (markers, playdoh, etc.) Robin and I enjoyed a glass of wine together.

Seneca was amazing on this trip!! For 9 years old she is quite brave and curious.  She tried new things easily, enjoyed the Nepali culture and played like a pro with Junu.  Actually she is quite gifted with children and teaching!!!  A true pleasure for me, since I haven't spent this much condensed time with her since she was a wee little girl.  I am looking forward to watching her grow, she is so special!

I cried when Robin and Seneca left.  I have felt so much love and nurturing from Robin and she really felt like my security blanket (Bin, how do you like that comparison??).  Even now my eyes are brimming with tears.  Just very grateful for the love and friendship.  I am so happy to know that when we come home, Junu will already have familiarity.  Skype has been great and I think this is also going to help her when we return.

I was reminded by a sweet friend of mine, Margo, to enjoy my time here in Nepal with Junu as it is truly precious.  That my feelings of wanting to go home may be something she may feel when she comes to the U.S.  She loves Nepali people, because she is one, but even more, she really likes people.  People here are very loving and interested in children and many times a day she is swept out of my arms and into the arms of a kind person who wants to adore her.  She certainly enjoyed all the love from Robin and Seneca.  She wanted to be in their arms almost as much as mine.  Makes me feel very happy in my heart. 

Well, I just wanted to give a little update, it's been some time since I last wrote.  Seems difficult to get time and cooperation from the load shedding here, to get things posted.  I will do my best to add more soon.

Much love to all.
Sharlyn

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Goodbye Sweet Lucy

Sweet Silly Lucy
So since I've been in Nepal I've continued to stay in touch with Nancy, the woman who is fostering my two dogs, Lucy and Polly.  They have been doing great and she has been actively seeking to find them a home.  Often, as you pet owners can imagine, I just miss them soooo much.  I will then email Nancy and she always is kind enough to take time to email me back.  The girls are doing great.  Well today when I checked to see if I had received a response from Nancy, my heart took a big plummet to the ground, Lucy is going to her new home on Saturday.  I'm happy that Nancy found the perfect home for her, but this means she is really going away and there is no chance of me seeing her again.  You all might be thinking I'm so emotional as most of my posts have to do with some sad topics, but it's just where I'm at.  The entire time before I left for Nepal I had blinders on, trying to stay focused on getting to Junu.  Now that I'm here and I am "feeling" more, I am more sensitive and I have to let it out.  Last night, between PMS, being tired, a full moon and a glass of wine the tears just kept flowing out of my eyes.  Junu said "cry" (she's saying so many more English words, which I have emotions about also) and I sad, "Yes, mama cry."

Today I say a true goodbye to my silly dog Lucy.  I will miss her joi d'vive, her soft beautiful hair, her over exuberant greetings and her love of everyone and everything.  She has been adopted by a retired teacher who can give her 100% attention and love.  Polly remains in foster care and it is my hope to bring her home with me once we return from Nepal.  She is an old girl, no teeth and her tongue hangs our of her mouth...very cute to me.  She hasn't generated as much interest to people looking for dogs and well, I think she is perfect for us.  We shall see.  Time will tell more.
Wishing I could give Lucy one last squeeze..... :(






Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bleeding Heart

My heart is bleeding.  I have received more information about Junu's abandonment and while I cannot discuss it here, lets just say, it makes me weep.  You can't imagine.  Her spirit is so very strong to endure and get to the place where she was cared for.  The fact that she made it to an orphanage is nothing short of a miracle. For all of the children that make it to any orphanage.  They at least have a chance there; there is hope.  But for many, they die before any chance for life.  There are sometimes more dead babies found versus alive babies.  Can you even imagine???  So impoverished, so destitute, so despondent you leave your baby to maybe survive, or maybe be found by the many roving dogs.  Yes, I know this is horrible, the pictures in my mind are not pleasant, but it's true, there is so much sadness here.  Sadness for those who don't have, who are impoverished beyond any one's ability to fully grasp.  The river smells/is like sewage and people live in tent villages right next to it.  There are hungry children and beggars everywhere you go.  You don't escape it...unless of course you insulate your self at a place like the Hyatt Hotel.  It is beautiful and full of grandeur and in stark contrast to the true reality for many here.  I'm not downing the Hyatt or anyone who goes there, I have, but rather acknowledging the great disparity that exists here...and many other places for that matter.   It really makes one take note to what is most important in life.  It is the simple which is the most precious and if we all were consciously in touch with the essence of where we come from, maybe, just maybe there would be enough, no, more than enough for every one, every where.  How can we make a difference???  I ask myself this question daily and keep hoping for some paradigm breaking idea, but maybe it is just in the daily giving and compassion that is offered.  Maybe in those small gestures a change is made.  I know there are many people out there in the world doing great service and I aspire to give more to the world.  For now, I am thankful to give my daughter the opportunity to reach her fullest potential and to be aware and know, life can change. 

After reading the details of my investigation, my heart felt it was being excavated by a very sharp knife, bleeding.  I wrapped my arms around Junu and she became my bandage.  I held her as close as close can be without climbing inside and let my love and awe of her permeate.  She made it out, she survived...her Soul found a way out and then still somehow found me.  I can't believe all the odds that  were against her, but here she is in her cute little dress with leggings, sleeping peacefully with a belly full of chicken momos.  My eyes are simultaneously brimming with tears of gratitude and tears of sorrow.  If ever any one who reads this has contemplated adoption, please, open up and let your heart lead you.  It may seem impossible from many fronts, but if you trust and take a step forward you will be amazed at what unfolds.  It is possible and the difference you make is exponential in the life of a child and the children to come after.  Believe it can happen and it will.  "Out of nothing and out of no way, a way will be made"Rev. Michael Beckwith. 
With great love,
Sharlyn

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Everyday Tidbits


Going to visit her friends.

Yes indeed, this is her personality!


She was hiding her clothes in the suitcase.

Going out to the courtyard. 




Our new friend Siba.  He works at our apartment complex and has helped us keep up with our laundry.  Junu has taken an extra special liking to him.   He is very kind.

Namaste in front of the Ganesh shrine.

Ganesh.  This shrine is at our apartment complex.  Ganesh is the remover of obstacles and the protector of children.

Buddha statue in our courtyard.  Junu loves to point out the dogs, cats and Buddha. 






Junu's 3rd Birthday Party!

Junu's friends eating the sweets she brought them for her birthday.

Beautiful Cocee

Receiving Love

Goondi and Goonda

Whatcha gonna do? Blow them out or what?

Cutting the cake.

Waiting for cake.

Let the cake eating begin!

More Love.

And more Love.


So happy.







I think for this post the pictures really say it all.  We had a great day.  Uncle Pandey enjoyed the celebration with us and helped me get the cake and the candles, etc.  It's definately more challenging to do what seems so simple at home, but I did it with the help of others.  The celebration was perfect and Junu was in her glory being around all her friends.  We danced, laughed, played, tickled, ate, and just had fun.  Thank you Junu's family at Sahayogi Samaj Nepal, we love you all!!!