Monday, January 31, 2011

All the Little Things:

Thank you Auntie Claudia, I love these groovy pants.

She couldn't have enough barrettes.

Just getting into stuff

Fuzzy pompoms rule.

Serious girl

Best smile ever


It is all the little things that build upon one another that give the big things.  All the little things that make up my big girl Junu.  All the little thing that make Nepal home.
All the little things that make the difference in the big things of the world. 

It has been quite a while since I last posted because I have been paying attention to and receiving all the “little things” that make Junu and I mother and daughter.  There have been treasures each day.  The first day I picked her up at the orphanage was great.  Pandey and I drove in through the gates greeted by Sanu’s great big smile along with all the little smiles and bright eyes.  Yes, little smiles = big love.  Suluv, Supria, Cocee, Godoff, Driste, Soosan all smiling ear to ear and looking behind me to see if Buwa was also with us.  I had to say “no Buwa” because their inquisitive faces called for an explaination.  I can’t tell you how great it was to see all these children who have stamped their essences upon my heart.  Of course, Junu was not there….she was up stairs sitting on the mats, just sitting somber once again.  Well, as soon as I saw her I couldn’t help myself, I just went right to her and pulled her close…she pushed away, but more in surprise than in rejection.  She looked and looked at me again, so when I pulled her to me the next time, she accepted and even grinned a wee bit.  We have been stuck together since.  We all sat on the floor and talked, laughed and caught up on how everyone was doing.  Sanu and I are like sisters and I absolutely adore her!!!  The kids, all wanting love, swarmed me a bit, but I was able to give them all little bits of love and kisses which made a big difference.  Suluv , the little boy I want to claim as my son, wanted and received quite a few extra morsels of love. 

We went downstairs to go through all the donations.  Sanu was so grateful.  She wanted me to make sure I thanked all who donated so “Thank you everyone including Beth, Angela and Robin”.  Sanu, the didis and I all  “oooed”and “aaahed” over the clothing.  There was so much and some of the outfits where so darn cute we just couldn’t help ourselves.  We enjoyed Nepali tea, more laughter and a lot of gratitude.  We are all grateful for the role we have played in one another’s lives. 

I decided to wait at least one week before going back to the orphanage so as to help Junu adjust and really know she and I are together.  We will go back sometime this week and then again for her birthday.  After that we will go at least one time per week. 

The first night she was sad and I felt the ache within her heart.  I just held her, which she accepted, and told her it was okay to feel sad.  It is because she has such a big heart and so full of love that she loves her “family” so very much.  That it will take some time, but she will understand.  I told her how much I loved her and that we are now the “Keegan girls” and we will stay together.  I acknowledged how strong she is and once again how much love she has in her heart.  As I spoke this way, she calmed, she let go and let me hold her and comfort her until she fell asleep.  Now she doesn’t know any English, but the love and understanding permeated through where as words where no longer a barrier.  Love can over come all.

Well, here is a list of all the little things I have discovered about my big girl:

-She is really little
-She loves clothes, pink is okay now, stripped pants are groovy, and her fuzzy crocs are the bomb
-She has decided to employ selective mutism, but is an amazing communicator, who needs words?  (and yes I am a speech language pathologist)
-She can be quite calm and entertain herself while playing with all little things (i.e. little fuzzy pompom balls, little spoons, little bowls, little baby, little books, little barrettes).
-She also can be a little stinker, causing “trouble” to get a reaction, I love it all.
-She likes to have her hair done, digs barrettes
-She wants to be carried everywhere and I am getting an incredible work out (side note- which is good given I’m feeling a wee bit soft)
-She has this way of quickly tipping her nose up in the air to say “hey check it out, it’s cool, I like it”
-She has to go to the bathroom often and we have a thing where I squat down in front of her while she is on the toilet and she wraps  her arms around my neck and puts her head on my shoulder.  When she is finished, she points to the toilet paper
-She has a big bright smile
-She likes dogs and cats and points out every animal upon our walks, she also likes nice things and points them out in the shop windows
-Chocolate is still her number 1
-She is really smart, remembers everything
-Every time we lay down for naps or night time, she draws close to me and puts her little arms around my neck, every time.  
-She moves  a lot when she sleeps, hence I don’t sleep
-She loves her Buwa and has met her Ama through skype
-She is all the little bits rolled up into one big sweet gift from God

So for now I will go, there is so much more to share, especially about living in Nepal.  It’s surreal, but here we are together….amazing.  Oh yeah, wait until I tell you about being caught in a demonstration just outside the foreign affairs ministry, yikes.  I was pretty freaked, but all is well…..don’t worry Dad, we are okay.   Good night all. 
Peace and Blessings from Nepal,
Sharlyn and Junu

Sacred Early Morning

It is early morning here in Nepal, about 5:30 a.m.  The morning always feels so sacred to me.   As I sit here in the big leather chair, I look over to the bed and my beautiful daughter is finally here with me, sleeping.  I feel the love wash over me and I pause to take it all senses are so alive.  I hear the coo of the pigeons, the chatter of the morning birds, the call of the rooster next door and the tapping of a hammer from someone working already.  I check over to see Junu, she is still there and I'm still amazed I am here.  This entire journey has had so many obstacles and challenges, but as I sit here this morning I see now  how all has been perfect in its own way.  How each challenge has brought me to this particular moment in time, which I would never replace.  Never change.  To be here with her, to bond with her in this way is truly perfect.  I, of course, had another agenda, but I am learning to let go and let God show me.  It is truly an evolution of surrender to the deepest level.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Our Teeny Weeny Apartment

So this is our "teeny weeny" apartment.  It will be perfect for us.  I did some rearranging of the furniture and now it is much more open.   I haven't had much chance to explore the grounds yet, but there is a little outside courtyard.  The staff are very friendly and ready to meet my needs...all except the coffee pot.  No coffee pot...I cried, they laughed.  Tomorrow morning I'm heading out with my friend Pandey to go get numerous items I will need, mostly food, but I do need to throw in a coffee maker, more towels and other miscellaneous items.  As you all know, I'm on a strict budget, so only necessities.

My apartment is next door to the Radisson Hotel, so I do believe there will be some swimming involved. It should be a great place to take Junu and get her use to the water, I'm curious how she will like it.  Also, I am located near a lot of shops and restaurants, so it will be nice to see what is "out there" and what we can explore within walking distance, which reminds me, I need to get a map.  

Overall, I am feeling good.  I am very excited about getting Junu.  I am also a bit nervous...just wanting her to feel safe and happy.  I know there will be some tears involved as the orphanage is all that she has known, but in just a short period of time that will change especially once she sees and feels all the love that is awaiting her.  In the meantime, I am going to try and get a bit more rest.  Haven't really slept much in 3 days, but I still feel great....on a natural high. 

Look forward to share more soon.  Much love, Sharlyn

Monday, January 24, 2011

Packing for Launch

A plethora of clothing
Willie the cat was helping in the far left
Seneca was sure we could find a way to get more clothes in the bag.

Packing for launch is the object for today.  Many people have donated so much clothing to Junu's orphanage.  Thank you!  You all know who you are.  We have done our best to get all these items in this army bag.  There are still more, but that will have to wait until friends come visit me. 
I can't wait to see these clothes on the kids, there are so many cute outfits from infants up to 4 years.  They are going to look stylin'.  For Junu's birthday, which is February 10th, we will have a BIG party at the orphanage and I am looking forward to all the children wearing their new clothes!  I will take pictures, I promise! 

For now I must get back to the business of organizing the last few details, which there are quite a few. 

I just want to send out another heartfelt thank you to all of you in my life who have helped, donated, supported, encouraged and understood.  There is NO WAY I could be going back to be with Junu without the help and support of many.  I am forever grateful to all of you. 
Peace and Blessings,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bottle Neck

Junu around 2 years old.
Love Trio

I'm in the bottle neck.  That place of squeeze prior to the flow.  I feel I'm being squeezed from every direction, outward in and inward out.  Sometimes it's difficult to breathe.  The tears just want to rip out of my body, but somehow they remain their own "gated community"; very selective, aloof most of the time and definitely protective.  I'm letting go and holding on.  I'm excited and terrified.  I'm alone and united.  I'm anxious and calm.  I'm in a revolving paradoxical door and quite frankly it's more than uncomfortable.  BUT....the reason I am here supersedes the unknowns and the fear attached.  I breath in and I trust.

Today is Friday and in two weeks I will be landing in Kathmandu to reunite with my daughter Junu.  Between now and then the impossible needs to happen.  I'm moving all my belongings into storage this weekend.  My choice to move has been a difficult one.  In fact my decision to go back to Nepal has pushed upon many people I love.  It has caused it's own level of stress for many, but I still need to go.  I still need to be with Junu, I still need to walk through these changes and trust.  Once I move out of my current home, I am staying at a friend's home until I leave on 1/24.  I took my 2 sweet dogs to the groomer yesterday and cried, because I need to find a new home for them.  Given I am not really certain when I will be back, I feel it is best to find them a new and stable home.  They are both shelter dogs and it breaks my heart to have to transition them again.  DJ, my groomer, was helpful and hopeful I could find them a home.  I really want them to stay together because they are each others comfort, playmate and mother/daughter to one another.  I also have my boy Pip.  The coolest black cat.  He loves the dogs and often grooms them, it makes me sad to let him go also.  I wish there were aspects of my life I could just freeze and then thaw out when I return with Junu.  This sweet spunky trio would be at the top of the list for sure.

Someone told me I have this way of turning my emotions on and off like a faucet.  Funny because I always thought I was quite emotional at times, but the truth is, as of late, I have turned them off.  If I think too much I wouldn't be able to move through this time.  The emotions are there, I am not out of touch, but I can't give them too much attention right now.  It's not time.

I have made a plethora of arrangements to handle my financial commitments while I'm gone.  Way overwhelming!!!  This is where being financially independent or winning the lottery would be awesome.  This has been another level of challenge for me.  My resources have been tapped.  I'm doing what I can to make arrangements while I'm gone, but holy crap, so difficult.  Trying to keep my credit in good standing while I'm gone and not generating any income is tricky, but I am managing the best I can.  Many have helped me in this area and I am grateful.  Again, this decsion to go back to Nepal makes NO financial sense, but as a mother it makes perfect sense and the mother in me is the warrior right now.  

Some people have asked my why I didn't adopt here in the U.S. because there clearly is a need right here at home.  True, there are many children within our country who do need loving homes.  I actually did explore this option, but was told by my homestudy agency that adoption in the U.S. for a single parent is less likely, not impossible, but less likely.  You see, most adoptions here in the U.S. are open adoptions, which means the birth parent/parents look through a sort of "catalog" to choose who they want to parent their child.   Each potential family has a bio with pictures and such.  In these cases, most birth parents will choose a family with 2 parents.  Now there is always the option of foster care, but I know my heart and I cannot mother a child and then have that child go back to their birth family.  Just can't do it.  AND, to me children are children wherever ever they come from.  I don't prescribe to the "us and them" mind set.  I see us as a global society, always have, always will.  All the world's children are our children in my eyes.  So here I sit, making decisions I never thought I would have to make and trusting it will all work out in the end.   

So for now I will go, as I need to get on with the packing. However, before I go, I want to again thank everyone who has been on this journey with me.  Some who have just joined this walk with me and others who have been on the path from the early beginnings.  You all know who you are.  It is through these relationships I have been truly blessed.  It is through the love and support I feel on a moment by moment basis that sustains me when I think I can't do it.  I am not alone and I thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, love, support, donations, comfort and belief in Junu and I.  We will be back here soon and when we are, a joyous celebration will occur!   

Peace and blessings,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Responding to Senator/Rep. letters

I am sharing this post from another Nepal pipeline family's blog.   I met Chad, Celia and Karina while I was in Nepal and hope to see them upon my return.  Thank you for reading. Peace, Sharlyn

If you all have sent letters, you have probably received generic letters parroting the incorrect rhetoric from the US Embassy in Kathmandu. There has been NO fraud found in any of our cases.

Here is how to respond. Thanks!

Here is a template of facts for a letter:

Your reply to your own constituents was completely inaccurate as to the truth of the situation and I thought you should be aware of the facts so that you are better set to actually help your constituents who are in this very difficult situation.
Fact 1 - out of 63 investigations done by the US embassy in Kathmandu (they are now finished by the way), they found NO fraud, not one piece of evidence of fraud. This is by their OWN admission.
Fact 2 - that case you cite about parents looking for their biological child was 1 1/2 years ago. It was due to a once off fraudulent orphanage director. That orphanage was suspended and for a year after the US govt issued visas for all US cases for a year until the suspension.
Fact 3 - that was the ONLY case out of about all adoptions completed in two years that was found to be fraudulent
Fact 3 - 6 dead babies are delivered to the morgue every week due exposure from being abandoned. That's 300 a year. They are the tip of the iceberg as most abandoned babies do thankfully survive. In the 2 years since adoption reopened there have been less than 200 adoptions globally. There is no need to manufacture orphans, there are 750,000 of them living in Nepal right now. And 100 adoptions a year spread over the many orphanages is hardly an incentive to traffic children
Fact 4 - Most of the children affected by this erroneous US govt policy were abandoned when there WASN"T even an adoption program open in Nepal (ie during 2007/2008 when the adoption system was being reformed). These children are not babies, they've been in the orphanage for years
Fact 5 - The US embassy has given out 6 visas since the suspension. Most of these children were under 18 months old, so their abandonment was recent and easier to verify (actually when the current adoption program was already open). So why would the younger kids be truly abandoned (and they were abandoned when there was an adoption program running) and the older kids, not be, even though most were abandoned when they were newborns during the moratorium on adoption during 2007/2008.The only reason the paperwork is harder to verify for these children isn't because it is falsified, its' because the events were so long ago they are difficult to verify as they would be in any country
Fact 6 - All the families having to undergo the extreme hardship of doing their own investigations have found orphanage staff and police to be co-operative. They have found their children to be truly abandoned and many have been able to verify the paperwork. It was the insensitivity of the US staff to the ways of the Nepalese culture that resulted in poor investigation results. It wasn't due to some grand conspiracy about trafficking.
Fact 7 - There is child trafficking in Nepal for the sex trade and domestic slavery and the US government has confused this with trafficking for adoption of which there is NONE!
This has been verified by several NGO's working in Nepal for many many years.
Fact 8 - Birth Certificates are not fraudulent. The DOS have taken what is normal procedure but put it through the lense of their pre existing bias and deemed them "fabricated". In a sense they are but how else can an abandoned child get a birth certificate where the true data is unknown? It's not fair to single out Nepal paperwork in this fashion where the same thing happens in many countries, even the US. The US has a safe haven law in many states allowing babies to be "abandoned" at hospitals, fire stations etc. They then allow the "foundling birth certificate" to be created by hospitals allowing a "best guess" at the birthdate and with parentage unknown. Why then accuse the Nepalese of fabrication when they are simply following similar laws and procedures to allow an abandoned child to have a birth certificate.

In summary, when parents get the canned response such as yours it is infuriating to say the least given we know the TRUTH. And given the TRUTH it is an outrage that these families and most of all their children continue to suffer very severe emotional and financial hardships because of erroneous conclusions by the US govt supported by no proof of fraud whatsover.

Thank you

Here are some sources to corroborate the facts presented in my comments.