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,

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!!!

Visit at the Orphanage

Junu and I visited the orphanage on Saturday, which is holiday for everyone in Nepal.  They work Sunday through Friday with Saturdays being their holiday, so this is the day we visited to make sure we saw everyone.  It was great!!!  Junu was a bit confused, I believe, and very reserved, until one of the didis took her away to inside (away from me) and she began to talk.  As I mentioned, Junu has yet to say any words to me, but she is beginning to use some signs, with prompts.  She is clearly understanding more English and I am trying to use as many Nepali words as I can, paired up with the English equivalent.  I am not concerned, because she is an amazing communicator and I know she can talk and she will when she is ready.  It was nice, however, to hear her voice today as she began to express and interact with her friends.  And interact she did.  She is still the goondi "the don" even though she has been away for one week.  Cracks me up how strong she is and how much the others want to be close to her.  Very sweet really, warmed my heart and reinforced it was okay for us to visit.  I would really like to maintain a close relationship with our "family"as somehow it is comforting for us both.  I could see Junu's happiness and love beam out of her eyes, smile, gestures, her everything.  And to receive the love from everyone is overwhelming.  I just wish each of these precious children had a mother and/or father to go to, to have the kind of love that a parent gives so freely, to have the opportunities they all deserve, to be able to actualize their fullest potential.  I wish for this for each and everyone of these children.  I would take Suluv and Cocee in a heartbeat.  They are both have warmed my heart.

So as the children played up on the rooftop, Sanu, another woman whose name escapes me and myself went down into the office for a Nepali lunch.  So delicious as I have expressed time and time again.  Rice/dal, chicken, cabbage, greens, delicious!!  We talked about the children, about their personalities, the male version of goondi or rather goonda (Soosan) and on and on.  We also talked about Nepal and some of the political changes/instability.  A new prime minister has been elected and this, of course, leads to hope that things can change for Nepal.  However, there have been so many changes, consist changes of government even since I began the adoption process in 2009.  Sanu's main wish is for the adoption program to be corrected and meet the international guidelines so that her children at Sahayogi Samaj Nepal and all orphaned children can have their forever families.  Also, as in many developing countries, the disparity between those who have and those who have not is huge.  For people to just be able to work and have the ability to care for their family and send their children to school seems little to ask, but here in this country where poverty is strikingly raw and harsh, where young children start sniffing glue, where you see a mother and her child sitting on the side of the road, filthy and begging, having these opportunities seem nearly impossible.  No matter what your situation is in the United States or other countries, WE ARE RICH!!!  We have so much and we don't even realize it most of the time.  I am passionate about these types of conversations and wishing there was a way I could be of greater service while I'm here in Nepal and perhaps even while I'm not.  Of course Junu has been and always will be my main priority, but I also have a sense of obligation/commitment towards her country, which in now also mine.  I keep trusting God in this one and asking to be led where I best might serve.  Inner eye and ears are open!

Getting back to our visit, we went back upstairs to the rooftop after lunch.  I'm going to try and describe the scene as best I can. Are you ready?  Here I go.   The sun is bright, the sky remarkably blue today, warmth has permeated into the concrete building and into my body.  There are two maybe three rugs in the center of the rooftop, myself, Sanu and another didi sit admist some towels and clean clothing strewn is bath/shower day.  Along the side of the wall there are four infant babies, naked, being rubbed down with mustard oil, once saturated they remain on the cushion bask in the sun for a short while and then one of the didis makes a tent blanket to keep the sun off their bodies. The children are mostly naked and running about, having fun, laughing and playing.  All the while along the side of the rooftop, there is one didi, 2 buckets of water, a mat and a child being washed.  Another didi is going up and down the fire escape replenishing the water as needed.  I observed the washing going on and they really get washed!!!  Like a massage really, rubbed and massaged completely.  Their little brown bodies became snow white with suds.  Some would help wash themselves and others would just be washed.  It was quite a sight somehow, there was just so much washing and massaging.  Those kids had to feel so amazing afterwards.  The water was dumped over their heads and most dislike this part, but they manage.  Then it's off to the rug area where then are dried and further massaged with mustard oil.  Their whole body and head also (I think this also helps decrease head lice).  Once shined up, they put on fresh clothes that have been outside in the air.  Ah happiness.  There was one scene where the sweetest little girl Cocee was behind the stairs of the fire escape.  She was looking out from under the steps with the brightest of smiles, the way the sun and shade played upon this scene was breathtaking and I wanted to capture it forever.  There were shades of bluish grey and then bright sun with little shadow circles upon her body from the holes in the metal steps.  Beautifully rich with texture, emotion and life.

It was a perfect day, with a perfect ending.  Junu fell asleep on the way home, always a sign of good times.
Peace and blessings,

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Day with Junu

Junu likes to organize her stuff, it's all very intentional :)

See how proud she is!

My friend Margo made this bag and Junu keeps all her treasure in it, plus it matches.

Having a snack.

I think yellow may be her color. 
So much to share.  Junu and I have been doing really great and our bonding is going amazingly well.  She is full of love and so am I.  I never really knew love before...I thought I did, but now I really know LOVE.  She is a funny, loving, thoughtful, visual, smart, cute little moon girl.  (Jun means moon, so I call her my "moon girl").  I love her personality, quite funny really.  Her laugh is full and makes me laugh even harder.  So good to laugh.  It seems like it has been quite some time since I had those full belly laughs.  And as many of you know, I love to laugh.  It lifts the spirit up and literally changes the vibration of the room.  Lighter, brighter, airy.  So we are laughing a lot. 

Last night, which was Friday, we went to the Summit Hotel to meet with other American families.  They meet there every Friday for a BBQ.  So we went.  It was nice to get out and be around others going through the same thing.  You can't imagine how much people have given up to be here with their kids.  Junu was happy and would wrap her arm up and around my neck throughout the evening while giving me one of her bright smiles.  She is just so happy, I can feel it in her everything.  She watched the other kids play, but had no interest in getting off my lap yet, I suspect next week it will happen.  I am okay with it all, just following her lead on most of these things, she seems to know when she is ready.  In the meantime, it was great for me to connect with some other parents.  So many nice people. 

So today we hope to take some pictures of our neighborhood and share, it's hard to express what it is like here, but we are getting more and more comfortable each day.  We have found the place to buy bread, cookies and cake (which I will be ordering for her birthday next Thursday), the best Nepali milk tea, chicken and/or vegetable momos, lattes (yes!!!) and wine.  I also found a small grocery store to meet most of our needs.  I am cooking Nepali, with rice and dal, saag, and using many delicious spices such as cumin, tumeric, corriander, fenegreek and something I have no idea, but the man at the grocery store said it makes the dal taste great, so I said "okay".  I have been trying to avoid going out to eat, mostly because of expense and the fact that I like to cook is also a reason.  I can get a number of meals out of one preparation of food and that is working perfectly into my budget :) and into our stomachs. 

Today we are planning on going back to visit friends at the orphanage.  It has been one week and we shall see how Junu handles it.  I believe it will okay, I think she is ready.  I really miss them all and want to spend some time just playing.  Hopefully I'll get more photos.   

Well the rooster is crowing and I must make one more cup of coffee.  I will share more soon.  Just wanted to give you all an update.  Sharing this way has been so helpful for me to stay and feel connected to home.  Thanks.  Much love, The Keegan Girls