Well, we certainly are trying to wring the last bits of fun out of summer before school starts! The last two weeks have been packed full of fun things like babysitting our friends' gerbils during their vacation, going to the State Fair with Aunt Alicia, walking the trails of one of our favorite nature preserves and having our last baseball game. We spent yesterday afternoon at the site of an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition -- it's a family who goes to our church, and we were there as they came back to their new house!
We also did our school supply shopping, and found out who the boys will have for teachers this year. We will be squeezing in a few last summer playdates with friends before school starts, too.
Especially fun for me and Anya Rashi, though, was a visit with another Dillon family. We've gotten together with Michele and Ahly a few times -- we live just 2 hours away from each other. Back when we were waiting for Anya Rashi to come home, Michele and Todd were kind enough to make the drive to our city and show us their India trip photos. It was so good to see their gorgeous daughter in person, and realize with awe that one day WE would really have our daughter home too.
Ahly and Michele were in town because Ahly is starting kindergarten! They were making a special trip together to purchase school clothes and supplies, so of course we jumped at the chance to see them again. It was so great to have two "graduates" of Matri Sneha together again! They are very close to the same size -- Ahly is very dainty and petite, while Anya Rashi has always been tall for her age (she was in the 80th percentile on the US growth charts at her 3-year-old check-up).
We decided to have a a girls' night out at one of our city's Indian restaurants. This particular restaurant definitely makes things spicier than the other restaurant in town! Their "mild" spice-o-meter left Anya Rashi gulping down all of her water, and then my whole glass! I had one of my favorite dishes, vegetable korma, while Anya Rashi had butter chicken and Michele and Ahly had chicken Kashmiri makhani. We also had some awesome garlic naan. While Michele and I caught up on each others' lives, the girls colored and occasionally contributed their own thoughts to the conversation.
It was a Sunday night, and we were among the first customers after they opened. The restaurant gradually filled up with other patrons, many of whom were dressed in lovely saris or salwar kameez. On our way out of the restaurant, an Indian woman named Nidhi stopped Michele and I and asked if our girls were adopted. She was so kind, and asked the girls their names, and told us "this is a very good thing you are doing." She asked a few questions about where they were from in India, and said again that she was glad that we did this "good thing."
It was very heartwarming. There are two Indian moms at our school who are particularly kind and positive about Anya Rashi and how we are building our family. While we are secure in the knowledge that Anya Rashi was chosen by God to be in our family, I'm also aware that she will someday be at school without me by her side. I want to prepare her for those situations we heard about in our pre-adoption classes -- the ones where hurts happen because of family tree assignments, or innocent (or not-so-innocent) comments by other children or parents -- but I also want her to hope for the best from others.
So far, our experiences have been good for the most part, or endearingly funny. In May, one of the boys' Indian-American schoolmates saw me in the parking lot with Anya Rashi at the end of the day. He said, "You're Nathan's mom, right?" Then he looked at Anya Rashi and asked me, "Are you a babysitter, too?" His mother (who I'm friendly with) was mortified, but I absolutely am not offended by innocent remarks like those. (Anya Rashi was paying no attention to him at all, and missed the whole conversation.)
I just took the opportunity to say, "She is my daughter, but we don't look like each other, do we?" Then he said, "Did you adopt her?" I said yes, that her birth parents couldn't take care of her and looked for a family that could. Then he turned to his mom and said, "When can we adopt a baby brother for me?" It was so spontaneous and kind, and I complimented him for having such a big heart.
So, for Anya Rashi's sake, I always appreciate people from within the Indian community who reinforce that adoption is a good thing. It was doubly sweet because Anya Rashi got to share the moment with another mother and daughter who share the same beginnings at Matri Sneha.