"Will they celebrate her birthday in the orphanage?"
"What do you think she's doing right now?"
"Why is it taking so long to get her home?"
How Peter and I wish we had answers for every one of their questions, especially that last one.
We are nearly at the 11-month mark since we saw the first smiley picture of K, and this birthday was bittersweet. On one hand, we are overjoyed to know who she is, and be this far along in the process. We have two final steps until we can travel to meet our daughter: first, we are waiting for the court date granting us guardianship, and then we wait for her passport. Then we can buy those precious plane tickets to India!
But it is still difficult to wait with no indications about when our case will be on the docket. We've been waiting since mid-April, and we've been told to expect 4-6 months if we have a speedy experience, and 9-12 months if it's a longer wait. That time frame sounds pretty disheartening to us at this point, to say the least. We want our daughter to come home to her family, to begin learning what that even means.
I do all the usual things, telling myself that these two years are such a short time compared to all the years we will have together after she's with us. But it is painful to know that another week, another month, nearly a whole year has gone by.
As a family, we chose to celebrate this day, to celebrate her. We had Chicken Makhani for dinner, and spent part of the meal trying to guess which month will be her homecoming month. We went out for ice cream because this is the hottest week of the summer so far -- it was still 90 degrees at 8:00 p.m. when we left for our favorite ice cream place!
And then we headed for the riverfront in our city. My brother Matt had given us a floating lantern, and we decided that was the perfect symbol for the many prayers we've offered up for our sweet little K. After dinner, we had taken a few moments to write birthday messages for K. And Anya is the perfect age for magical, breathless speculation: "What if the lantern goes all the way to across the world, and someone in India finds it??"
We walked out onto the pier, and played a round of charades while we waited for dusk. With great anticipation, our sons lit the flame, and the lantern slowly filled up. Aaron and I held it on our fingertips, waiting for the moment when it was hot enough to rise into the air. It was a lovely sight -- our golden lantern against the darkening blue sky.
With surprising speed, it caught the wind and rose up, up above the river, above the trees. And we watched until it became a pinpoint of light, then disappeared. And we prayed that it would be K's last birthday without us.