To say we were horrified would be an understatement. I could list a string of things we felt: uncertain, perplexed, angry, disappointed, hopeless… But the one thing we kept coming back to was what right did we have to keep this child from her mother if she truly wanted her back? And that led to one other question. Why had her mother changed her mind? Over the next couple hours as the story unfolded, our horror grew.
It happened that a college student in Bangalore who didn’t support the adoption of Indian children outside the country had told Kavitha’s grandmother that Americans adopt children to harvest their body parts. She, of course, relayed that startling information to Kavitha’s mother, Pushpa. Naturally upset, and having no reason to doubt this person’s word, Pushpa had gone to the police and had a warrant sworn out for our arrest — for kidnapping.
But all of that felt in the background. Our biggest concern was what would be best for Kavitha. What future did she have in India where her mother couldn’t provide for her? She was from the lowest caste and not likely to receive any kind of education. And if we decided to try and keep her, how would we explain all this to her — if we ever did? We had NO idea what to do.
Rather than being reactive, Holt decided to have their lawyer in Bangalore approach the family and try to straighten the misunderstanding out. Through a series of meetings and letters from all THREE of us, the lawyer was finally able to convince Pushpa that the student was not being truthful. He assured her that she would get letters and pictures every four months for the first two years Kavitha was with us. Finally Pushpa agreed to let the adoption proceed.
Then something happened that I can laugh at now, but was horrifying at the time. For her first picture to send her mother, we had Kavitha dressed in a frilly Easter dress. The photographer had her kneel down then he spread her skirt out all around her and gave her a lace parasol to hold over her shoulder. The picture was adorable. I was so pleased — until I dropped the envelope with it and the letters into the mailbox at the post office. It hit me suddenly that Pushpa wouldn’t be able to see Kavitha’s legs and might think we had cut them off already! Have you ever seen a truly hysterical person? And the post office refused to give it back to us.
I won’t say our story has been a fairytale. If you read my blog about the pennies then you know Bran had a few speed bumps while adjusting to a sibling, including developing night terror and having to see a counselor. We were really starting to think we’d made the wrong decision, but as it turned out Brandon had overheard our conversation with Marion and was now scared to death someone was going to come and take his sister away. Once we knew that and could talk to him about it, things thankfully settled down.
By the time Kavitha started school that fall, she had an English name as well — Stefanie. She is named after Stefanie Lawry who had been so supportive of us through this whole ordeal. She sent Stef her first Barbie doll, which Stef would have gladly traded for a basketball!
Our waiting period before we could legally adopt Stef was one year from the completion of our paperwork. As that time approached, we began to get very excited. But then we got yet ANOTHER call from Holt saying the adoption couldn’t go forward as the government in India had not released Stefanie for adoption. That was in November if memory serves. So once again we found ourselves waiting, unsure of what the future would hold for her, for us.