Our Journey
OUR JOURNEY

Like any journey in life, there is always a beginning.  And our beginning goes back to March 2006—that’s when we decided that we wanted to adopt a baby girl, preferably from India.  At the time, many thought we were out of our minds.   However, one of our friends, Chris Witty, had made a decision to adopt a baby boy from Vietnam and we realized that while it was a big step, it was not impossible.

We had researched a few agencies, and rejected most of them.  We finally settled on Wide Horizons for Children.  On our first visit, our social worker told us that adopting from India was very difficult…the Indian government makes it hard to take babies out of the country…the process could take up to three years!  Sujal’s parents, however, told us that they would make it their mission to find us a baby girl from our home state of Gujarat.  When they went to India in November 2006, they went armed with our photos and information on the adoption process.  The Indian government can do what it likes, but they haven’t seen the gale force of Sujal’s parents!

That is when our nail biting journey began—hopes built up, hopes dashed.  With the help of one of Milanee’s friends, the Kapadias started with an orphanage in our hometown of Ahmedabad.  However, there were no baby girls there, no babies at all in fact…they then started making calls to other orphanages, only to get abrupt no’s.  Another friend put them in touch with higher ups in Gujarat—and while everyone was supportive, which is a big part of breaking down barriers, there were still no babies to be found.  Every night we would be on the phone to India with Sujal’s parents.  There was a doctor who helped young girls give birth, but then he wanted a “donation.”  Another orphanage in a nearby town had no babies—a population of a billion people—and the orphanages are empty!?  Finally, they took a seven hour bus ride to a town called Junagadh—and found three newborns!  But the orphanage did not have an international license.  And so it went, on and on….

Finally, the Kapadias decided to take a five hour car ride to another town called Jamnagar—at this point they had realized, showing up in person versus phoning produced more results.  And despite being told there were no babies, they went to the orphanage.  Then we got the call….Sujal’s mom said “they have a little girl—she is eight months old and her name is Janki.  She is very cute, and looks healthy and normal.”

 

His dad said “she was hesitant to come to me, but then I brought out my pen, and she came and clasped it.”  Then they asked—were we interested?  Heck ya!  Little did we know that the process was going to get more difficult.

After their return, there was a flurry of phone calls to get photos and her health records—to show to the international pediatrician here in New York.  Technology is limited in these small towns but eventually in January we got all the information we needed.  We got the photos via email, and I remember calling Sujal at work, and saying “are you ready to see your little girl?”  We opened up the pics—and there was this little thing, with a mop full of curly hair, dressed in these oversized Western clothes….she was so sweet! At that moment, we began bonding with this little girl…we named her Mila Janki Kapadia. Her health records turned out to be fine, and we put together our dossier…unbelievable amounts of paperwork…recommendation letters, medical records, financial data, photos, all had to be notarized, then certified, then apostilled.  Then the agency added their own data…and finally the packet went to India in March.  More paperwork was added by the orphanage—and then the whole package was sent to the federal government in New Delhi. 

One hitch—the country shuts down in May.  We spent four nailbiting months, waiting for the approval…wait, they needed more photos of us and our home…before we got the call in August…we were cleared!  Except now it had to go back to the local government.  Luckily through Milanee’s contacts in India and the United States, we had people on the ground in Jamnagar and Ahmedabad “pushing” things along.  Still it took another three months before the clearances were given.  Milanee had already started the preschool applications, and we got more photos—and Mila looked like an 18-month old ready to take off!  Our baby had become a toddler.  It was strange filling out applications about the daughter we hadn’t yet met, but the schools were very understanding.

Now Milanee is boarding a flight to India, Sujal is soon to follow, and we are going to end one journey, and begin another one…we’re both excited and nervous…and we feel very blessed.  We are very fortunate to be getting our little Mila.