Journey to Judah: Part 10 - The 2nd Hotel
May 18-21, 2018
After being discharged from the hospital, we attempted to head back to Kady’s place to stay 1 more night at the apartment. It had been a long two days, and we just wanted to get out of there, but we had a hard time finding an Uber to pick us up and take us that far. The apartment was about an hour away from the hospital, but we soon learned that the distance probably wasn’t the major deterrent. We were trying to leave the hospital during rush hour traffic. We didn’t really think about it because it was after 6:00 PM- not usually rush hour in good ole KC, MO. Finally, an Uber driver accepted our ride request, but it took them an hour to get to the hospital. Once in the car, the traffic was so thick that it took almost 2 hours (with no A/C) to get back to the apartment. There’s nothing like tasting “freedom,” and then having to wait an extra 3 hours for it to come to fruition. (I’m sorry to the Uber driver who had to listen to Judah scream for an hour in standstill traffic.) We finally walked into the apartment around 9:00 PM, dazed but thankful to God that our son was okay and that we were no longer in a hospital.
Judah really needed to have his hair washed because it was still caked with the remnants of the EEG, but he was tired and hungry, so we had to prioritize. We wiped him down the best we could and changed his clothes, but food and sleep came first in his hierarchy of needs. Once Judah was asleep though, a shower definitely came first in my hierarchy of needs. All I could think about was washing away the germs and stress of the last 2 days. As soon as I stepped into the shower, I quickly remembered that I was in India where showers are typically cold, especially at this time of the day. Forget washing the stress away, but those germs from the hospitals, especially that first one, had to go. I took my typical 4-minute India shower and felt a little better while making a mental note that I should never take hot water for granted again.
A mission team was coming into Hyderabad over the weekend and would be staying at Kady’s apartment, so we had originally planned to move to another apartment across the street. Once we found out that we had received Article 23 & Judah’s birth certificate, though, we hoped we’d only be in Hyderabad for a few more days. Rather than renting an apartment for another week, we decided to move to a hotel for those last few days in our son’s birth city.
Honestly, this was a little bittersweet. We had planned to join the mission team and do some outreach activities with them: bringing food to the slums, passing out clean water, taking street kids to the zoo, serving the widows and kids in Kady’s sponsorship program at a fancy banquet- all in the name of Jesus. When else do you get an opportunity like that in India? Missing out on playing a small part in all of that was a little disappointing, but it also meant that our adoption process and time in India was moving more quickly than we had anticipated. After 2 hospital stays and already 2 weeks away from our girls, we were also ready to get this show on the road....or in the air...on a plane headed for the U.S.
We moved to a different hotel in a different part of Hyderabad because we could get a better rate there. This meant ANOTHER transition for Judah, and we looked forward to the day when we were at home where things could be more predictable for him. It ended up being a very nice hotel, complete with a delicious breakfast buffet (which served idli every day for Judah and cappuccinos every day for me), very fast room service, and super helpful staff. Judah had them all wrapped around his finger in the first few hours. We couldn’t do anything for our adoption process until Monday, so we spent the weekend relaxing and resting after an eventful past few days.
Another great thing about our hotel room was that it had a bathtub. That might not seem like a big deal (and I wasn’t really wanting to take a bubble bath in the lukewarm water at our hotel), but it did mean that Judah got to take his very first REAL bath. He was 13 months old, and he was only used to sponge baths. Showers and tubs were a whole new experience for him. We knew he’d probably be overwhelmed by a shower, so we had brought an inflatable baby bath across the world in our suitcase. We filled it with water from the shower at the apartment, but Judah wasn’t a huge fan of that experience. He did enjoy the real bathtub though- maybe because it had plenty of room to splash and move around. Just like his mama, he’s not a fan of feeling confined to small spaces. (For him, we would eventually learn that this would also extend to high chairs, car seats, bibs, baby carriers, blankets over his feet, and sometimes holding him with 2 hands.)
We met another adoptive couple from the U.S. at the hotel, and they were there adopting their 2nd beautiful child from Hyderabad. Kady knew them as well, so we all met for a pool party at the hotel on Saturday. Swimming was another first that we were able to experience with Judah Mahesh! He (briefly) enjoyed his first dip in the pool before he needed a nap...but just look at how cute he is in those little swim trunks! (Guys, I never realized how cute little boy’s clothing can be until very recently!)
After about an hour in the sun, Marcus took Judah up to the room to nap. He told me to stay by the pool and relax. (Husband of the Year Award! Am I right?!) I was able to soak up some vitamin D and talk to our new friends. It was exactly what my heart needed- rest and conversation with some like-minded people who God allowed us to meet on the opposite side of the world. He gives good gifts.
After the relaxing afternoon by the pool, we shared an Uber back across town with Kady. She took us to her favorite pearl shop. Hyderabad is known as “The City of Pearls” because it was historically a place for pearl and diamond trading. Kady took us to a place that she takes her mission teams when they come to India, so she has a good relationship with the shop and they give her “best price.” (In comparison, we went to a pearl shop with the same name closer to the hotel, and they wanted to charge us 3 times the price for the same things.) Because Kady got us the hook up, we were able to get beautiful, meaningful gifts for family and friends from our son’s birth city. Of course, if your son is born in “The City of Pearls,” it is your motherly OBLIGATION to get yourself some pearls there too, right? I also got some pearl earrings for our girls...even though they don’t have their ears pierced yet. I wanted them to have a special gift from their brother’s city too. I plan on giving a double-stranded pearl necklace to Judah’s future wife someday as well. I pray she loves Jesus, and I hope she likes pearls.
Thankfully, Judah felt well enough to be able to go to church again on Sunday. I’m going to have to write a whole post devoted to our global God and the sweet experiences we had at church in Hyderabad, though, so watch for that post later. After church, we went to lunch with Kady and our new friends from our hotel. We went to a place called Heart Cup, and I have to say that it made my top 5 favorite restaurants list. Indian food in the U.S. just can’t quite compare. This was actually Judah’s first time in a REAL restaurant because we had ordered our food and had it delivered from nearby places, eaten at our hotel cafe, or ordered room service since taking custody of Judah. He did great at the restaurant until the end when he threw a glass off the table and watched it shatter all over the floor causing everyone to stare. Oops. I’m sure we already looked a little crazy: 3 American families with 4 Indian children. Sorry about the glass, Heart Cup, but thanks for such a fun time!
On Sunday evening, we took a tuk-tuk to a mall by our hotel. Once again, it was pretty similar to malls in the U.S. - the main difference being that we could NOT find one single pair of shoes in Judah’s size. So, we just rolled with a barefoot baby all over India. This is actually still his preference, which if you’ve seen us at church or anywhere in public over the last few months, you’ve probably seen his cute little toes too. As we searched the mall for shoes, I was able to find a beautiful kurta and a scarf for myself- sweet, treasured souvenirs from Hyderabad as well.
All in all, it was just the kind of weekend we needed: bonding, relaxing, and getting to know more about our son. We also went ahead and booked plane tickets from Hyderabad to New Delhi for Tuesday morning, hoping and praying that we’d get Judah’s passport by then, so we could travel to finish the rest of the steps in our adoption process.
Here are a few more things we learned about Judah during our second week with him:
-He now wanted us in sight at all times, which is amazing for only knowing us for 2 weeks. (Thanks, Indian hospitals.)
-He liked to wave at every person we passed and every car that drove by us. (That’s a whole lot of waving in India, y’all!)
-He had magnetic cheeks that required every.single.person we passed (on sidewalks, elevators, restaurants, stores, etc.) to pinch them with both hands.
-Now that he had things to pull up on and floor space to move around (unlike at the orphanage), he was cruising like a champ!
-He was learning to be held and would even reach his arms out for us to pick him up.
-Judah could eat his weight in a soft rice dish called kitcheree. (It is the Indian equivalent to homemade baby food and is also eaten when adults are sick, kind of like we might eat chicken noodle soup.)
-He didn't say much, but he frequently growled...which was a mixture of pretty hilarious and slightly creepy. He especially growled when you tried to sing to him or when he heard music. We weren't sure if he thought he was singing or if he just really disliked music. (We are home just over 2 months, and my baby no longer growls, guys.)
-He would pick up rectangular objects and hold them to his ear like he was talking on the phone,which was so surprising to us because we weren’t sure who he’d seen talk on the phone.
-Even though I obsessively took his temperature, he never spiked another fever, and he seemed to be feeling much better.
-We quickly realized that he was and is one of our biggest blessings.