While Leslie is away at our second baby shower, I thought I would detail our itinerary for those interested in such things. We leave early next week from Lexington Bluegrass Airport. We'll take a short flight to Chicago O'Hare where we'll begin the international leg of our journey. From here we'll fly eight and a half hours to Frankfurt Germany. After a six hour layover, we'll head for India. Bangalore is a mere eight hours away! We'll be pulling into the Bangalore airport at around 1:30am local time. At first I thought that would be an inconvenient time, but we have come to understand that a majority of international flights from the west land during the late night hours. With any luck we'll pass through customs unscathed, exchange some money and locate our driver who will take us to our hotel.
After hopefully getting a little more sleep and relaxation it's time to head to Ashraya Children's Home, where we'll meet Manu for the first time. This will forever be celebrated by us as our "gotacha" day, the day we finally became a family. In many cases, the Children's home will require a few visits to the orphanage before releasing the child to the adoptive parents. This is to allow the child time to adjust to his/her new parents. We're hoping, however, because of Manu's young age-he'll be just over nine months when we meet him-that they will allow us to take him that day. It will be hard if we have to leave him, but we understand why this is necessary.
We'll be staying three days in Bangalore, which is located in south-central India. We hope to have some time to get out and about with Manu and see the city, but that will depend on the requirements of Ashraya. On Saturday we'll take a short inter-country flight due north to New Delhi, the Capital of India and the location of the US Embassy where we'll process his paperwork for his Visa to enter this country.
Monday, January 26th is Republic Day, one of India's most celebrated holidays, and New Delhi is central to the festivities. This should be fun to experience with Manu. Unfortunately, this means the Embassy is closed, so we'll have to wait until Tuesday to get started. We've been told that it takes 2 days to process all of the information needed to grant him clearance into the US, but we've added a few extra days to the trip just in case, and to site-see. We're looking forward to experiencing the bazaars and temples of Delhi, but we're really hoping to be able to travel to Agra, about 3 hours east, to visit the Taj Mahal. I know thats a lot to expect of a little boy, but if he's up to it we're definitely going!
We'll begin to trace our steps back home on Saturday the 31st. We'll arrive back in Lexington on, you guessed it, the 31st. Three days to get there and 18 hours to get home, LOL.
At that point we'll begin the best part of our journey.