SSN wanted to have a picnic away from the orphanage to say goodbye to Aakriti. A charming idea. They rented a big van and picked us up. There were nine kids and seven adults.
The picnic was needed by the SSN staff. Aakriti was the second child when the orphanage began and she is only the third to leave. All the didis had their pictures taken with Aakriti and then did some group shots (note: I’m not the photographer for those, but took this during a groupshot).
I utterly failed to understand how hard this would be on Aakriti. While I had some concerns, they were mainly that she would spurn me during the picnic and then we’d get back to normal. I underestimated the impact of a second "separation" on her!
When they first dropped us off back at the hotel, Aakriti was distraught and sobbing. She calmed after a bit and we went outside as she wanted, then more sobbing and some combativeness. Screaming through the hotel lobby a second time, back to the room again (along the way, Nepali women occasionally take Aakriti to comfort her — exactly the opposite of what she needs or I want, but culturally inexplainanble — Aakriti is generally not comforted and reaches back for me, a good sign that, in the moment, consoles no one).
During the next stint in the room, there was an incredibly tender moment that would get me through the night. Aakriti was fairly exhausted and sitting on my lap playing quietly. Suddenly, she stood up, turned around, very deliberately kissed me on the lips, and then turned back around and resumed her seat on my lap.
The hours that followed were largely inconsolable sobbing. Aakriti did not want to be on the hotel grounds; she would direct me out to the street where the van had been. She would direct me this way and that and when I did not comply, she screamed horribly. I got my share of suspect, even hateful, looks on the street.
Back in the room, more struggle. Ultimately, she would fight to get out of bed and go sit by the door to the room, screaming when I came near her. I finally had to physically hold her in bed until, after about 45 minutes, she fell asleep at 10:00 p.m.
Fortunately, this morning, things are back to where they were. Smiles, play, and lovingness. I’m not sure I could have endured much more of last night (hopefully it will just be a memory).
Aakriti is napping now, being, understandably, rather exhausted. We went to the embassy and received her visa and other travel documents today. We are now all set to return home Saturday!
Tagged: , picnic , farewell , orphanage , SSN , sahayogi sumaj nepal , http://sahayogi.org , gooddbye , kathmandu , nepal , children