‘Come pick him up’
AVON – It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.On a warm spring evening, June 1, 2004, we learned that if you stuff enough middle school musicians into the Gerald Ford Amphitheater, and they play loudly enough, they don’t sound too bad.At that point, we had one kid, a delightful daughter, Morgan, who would be 13 the next day.After a performance that was everything you hope a junior high band concert could be, we decided we were hungry and headed to Narayan’s Nepal in Avon. Because we were frustrated from trying to adopt a kid from Nepal for the better part of two years, it was a little like driving past your girlfriend’s house when you’re mad at her.After so much frustration and disappointment, we were sure it was never going to happen.We sat down, the bride and daughter wandered off, and a wonderful Nepali woman came over to take the drink orders.’Please, begin again'”What can we serve you?” she asked.
I looked past her, to a poster of the Himalayas on the restaurant wall behind her, and snapped, “Are you from Nepal? What’s the matter with that country?!?”She gazed at me, and I could feel my karma slipping.”We’ve been trying to adopt a kid from Nepal and …””Stop,” she said quietly, waving over one of the restaurant’s owners, who stood smiling beside the table. “Please, begin again.”I said, “For the better part of two years, we’ve been trying to adopt a kid from Nepal and we’ve had nothing but …””Stop,” said the owner, who waved her husband over. He sat down smiling. His wife said, “Please, begin again.”I did as I was asked. “OK, for the better part of the last couple years we’ve been trying to adopt a kid from Nepal and we have nothing but trouble …””Stop,” he said, waving over a good looking young man from across the restaurant. The young man sat down and the husband said, “Please, tell us your story.”By then, my bride and daughter were back, and surprised to find that our quiet dinner had grown in number and cultural diversity. We told the whole story, with five-part harmony and full orchestration, while they listened politely.
When we were finished, Shanti, the wife, asked me to write down our name, address and phone number on a piece of paper. I tore it off and handed it to her. She walked softly over to the counter and picked up the phone.”Who’s she calling?” I asked.”Nepal,” smiled her husband Shyam.By then dinner had arrived and I didn’t think much more about it, except I was grateful they had all nodded reassuringly during all the most frustrating parts of the story.Shanti hung up, walked back over and handed my information sheet to the good looking young man, Raj, who turned out to be a Nepalese attorney. He carried it over to the phone and started punching buttons.”Who’s he calling?” I asked Shyam.”Nepal,” smiled Shyam.At that point, all I knew was that they’d made two telephone calls. I wasn’t sure to whom. We ate dinner, it was fabulous, we overtipped and left.As we made our way to the door, Shyam smiled and said, “You can expect very good news very soon.”
Match is madeWe later learned that Shanti had dialed Sushil Shrestha in Kathmandu, exactly the right Nepalese government official in exactly the right office. She had cajoled him out of his chair and convinced him to walk a half mile from his office to the Bal Mandir orphanage, and have a word with the director.He had to walk because the Maoists had orchestrated a general strike and there was no other way to get there, no cabs or buses. We also learned that it was raining in Kathmandu when Sushil took his stroll.We later learned that the young Nepalese attorney dialed up Bal Mandir’s director and explained that an American family was in their restaurant, that he knows them, that they’re OK, and that he should expedite their adoption process. They have a dossier in your pile. Please pull it out. Basically, they want a kid; pick them out a good one. And by the way, Sushil Shrestha is walking down there in the rain to visit. By the time Sushil arrived, 9:30 p.m. Rocky Mountain Time, June 1, 2004, the match had been made.At 8:30 a.m., June 2, 2004, my daughter’s 13th birthday, we got a call and pulled her out of class to relay the news; “Your son has been matched. Come pick him up.”Staff writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 615, or firstname.lastname@example.org.