This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Every morning, Gracie Mei Huntsman asks, "Can we go get Asha? Right now?"
In a week, the answer could be "yes."
Utah's first family is planning a pre-Christmas trip to India to pick up their 1-year-old adopted daughter, Asha Bharati.
The itinerary is still tentative; it depends on a final document being recorded.
But after a year of waiting and worrying, first lady Mary Kaye Huntsman is finally allowing herself to hope: She bought diapers this week. Size 3. She wasn't sure exactly how big Asha is.
"I must have stood there for five minutes," Huntsman said Wednesday.
The unknown, the anxiety and the reams of paperwork are all part of the toil of adopting internationally. In many ways, it's like giving birth, Huntsman says, but more complicated.
"I don't know that there is an adoption that isn't complex. Most have their ups and downs. And then there's the joy at the end," Huntsman said. "You can't get frustrated. It's a process and you have to go through every stage."
The idea of adopting in India first occurred to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. long before he was elected. Compelled by the poverty he saw in that country, he convinced his wife to consider the idea. Then he ran for office.
After an election hiatus, the Huntsmans submitted their application a year ago. They went through background checks and financial reviews. But Indian officials were concerned: Is Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. an employee in good standing at his job? (Office manager Fran Stultz vouched for him.) There is no covered parking at the Governor's Mansion? (Can't be helped.) In the end, the Indian orphanage used a Huntsman family photo to match Asha to her new parents and six siblings.
"They know every single thing about you by the time you've adopted," the first lady said.
In the meantime, the family celebrated Asha's first birthday Nov. 13 in absentia with dinner at Star of India restaurant. The bouncer they bought months ago has become obsolete - the little girl is standing and taking her first tentative steps. Huntsman says she is desperately searching for the toys and clothing she put in storage when Gracie outgrew them.
The mansion's Christmas theme this year is: "Children of Utah United in the Community." Dolls created to look like the Huntsmans' two adopted daughters are tucked around a children's picture book - Bringing Asha Home - on a mantle.
If the trip goes as planned, the Huntsmans hope to bring Asha home the same time of year they brought now-7-year-old Gracie from China to Utah - the week before Christmas. The two girls will share a room. Gracie promises to share.
This week, a video arrived. "She is so cute. Oh, she's cute," she said. "It makes us very anxious to go."