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Huntsmans may get Asha by Christmas

Published: Monday, Dec. 4 2006 11:11 p.m. MST

Asha Bharati

Courtesy Huntsman family

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It looks like a Christmas wish may come true for Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and his family — he and first lady Mary Kaye Huntsman are planning to travel to India mid-month to bring home the year-old girl they're adopting.

The Huntsmans have been trying for almost a year to finalize the adoption of the girl they've already named Asha Bharati. As recently as October, they were ready to travel to her orphanage, located in the western India city of Porbandar.

But delays in completing the adoption paperwork by the Indian government forced the family to wait. Now, it appears that Utah's first family will be expanding this month to seven children, including 7-year-old Gracie Mei, who was adopted from China in 1999.

"The Huntsmans are hopeful they'll be able to bring Asha home for Christmas," said Lisa Roskelley, a spokeswoman for the governor.

The first lady expressed her excitement Monday about the new addition during a holiday press event at the Governor's Mansion.

Huntsman said recently that Asha had celebrated her first birthday. There's a silver-framed picture of her as a baby displayed among other family photos in the governor's private office and a stack of more current shots in a desk drawer.

The family chose the name for their newest child, the governor has said, because Asha means "hope" and Bharati means "India."

He expects to take at least some of his other children along on the trip to India, Roskelley said. Only the first lady and Gracie Mei were scheduled to go to the orphanage when it looked like the adoption would come through in October.

Huntsman was already leading a trade mission to China at that time, and intended to pick up Asha at the end of a week in Beijing and Shanghai. He and his wife were hoping then to show Gracie Mei the country where she was born.

Last year, the Huntsmans' two oldest children, Mary Anne and Abby, both left home to attend school in the east. Their two teenage boys, Jon III and William, and their teenage daughter, Elizabeth, are still living in the Governor's Mansion, along with Gracie Mei.


E-mail: lisa@desnews.com

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