Sunday, September 25, 2005

Miss Kate-the-Great HaiYang Braun!

(Such a big name for such a little girl. I have no doubt that you'll be able to live up to every syllable of it!) We love you, we miss you (and yes, we realize you can't read this, but we need to write it anyway), we hope you are having the best of days with your first family, and we pray that we will be spending your 16-month birthday with you. More than anything, we wish you laughter, silly moments, and gentle hugs from those who have blessed our lives by blessing you.

Make sure to scroll down to see pictures of Guilin!

And now, for our updates:

  • We are waiting on our Travel Approval (which is all contingent on the U.S. Consulate's datebook).
  • We are waiting to see if we will be allowed to travel to Kate's city of Guilin before her adoption in the capital city of Nanning.
  • We are waiting to find out our travel itinerary. We can expect anywhere from one to three weeks notice. We do know that the very earliest we might travel is October 22nd.
  • We are waiting to find out if we will get updated pictures and medical reports.
  • We are waiting for our travel agency to process our visas.
  • We are waiting.... You get the drift. Luckily, this is something we've gotten VERY used to doing.

Progress made:

  • We have chosen a pediatrician, who looked at Kate's medical history (what we have anyway) and has said that she looks great. She's definitely on the small side, but proportionate. She has low iron in her blood, but this is not unusual in these situations.
  • Melissa has arranged to take a leave of absence through the Family and Medical Leave Act. She is taking 60 work days off, plus also gets any of the holidays already scheduled for the school system. She LOVES her students, but you know what they say: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." They also will have a great substitute teacher who is already preparing for her 3 months of teenage fun.
  • Melissa has made arrangements for daycare when she has to return to work. She is seriously considering smuggling her child into work and then, when people ask about the baby, just giving them the deadpan look and saying "Baby? What baby?"
  • Kate's room is almost done. We will post pics when it is. An artist friend of ours, Bobby, whom Scott works with is painting a mural on Kate's wall. Once we found out that her Chinese name means "Ocean," we knew we had to honor that somehow. We still want to keep the girly pink and green, so Bobby is going to paint a little ocean / surf mural on part of the wall. In fact, it will look something like this, over a pink wall:

  • Our house is almost entirely repaired at this point. For those of you who don't know about our fiascos, let us just tell you: new plumbing, a/c, redoing the ceiling and part of the walls in one room, gutting and redoing one entire bathroom -- these all make for stressful -- not to mention expensive -- times when what we really want to be doing is getting ready for our little one. Ah, the joys of home ownership.
  • Scott's parents have agreed to stay at our house to take care of the dogs for part of the time while we're gone. If we are gone from November 7 - 13th, we're going to see who else we can get to stay with them. Keeping them in a kennel is expensive and we also think that it wouldn't make for the happiest reunion when they're meeting our little Ocean Girl.
  • We are busy obtaining the prescriptions we need for our travels and hoping to get a flu shot before we leave.
  • Melissa has written and rewritten packing lists for us. As we are going Carry-On Only, this is an art! (It also gives her something to do when she's stressing out, tired and needing to do something related to Kate.) We truly believe that we don't need to bring much, that they have laundry services there, and most of what we can buy here, we can buy there (only a heck of a lot cheaper).

As we continue to wait, and as Kate continues to grow in our absence, please keep her in your thoughts / prayers. She has a big adjustment ahead of her and we're sure she will handle it well, but the truth is that she will have some grieving to do. Children shouldn't have to experience these kinds of losses and changes, but as these changes are ultimately good, we just pray that we'll be able to provide her with a safe, loving environment in which she can adjust at her own pace -- whatever that pace may be.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, some pictures of Guilin (Kate's city):

ABOVE: Sunrise on the Li River in Guilin City. The rock formations are the Karst mountains.

BELOW: A panoramic view of the small city of Guilin, with Karst mountains in the back.

BELOW: Pictures from Guilin Social Welfare Institute, where Kate spent her first 9 months. (This is also where Melissa believes -- for no known reason -- that Kate HaiYang's foster mother works.) The Guilin SWI is considered excellent, thanks in large part to Half the Sky Foundation ( who trains nannies, teachers, foster parents; who funds special projects such as playrooms or classrooms; who provides for basic needs so that the children can be healthy, etc. We are incredibly grateful that Kate is from here! Clockwise from left: Guilin SWI exterior; teaching /playing time; crib room; play area.

And finally, we bid you farewell for now, with a toast of snake wine, a tempting taste treat from Guilin City. We wonder if it goes better with fish, chicken or beef. I guess we'll find out soon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Time goes by fast....she'll be in your arms before you know it.

Aunt Laurie