Tuesday, April 29, 2008


We got an email from our agency about an hour ago letting us know that China has issues our TA and it is on its way to the United States. YES!!!

For those of you not familiar with the "alphabet soup" of adoption, TA stands for Travel Approval. It means we've officially been invited to China to get our little guy! Let the countdown begin.

What next? The last step in the adoption trip is the American Consulate for a swearing in ceremony, so the itinerary works backwards from there. So we just requested our U.S. Consulate Appointment (also known as "CA"). We should hear if we got our first, second, or third choice (choices have to be a week apart) by next Friday. I'm hoping we'll hear sooner.

Our requests, in order, were 6/2, 6/9, 6/16.

If we get our CA on 6/2, that means we would leave for China on 5/23 and probably meet Addison on 5/25 (which also happens to be our 11th Wedding Anniversary).

Wow. We've got a lot of work to do before then.

Wow. We're really going to be a family of four.

Wow. God has truly blessed us.

~The Lucky Ones

Friday, April 18, 2008

There's No Place Like Home - now with DIAGNOSIS UPDATE

Kate has mononucleosis. I guess this should be a predicted outcome for a girl that likes boys so much! We are praying that this will resolve itself and not be indicative of any chronic conditions or a precursor to anything serious. I've been online doing reading about mono and the Epstein-Barr Virus that causes it. Sounds like Kate will be pretty darn tired for a while and will have to avoid contact sports for the next several weeks (cancel that tackle football game), but this *should* be the worst of it.

We'll see the doctor next week and I'll have a bunch of questions for her about monitoring, possibilities of chronic conditions, questions about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and more. Poor, poor pediatrician. I'll be coming in with quite the list! :-)

Yippee -- Kate and I are finally home! We got home around 7pm last night and Kate had the biggest smile I'd seen on her face in a week (with the exception of meeting a horse today -- horses totally rate in Kate's world) when she saw Scott. I was pretty happy to see him and our home, as well.

Kate came home without a definitive diagnosis, but still the strong suspicion of mono or some kind of "super virus." More blood work in a week, but at least she's fever-free for 48 hours and her repeat bloodwork showed improvement. Now, if we can reach the point where she's not sleeping 20 out of 24 hours, I'll be thrilled. On our way home, she pointed to a McDonald's and I asked her if she wanted french friesand she nodded. You've never seen a car pull into Mickey D's so fast! Kate has lost probably 3 pounds in the past week, so if she wants to mainline sugar, well -- she just might be able to convince me. LOL

Thank you for all your prayers and offers of help. Of course we are still concerned about Kate and her well-being, so keep the prayers coming, but we are feeling pretty enthused about her progress. We are also back to embracing the excitement about meeting our son soon! We can’t wait to bring him home and love on him!

You know, every day I am more in love with God’s goodness. This past year has not been an easy one, but it has been one in which has been more meaningful than any before. Never before have I had such a strong sense of God’s presence, an understanding of priorities, a developing appreciation that life is beautiful even in loss or pain.

We are abundantly blessed to have people in our lives that care about our daughter, care about us, and care about furthering God’s grace in the world. We so appreciate your friendship.


Very Lucky and Blessed Mama to Kate and, soon, Addison!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Still Here....

The Fantastic News:
  1. The fever disappeared about 12 hours ago. Hopefully, it will stay gone. :-)
  2. They were able to get blood fairly easily today, but the one sample did not "take" because she clotted too quickly. Since we're here for another day, the doctor wasn't concerned and will not bother her with more blood work until tonight or early tomorrow morning. Works for me!
  3. Kate is EATING!!!! Woo-Hoo! She has lost 2+ pounds this week, so I am thrilled to report that she ate a full breakfast this morning. Bacon, a full English muffin slathered with peanut butter, and a few bites of scrambled egg. We've been doing a gluten-free, casein-free diet, but at this point, I'm willing to start over on the gluten part after she is well again. I've decided to reintroduce some gluten at some point to see if it makes a difference -- I guess now is as good a time as any. She remains dairy-free, however, as dairy really messes with her system.
  4. After breakfast, we took a walk around the hallways and Kate waved to all the boys and men she saw (sorry, ladies -- you just don't rate with Miss Flirtypants). This is the Kate I know and love....

The Not-So-Fantastic, but Not Horrible News:

  1. We're here for another night, which is a bummer, but things are looking good. The doctors want to make sure all her bloodwork improves and that she eats and drinks plenty on her own before sending us home. As much as I wish we could go home right now, I'd rather make sure all is well so we don't have to come back! It's a fantastic hospital, but it's still a hospital....
  2. One area of concern is that Kate iss extremely wobbly on her feet-- like she was when she was on pain meds. after her tonsillectomy. We're hoping it's just from being bed ridden, but if it doesn't improve, they will do a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. Eeegads, Lord save us from the spinal tap (and the meningitis, of course).
  3. Because Kate had a fever last night, she can't go to the playroom or to the event today where Animal Kingdom brings animals for the kids to interact with. Unfortunately, she heard them talking about animals and looked up at me and said, "go" -- Katespeak for "Let's go see them." She LOVES animals and was disappointed when I told her we couldn't go....
  4. We're still not sure what's wrong, but the suspicion is still a nasty virus. Mono is definitely a possibility and we're waiting on the results of that test, along with a few others.
Please continue to keep Kate in your prayers. I appreciate it more than you know. And you might as well include Scott in the prayers, as well, as he has been home since Sunday with a high fever. Poor babies!

With love,


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Things are looking up!

Thanks for your prayers -- and keep 'em coming!

We've had several doctors in her this morning and they all think, so far, that Kate's illness is viral in nature. They are suspecting and testing for mono -- which I asked about yesterday, the smart Dr. Mom that I am. More tests today to include TB, hepatitis, and some other blood panels.

The hematologist hasn't been in yet, which is the one I'm most looking forward to seeing -- I'd rather hear that the abnormal blood work seems fitting for a virus from the blood expert, you know?

Unfortunately, we are having to discontinue Kate's seizure meds. (which have really increased her receptive and expressive language, as well as her eye contact) for several weeks just to absolutely rule out that it's not affecting her. The neurologist really does not think that it's affecting her, so I'm pretty bummed about taking her off. It takes a while for it to reach therapeutic dosage and effectiveness, so we just took a step back. In the big scheme of things, though, I can see why we're doing it.
Kate is sleeping now and has been sleeping almost non-stop whenever she's not being touched or prodded. I pray that these are healing slumbers and that, before too long, she's antsy and in perpetual motion like usual.

Kate and Opa on Easter Day, 2008 -- Is she not the CUTEST?!!

More later,


Guess Who's Back at Arnold Palmer Hospital?

Yep, it's my favorite little gal, Kate.
Based on a six-day "fever of unknown origin," low white blood cell count, very low platelets, and some other irregular bloodwork, we're back in Orlando. Although the pediatrician had diagnosed her with pneumonia, the repeat chest x-ray reports that she does not have pneumonia. She also does not have the flu. This is good news, but that leaves us in the confusion of figuring out what she DOES have.

We checked in at about 6pm and I just got Kate to bed. They attempted bloodwork and an IV for FIVE hours. Three nurses, the PICU team, you name it -- they were all awesome at their job and truly felt awful about all the poking and prodding, but Kate's veins are just not cooperative in the best of times. They poked her feet, her legs, her wrist, the crooks of her arm, the top of her hand. I kept it all together until they started looking at her neck. The doctor decided to give her a break at that point.

They were able to get enough blood to run a few tests -- still came back irregular, although white blood cells were improved. Something called "lactage dehydrogenase" is WAY high, which is a concern to the pediatrician who's on duty. They've called in a pediatric hematologist to check Kate out tomorrow and we'll also attempt more bloodwork in the a.m.

They are still going to check for Hepatitus, TB, and all sorts of other stuff. The hope is that this is just a really mean "A" virus (whatever that means) and not something more sinister. The feeling is that this is a virus, but of course I am a worried mama at this point. When the doctor said, "it's probably not leukemia, but some of these blood results are a real concern," well -- I don't even have the words. I can't even go there.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE -- Say a prayer for Kate when you read this. My baby has been through SO MUCH this past few months and has really taken it on the chin. I need for her to catch a break.

Thanks for your prayers,

The Lucky Mama

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thanks and More!

Thanks to all of you angels for helping us in our fundraising efforts! We have raised about $400 this weekend alone. WOWZA!

  • Thanks to Cindy, Karen & Natalie for your generous contributions to the sale. And Natalie, your secret boy band crush is safe with me. Those cd's haven't sold yet, so if you are pining for your boys, let me know. ;-)

  • Thanks to our eBay buyers.

  • Thanks to all for your enthusiasm and prayers! Someday I get to tell Addison just how much he was loved by so many people before he even officially joined the family. How cool is that?!!
The garage sale went very well. I think we'll try it one more time, as we still have some good things to sell. This past weekend was Spring Break weekend, which I thought would be a good time to have the sale, but apparently lots of families are not spending their money on flying to China and, hence, are on vacation. Who knew?!! :-)
Now, if you could all send your prayers to Kate, we would really appreciate it. She has pneumonia and has had a fever since Wednesday morning. The fever will dip down to 100 for a few hours and then go back up to 102 - 104. She's heading back to the doctor tomorrow and, although I'm sure she's fine, I'm worried about her. She's not eating, drinking very little, and just wants to be be held or lay on the floor. (And as a special bonus, Scott is sick with a fever too.) I'll keep you updated.

~The Lucky Ones

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fundraisers Galore!

Garage Sale, Friday & Saturday 8am - 2ish

Email mbraun@cfl.rr.com for directions if you live in Brevard County, FL. Lots of awesome kids stuff!

Ebay Items


5th Edition Going Home Barbie -- only available to adoptive parents staying at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, China.

T-shirts with Adoption Themes

Dress-Up Dora - NEW

Epson Powerlite Projector

Portable Tripod Screen 60 x 60

Chicago Cubs Memorabilia (If Scott is selling his Cubs' stuff, you KNOW he means business!)


If you don't see things listed right away, check back. I'll be listing items over the next several days. Kate has pneumonia AGAIN, so we're working with every free moment we have (not so easy to come by....).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Batter Up!

...will be making his "home run" sometime in June!

On Monday morning, I got THE call -- the call that told us we had been officially matched with Addison. Those crazy people -- letting us be parents AGAIN.

So what happens now? We wait for Travel Approval, apply for visas, raise some more money, make plans for Kate, panic about everything, etc. So far, all we've been able to do is walk around with silly grins on our faces.

Our adoption agency anticipates us traveling as early as mid-May!

I'm counting the minutes until that sweet boy is in my arms....

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Help Autism Research!

Chevrolet has partnered with an organization called Autism Speaks and hopes to raise a million dollars this month for Autism Awareness Month. You can help by just watching a very short video introduction of the new Chevy Malibu on the Autism Speaks website.

Each time this video is viewed, Chevy will donate to Autism Speaks. Just go to http://www.autismspeaks.org/ and click on the "Chevy for Autism" link.

The video isn't long, and it can really help some very deserving children.*
Thanks to http://www.familyforsophie.blogspot/ for the text of this post. :-)
I'll post more about LOA tomorrow, but needless to say -- we're thrilled, and scared, and excited, and nervous, and worried about money, and feeling all those things that you are supposed to be when you are parents AGAIN.

Monday, April 07, 2008

LOA, baby!

More later....

With grins from The Lucky Ones

Saturday, April 05, 2008



Good news continues in our little corner of the world. The results of Kate's 48-hour EEG indicate that she is seizure-free. When I asked the neurologist about taking her off the seizure med. she is on (Lamictal), she told me that one of the side effects they have been finding for it is that it helps kids "on the spectrum" (aka, autism spectrum) to improve eye-contact and increase verbalization. We have noticed this in Kate, as has the neurologist. Kate is definitely having a language explosion -- albeit a very garbled one. It's okay -- the attempt to communicate is most important.

We've realized that Kate's language issue is a combination of speech apraxia and autism. Very difficult to overcome, but who likes things the easy way...? We are working very hard with sign language and some other tools to help Kate express her feelings -- especially when she is frustrated. More on this later, but we can already see how these tools can change all of our lives. :-)


We are still waiting on our "Letter of Seeking Confirmation" from China, what we call LOA -- Letter of Acceptance. That means that China has put the red seal on the match, and then we wait for Travel Approval, and then we go get our son.

Our dossier was logged-in on January 15th. Several people with late January log-in dates just got their LOA's, so we are starting to feel hopeful about next week. Each adoption agency has a different paperwork rep. in China, and we apparently have a slightly "slower" rep. Please say a prayer that our LOA will be here soon.

We want to get our boy home!

~With love from The Lucky Ones