Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Looks like April!

Well, Katelyn turned 8 months old on Sunday and we are ready to bring her home. We had a two and a half hour travel meeting last night with our agency. We got to meet three of the other families that are traveling with us and the other seven families called in from around the country via teleconference. We basically went over everything from filling out our visa applications to itinerary, to money...and everything in between.

So our tentative schedule is:
  • Depart Lexington - April 10th
  • Arrive in Beijing - April 11th (12 hours ahead and 20 hours of traveling later)
  • Sightseeing in Beijing April 12th and 13th
  • Depart Beijing for Nanchang, Jiangxi - April 13th (late afternoon/early evening)
  • Stay in Jiangxi -April 13-20
  • Receive Katelyn - April 13 when we get to Nanchang or the next morning on April 14th
  • Adoption finalized (on China's end) the day after we receive Katelyn
  • Depart for Guangzhou - April 20th
  • US Consulate Appointment - April 22nd
  • Oath Ceremony (where we promise to take care of Katelyn) - April 23rd
  • Depart for the USA - April 24th (arrive the same day because we gain 12 hours!)-Katelyn is a US citizen as soon as we land in the US!

We will not have all of these dates officially until a couple of weeks before we travel, but these look fairly solid, give or take a day. Josh will be off work from April 9-May 1, so we'll have a week together once we get home to get over the jet lag and begin to transition on this end.

I feel like there's a whole lot to do in the next seven weeks! I'm making lots of lists right now. We worked on the nursery this weekend and it's looking very cute. The furniture is assembled and now I'm decorating. I'll post pictures when I get done!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Middle name

Well, we came full circle and we're back to where we started over two years ago....so Katelyn Grace McDonald it will be. We really wanted to take some time to talk about whether we would keep part of Katelyn's Chinese name as a middle name, but we decided that if we did that we would make it a second middle name and Katelyn McDonald with two middle names in there was going to be a mighty long name. We were hoping that there would be some information in the translated documents we got indicating why they picked her name, but there isn't. We feel like it's only by God's grace that we are being given the opportunity to raise this baby...and God's grace trumps country, language and culture....so Grace seems to be a fitting middle name for our daughter. It feels so great to know what she looks like and what we will name her. We're getting closer!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Healthy again!

So the day after we got our referral, I (Melissa) got the flu and was really sick for a week. I NEVER get sick...not for a week anyway. I think God wanted me to stay away from the mall.

All of the offices in China have been closed all week for Chinese New Year, so we still haven't received our translated documents. We are supposed to get them tomorrow or Friday. This will give us more information about the baby. We have a pediatrician here in town who has adopted from China and specializes in international adoption. She's going to evaluate all of Katelyn's medical information for us. She's also going to be our pediatrician when Katelyn comes home.

We have a travel meeting on Monday evening and that meeting should answer all of our questions about how the rest of this process is going to go.

We have Katelyn's picture up on the entertainment center and every time I look up I think about how sweet our baby is. We're ready to go get her!!!!

I've been able to meet (via e-mail) several of the other families that will be in our travel group. One other family is adopting a baby from the same orphanage Katelyn is in. They live up near Chicago. There's another familiy that's from Mesa, AZ...out by where my parents live. One familiy lives north of Cincinnati and another lives just south of Elizabethtown (about an hour and a half from Lexington). Everyone seems really nice and I think we're going to have a great trip. There are 12 families all together. We're all ready to head to China.

This weekend we (okay my brother and a couple of Josh's friends) are going to assemble the crib and the glidder/ottoman so that I can finish decorating the nursery.

My friend Susan is going to host a baby shower for us on March 15th which is so fun and sweet. She asked if we wanted a couple's shower or just girls. I asked Josh and he looked horrified, while saying, "I don't want to go." I guess that answers that question. :) I told him he had to look at EVERYTHING when I got home.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I know it's a bit hard to read...but we will start in the north in Beijing and then travel south to Jiangxi province where Katelyn is in the south and then move on to the very south down in Guangdong. The US consulate is in Guangzhou. You can click on this map to make it larger.

Below is the province map of Jiangxi. Zhangshu City is the first dot down river, south of Nanchang. We will stay in Nanchang.

Picture of Katelyn's orphanage

I found a picture of the Zhangshu Social Welfare Institute where Katelyn is living. My understanding is that it's pretty small. I'm trying to find out more. From the pictures I've seen, the area that she's in is rural and very green. One adoptive family said that she thought there were about 20 children there currently. That's really small. In China the Social Welfare Institutes are not just for children, but for the elderly also. Here is a link to another family's visit to this institution when they adopted their daughter. http://es.youtube.com/watch?v=A6-dOaH0cPI

For all of you who have called and e-mailed to celebrate with us, thank you! I apologize to those I haven't gotten back to. I had a sore throat yesterday and when I left a meeting at the church last night I wasn't feeling well and by the time I got home I had a fever of 100 and the chills. I was in bed by 10 and slept for 12 1/2 hours only to wake up and feel even worse. I've been on the couch all day. Such a bummer. I have a friend with similar symptoms who went to the Dr. today and was diagnosed with bronchitis. So if I feel like this again tomorrow, I'll be at the Dr. too. So I'm not ignoring anyone...I just feel lousy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What a crazy 24 hours

What an amazing day! Josh and I are so excited and it has been so fun to share our great news with everyone. We know that everyone who loves us has waited just as long as we have to welcome this little girl into our lives. Thank you for celebrating with us.

Tomorrow we should be receiving translated documents and will know more about our daughter. We know that the orphanage she is in is located in Zhangshu City (pronounced drahn-shoo, I believe) and that Katelyn has been there since the day after she was born. When we travel we will stay in Nanchang, the capital city of the Jiangxi (pronounced Jee-an-she, I believe) province. It looks like Nanchang is about 2 hours north of Zhangshu where Katelyn is. The baby will be brought to us in Nanchang, but we hope we will get a chance to go down and visit her orphanage. Sometimes that's allowed and sometimes it isn't. From what we are learning, Zhangshu City is very rural and poor. It is a farming community mainly of rice fields. There is a yahoo group of families that are adopting from or have adopted from this same orphanage and I have joined that group. It seems like the babies are well cared for there. I don't believe that it's a very large orphanage.

Please pray with us that Katelyn's orphanage has what it needs right now. With the terrible snow storms in the southern part of China, some of the orphanages have been hit hard and it is hard to find the supplies that they need. Chinese New Year begins in a couple of days and that is not really helping. Our prayer is that Katelyn is warm and that her physical needs are being met. We are sure that the orphanage staff will do all that they can to care for the children. We are just anxious to bring her home.

Monday, February 4, 2008

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!

SURPRISE!!! It's a girl! We got our referral....

Name: Zhang Bi Wan (Zhang is her last name, Bi is her first name, Wan is her middle name)
Soon to be: Katelyn (haven't decided on a middle name yet)
DOB: 6/17/07
From: Zhangshu Social Welfare, Jiangxi Provine (in southern China)
Height and Weight - as of three months ago: 24 inches and 14 pounds (all in her cheeks!)
She sits up, rolls over, likes to listen to music and play with toys, she laughs out loud (oh we can't wait to hear that sound!)