Two weeks and three days: Q & A

October 24th, 2011

Question:  When do you leave to pick up precious Katie Bird???

Answer:  There are now two weeks and three days (17 days) until we fly to Katie’s country.  That means tomorrow it will be only 16 days, and tomorrow is coming like the blink of an eye!

We plan to fly out of Philadelphia on Thursday, November 10th, and arrive in her country the next day, Friday, November 11th, and be taken to stay with the Bliss family for two days.

During those two days, the plan is for us to do some resting up for the marathon ahead, and some shopping, with the help of our friends.  We will need to purchase the director’s and caregivers’ gifts, disposable diapers, and Katie’s food for the week, so the hotel kitchen and I can replicate what and how she’s been eating, per the information our attorney obtained from Katie’s orphanage.

Wait, it’s not Katie’s orphanage any more.  She has a real home.  There’s just this small matter of getting her from there to here.  Then there will be no more Katie’s country, Katie’s city, Katie’s orphanage.  We’ll have to come up with some other code words until the burn ban is lifted.  Any suggestions??


Question:  Is taking cloth diapers to her orphanage on your radar?

Answer:  We received authoritative word that this orphanage does not accept or use cloth diapers.  


Question:  When Katerina Hope arrives in the US, will she be in the hospital right away?

Answer:  Yes.

Our flight will come into Philadephia.  Doctor Susan Friedman, the doctor from the CHOPADOPT international adoption clinic who is meticulously overseeing Katie’s case, has already arranged for us to bypass the emergency room at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (hereafter referred to as CHOP), and be directly admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (hereafter referred to as the PICU).  We aren’t planning to use an ambulance for transport unless Adam Boroughs, the nurse who has generously volunteered to accompany us, deems it necessary.  Plan A calls for a kind friend of the Boroughs to drive us from the airport to the hospital.

Dr. Friedman has warned us to expect a PICU stay of at least one week, then for Katie to be moved to an intermediate care unit before being released to go home.  I plan to stay with her for the duration, sleeping in the family waiting area at night while she’s in the PICU, then staying with her once she’s given a room.  We are praying that she stabilizes quickly, and is released soon after her PICU week is up.

So yes, she will still be in the hospital on Thanksgiving Day!  We haven’t gotten too far in our planning yet, but it looks so far like we might dispense with tradition, take the family to Philly, and…the rest is still under discussion as we research the options.  But my Very Favorite Day of the year just may be the first time the rest of our children get to meet their new sister!


Question:  Is the hospital close to where you live?

Answer:  It is about two hours from our home, allowing for the traffic congestion between here and there.


Question:  So you’ll be able to share all the amazing details that God has done in your adoption once you get her home?

Answer:  The day after Katie’s adoption was finalized, I was suddenly seized with the wild desire to come on here and write down all those details!

But like a good little girl, I said “No,” to myself.  Not yet.  We’ll know when the time comes.

At least you know you can trust me with your secrets.  <grin>


Question:  Have you decided whether or not to allow interviews with the media?

Answer:  After receiving wise counsel from various sources, we decided to call the hospital’s Public Relations (hereafter referred to as PR) department to talk it over with them.  I had a productive conversation today with our contact there.  Out of that, we have made a few decisions.

One, to take the PR camera along with us to keep a photo and video journal of the week there and trip home, in the event that we would decide to allow publicity.

Two, after the dust settles a bit, to make our decision about what, if any, publicity to allow.

And three, not to feel obligated or pressured to make a decision to allow publicity.

Four, to ask for your continued prayers for this unforeseen aspect of the story.  For the wisdom of serpents and harmlessness of doves.


Not-a-Question:  I know that there is a lot going on there right now!

Answer Anyway:  For Joe and me, life has definitely been set to High for speed, pressure, and spirits!  For the most part, though, the children have been pursuing their usual pursuits.  Well, they might be temporarily tripping over piles of Katie’s cute clothing and reaching around extra pots and pans.  Unless the weather summons them outdoors when their work is done for the day!

This would be an excellent place for some of the pictures I’ve been collecting recently.

Newly six-year-old boy chopped all those peppers for the freezer, and took great satisfaction in doing so by himself.

Verity stays busy reading books and making appearances on the blog posts of talented friends.

She was really keeping me company while I stain treated my way through a mountain of laundry.

One from the local clothing room, one from a local thrift store, in just the sizes we need–18 and 24 month.

Did you know that peanut butter cookies made with freshly-ground whole wheat flour and organic natural peanut butter have a wonderful flavor and perfect crispy, crunchy texture?


John Michael, if there are one dozen balls of cookie dough, and four boys, how many dough balls are there for each boy to smoosh?


What if there were fifteen balls of dough…?

Big brother home from his piano lesson, “Stephen, it will work better if you…”

Big boy to learn from Joseph!

“Boys, can you see any brown on the edges yet?”

They taste even better than the house smells.


Eeeek!  Watch that fork, James!

“I approve of these cookies!”

I told them I could do it faster without many small helpers, but it wouldn’t be as much fun!


It doesn’t quite hold twelve dozen, but that’s okay; we didn’t have that many left to put away.  *wink, wink*

Yep, sixty cents a box for the good stuff, thanks to the local Amish bent-and-dent.

Expandable families; expandable recipes.  Always room for one more…

Aluminum pans are not used in this home for acidic foods, so as not to heighten our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  Or is that an urban myth?

Cheese was given to us in huge blocks, shredded, measured into bags, labeled, and frozen for such a time as this.

Three meals’ worth of husband-happy food to add to our freezer stash.  For under $10 total.  Aaaaaah.

Sweet girls.

Doesn’t it look like we need another girl in our picture?  Jane wants to know, “How soon will she be able to sleep in her crib in our room?”

Sweet boys.



Bonus Question:   When is Katerina’s official birthdate?

Answer:  Our tiny Katie-bird was born March 23, 2002.  She is about two months younger than Jane.

Here is Jane, carefully spreading frosting onto fifty-four celebratory chocolate raspberry truffle cupcakes last Friday, to the tune of Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang (Hymn of Praise) Symphony.

We had always considered Jane to be small for her age.



Share it!

23 Responses to “Two weeks and three days: Q & A”

  1. Missy says:

    Thanks for the pictures. I love the little boys baking and watching their cookies bake through the oven door. Were they peanut butter cookies? Mmmmm.
    Verity was reading that book thoroughly! She is such a cutie. Do you have another step stool so next year Katie can sit with her and keep you company? It won’t be long and all of you will be under one roof. Keeping you in my prayers.

  2. Rilla says:

    Reading the dates in the blog, does this mean you will be picking Katie up on November 14th?

  3. Susanna says:

    Yes, that’s right, Rilla! :D

  4. Susanna says:

    Yes, yummy crunchy peanut butter cookies by Daddy’s request! :D

  5. Kristin says:

    Woohoo!  Counting down the days with you (and easier for me since I don’t have to prep, just pray while you prep :) )

    The little boys are so adorable!  Love all of the pics…. 

  6. Phyllis says:

    Katie’s FORMER orphanage. Oh, the joy in that short phrase! :)

  7. Sonya says:

    These were all sweet snapshots of your precious family.  I can’t even choose a favorite picture. :)  What love and warmth Katie is coming into!

  8. Barb says:

    I have a question which I’m sure is answered somewhere in your blog…How old are your children besides Katie and Verity?

  9. Susanna says:

    Barb, thank you for asking. I haven’t spelled it out; the About Our Family page gives their ages in the last family photo we had taken (2/11).

    Joseph, almost 18
    Daniel, 16
    Joshua, 14 1/2
    Laura, 12
    Jane, 9 1/2
    Katerina, 9 1/2 years, but her life in our family has not yet begun
    John Michael, 6
    Peter and James, almost 5
    Stephen, 3
    Verity, 16 mos. tomorrow :)

  10. sabrina says:

    So many good things in this precious post. I’ve been missing my Susanna’s Kitchen Day inspiration…thank you for that! Loved all the pictures and all the fabulous news!!

  11. Carol says:

    Thank you for sharing more details about what you expect in the next weeks as Katie comes home and for all the lovely photos of your family and home. Every photo is just beautiful and brimming over with love!

  12. Hi Susanna ~ First of all, Congratulations on your new Daughter!! I wanted to make a suggestion. I “think” that you and your family are eligible to stay at a Ronald McDonald House, during Katie’s hospital stay. I feel sad that you won’t all be together for a Thanksgiving Day meal and celebration. I know that they have meals on all holidays. A group of volunteers prepare a meal for all family members. You should get your name on the waiting list for a room. If you have a need to get away for a shower or just to sleep, that would be wonderful. I just think it would be great to be able to gather your family with other families who are dealing with a hospitalized child. It could be a time for your lovely family to witness to others about who our Lord is and how He has touched your lives! All of you are an inspiration! To have that 2 or 3 hours to gather would be nice. 
    Lots of Love in Jesus! ~ Jo 

  13. Barb says:

    Thanks for the ages…I thought I saw a lot of little boys about the same age…twins! :)

  14. Jamie says:

    Is there anything that I can mail to you for the orphanage? If so can you please email me at, I forget to come back and check the comments sometimes :)
    I LOVE PB cookies!

  15. Marci says:

    I’m excitedly waiting and praying with you all, Susanna! I love the pics and all the bright pink you girls are wearing! It’s obvious how blessed you are!

  16. Misty says:

    So very thrilled to read your blog updates here!!  
    I’d not thought about the need for medical care in route, but so glad to hear you have a nurse going with you!
    I second the Ronald McDonald House encouragement :D
    Love the pics of your family daily stuff.
    Thank you for being willing to share your lives, you have my regular prayers, and i’ve shared your blog with FB friends to encourage them to be praying too! 

  17. Susanna says:

    Thank you for your suggestion, Jo! Thanksgiving dinner at the Ronald McDonald House is an idea we hadn’t considered. If they allowed us to come just for that, it would be a blessing to not have the high cost of a restaurant meal. We will give this some serious thought; thank you again!

  18. Oh, wow, so exciting!!  This next 16 days are just going to fly by…
    Will be praying for you and your family as you prepare for bring your new daughter Katie home. 
    I’m looking forward to watching her blossom and grow under all the tender loving care she is going to receive and most of all all the love!   Praying the Lord surrounds you with His peace and strength in the days ahead.  ((((hugs))))

  19. Gwendolyn from MOMYS says:

    I loved seeing photos of your family in action! And chocolate raspberry truffle cupcakes….<drool> please do share your recipe! :)

  20. Susanna says:

    Hi Gwendolyn! It was just a double batch of the chocolate cake recipe with hot coffee in it, know which one I mean? Truly the best plain chocolate cake recipe I’ve found, and usually only made for birthdays at our house. Very moist and tender and flavorful. And a single batch of the Wilton buttercream frosting with what I seem to remember was a generous capful of raspberry extract and maybe 10 – 15 drops each of red and blue food coloring in it. Maybe I should have called it Country Cousin’s Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cupcakes, ahem. They were more lavender than the photos showed, and SCRUMPTIOUS.

    Funny story–

    I had asked the children earlier for ideas of an appropriately celebratory dessert. Nothing seemed quite right. Suddenly an idea popped into my mind, and as I opened my mouth to say it, Jane exclaimed, “I know what! Let’s make chocolate cupcakes with purple frosting!” Which took the words right out of my mouth!

  21. Denise says:

    Oh Susanna–I am just so thrilled for you!!!  (and your family)

    I am always in AWE of how peaceful your home looks and the 2 times (briefly) I was in it– it TRULY was so PEACEFUL—  amazing to me–  how calm and peaceful yet inviting and warm it is…   you inspire me!!

  22. Wow, that is an update!  Love all the pictures and cannot wait to see Katie-bird in your arms safe and sound for good!  Many blessings to you!

  23. Felicity says:

    What exciting news!  I just loved looking at all your photos!  Little boys that help to bake are just so cute.  The next few weeks are going to be so busy, but so memorable too.  
    I’ll be praying for you and your family. 

RSS feed for comments on this post. And trackBack URL.

Leave a Reply