Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gracie's Room

Here's some pictures of Gracie Mae's room. We finished it about a month ago.

Getting Ready to Go

It's 3:15 in the morning, both John and I are still up packing and getting ready. We're pulling the true all nighter. However, right now in Seoul it is dinnertime, 5:15pm. We're being proactive and trying to get on Korean time....actually, we're just trying to finish packing and I'm writing a small novella of information for Grandma and Grandpa, to try and cover every detail I can think of regarding the next 9 days. We will be getting on the plance in less than 6 hours. Yay!

Friday, July 24, 2009

We Got "THE CALL"!!!

Yes, the moment has finally arrived. Today on Friday, July 24th we received "the phone call" that we are able to travel to Seoul, S. Korea to get our baby girl!!

We will be leaving on Wed, July 29th at 9:00am. We will arrive in Seoul at 4:00pm (their time) on Thursday, July 30th. We will hopefully get to meet Gracie for the first time on Friday, July 31st. We will then get to see her again at least one more time the next week. We should have lots of time to sight see. We will be in Seoul on Aug 1st, our 11th wedding anniversary...not bad place to celebrate an anniversary. We will be leaving Seoul at 11:00am on Friday, August 7th and arriving back in Minnesota at 1:20pm on Friday, August 7th (only a two hour flight on the way home??......I wish ;-) We will be home right before my birthday on August birthday ever!

I called DC on Tues, 21st to see if Gracie's paperwork was at the US Embassy in Seoul. I was expecting them to say, nope, nothing yet. I was just calling to satisfy my need to "do something" while we were waiting. Much to my shock, I was told that they did have her documents and the review of her visa paperwork was going to be on Wed. 22nd. I was told that I could call back on Wed. 22nd to check and see if her travel visa was issued. So when I called the next day, they said that yes all the paperwork was cleared and her visa was issued. I knew that once the visa was issued, we would be getting a call any day. Well today was that day.

I was expecting to have a few more weeks to get ready to go and now I am running around to get everything ready. My parents will be staying at our house with the boys while we are gone. We are so fortunate to be able to keep the boys at home while we are away. It's going to be a long time to be away from my boys, but it will be so wonderful to finally have our whole family together. Well, I could say a lot more right now, however, I need to get a move'in and a pack'in....

BTW...Thanks so much to everyone for all your kind thoughts and well wishes. It is such a joy to be able to share our excitement with so many friends and family.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

We recevied an update on Ms. Gracie Mae!!!!!

We are sooo excited to share the newest pictures we just received today of Gracie Mae Ye-Jin Lee Sagstetter!!!!

In these photos, she is about 9.5 months old.

We also received some info on how she is doing and she is doing great!!

She weighs about 17 pounds.

She is crawling and scooting herself on her tummy. She is also pulling herself to standing and cruises along low furniture. She is described as "fast and active". She has a blanket we sent her that she likes, she holds onto it and sucks on it. She mostly likes to play with people, more than toys, but she does like stuffed animals.

This will be the last set of info and pictures we will get about Gracie before we leave to travel. We still have no more detailed info on when we will be leaving, just a "guesstimated" date around August 17th- give or take a week or so. (Kinda like a "due date". :-)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How do the babies handle the flight back to the US?

Short Answer: Usually lots of crying.

More detailed answer:

Well, I can also sum it up by saying.... "Although, we have been anxiously awaiting Gracie's arrival, she has not been anxiously awaiting us."

Gracie has been with a loving foster family. As far as she understands, her foster mother is her MOM/Omma. She has no idea her world is going to be turned upside down. Granted, she will adjust eventually, and she will be happy but it will take some time. Gracie will be deeply loved in her forever family, however she has had to pay a high price to join our family.

At 11 months old, Gracie will be very well attached to her foster mother and her family. When she comes home with us she will have lost all she has known and all that is familiar. She will have lost her "Omma"(Mama) and the biological children of her foster mother, "her siblings". She will have lost the familiar sounds, smells, and language. We will look very different, and maybe even scary to her because all she has seen in her life are probably only Korean faces (not blonde hair, light blue "big" eyes, "long" noses and a hairy face(that's John :-).

It is a very bittersweet time... it is joyful that she will be with us, her forever family that cherishes her already, however, it is also a time of deep loss for her. She will experience grief and we will be there to help her work through it.

So all that being said, you can imagine that a 20 hour flight with a grief stricken child is not going to be fun. Apparently, there is likely to be lots of crying on an airplane full of people (like 4-5 hours maybe). Yikes!! We've heard from some families the babies cry until they fall asleep of exhaustion and once they wake up they seem "fine" or at least a lot better. Other infants just "shut down" from the grief. Although this is heartbreaking, it is a healthy response, it shows they were well taken care of and were attached to their foster parent. Even with the grief, attachment to a foster parent is best because if you have attached to a caregiver in your infancy, it means there is the best chance that you will be able to attach again and trust again.

So John and I are trying to mentally and emotionally prepare for the "worst" on the flight home and anything better than that will be a blessing....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meet Ms. Gracie Mae

This is our beautiful, Ms. Gracie Mae. In this picture she is 6 months old. She is now 9 1/2 months old, so she definitely would look older now in a picture. We do not have any other more current pictures. The little chair she is sitting in is "the chair" that all the children have their pictures taken in.

Gracie Mae Ye-Jin Lee Sagstetter was born on Sept. 12th, 2008 at 2:59am and weighed 6.2lbs.

Her Korean name is Ye Jin Lee. (pronounced "yay jeen eee" - we say Lee but in Korean it is pronounced "eee", the L is silent)

Ye-means plant, Jin-means treasure, Lee is the family name of her birthmom.

She is currently living with her foster mother and her three children, 2 boys in 6th and 7th grade and 1 girl in 1st grade. She has lived with her foster family since birth.