Friday, April 12, 2013

She's Officially Ours (and the Rest of the Story)

Wow- what a week!  There is so much I want to share and yet I’m not sure where to begin.  We spent Monday and Tuesday in Nanjing finalizing ChinaBean’s adoption.  It was an amazing two days that I thought may never come and yet I was fully grounded because I was chasing around 3 girls under the age of 7 years.  They insisted on acting their ages!

I would love to share a little more about our daughter’s story, but some of the details I’ll have to share with you over a yummy mocha at Starbucks.  The fine details are better shared in person!  

Adoptive families become connected with their future children in many different ways.  Some fill out their paperwork and wait for their agency to call with a referral of child that the agency feels would be a good match with the family.  Others see a child’s picture on an agency’s website or an advocacy website and submit a request to adopt a specific child.  We actually experienced both.  Early in 2012 we were called by our agency with a referral for a little boy with cleft lip and palate.  With my background in speech-language pathology and our family’s willingness to adopt a child of either gender, I actually was pretty certain that we would receive a referral like that.  And, the kicker was he was from the province where we are living, which was a secret prayer of mine.

But, we turned the referral down.  Jamie and I had a few long talks and my sweet friend Megan prayed a powerful prayer with me while I did the “ugly cry” prayer (as we secluded ourselves in my bedroom, the only private space away from my very new housekeeper - we didn’t want to scare the poor woman as two foreigners cried their eyes out) and we decided to not accept the referral.  

Just by living in China, we have been given the amazing opportunity to be aware of specific needs of the smaller orphanages.  At the same time as the referral for the little boy came in, we learned that a little girl was in a healing home.  She was recovering from a surgery that occurred while we had been in the US for Christmas.  Advocates were attempting to get her paperwork ready to be processed so that she might be matched with a forever family.  Of course, you can probably guess that our ChinaBean was that little girl!  We worked all summer and fall on submitting our paperwork to specifically adopt ChinaBean and many times we were told “wait”, “probably not”, “we’ll see” until we got that magical call on December 21st when we heard that our agency had received our Letter of Approval (LOA) from China.

December was especially difficult for me because not only had we not heard about or LOA, but I knew the clock was ticking and ChinaBean needed to preparing for her next surgery, which was by far a greater concern than any paperwork.

January brought the news that ChinaBean’s next surgery could wait until the adoption was finalized and we returned to the US with her.  And that brings us to this week!  Nanjing is done and ChinaBean is officially ours.  Next is Guangzhou and to obtain her US visa.

On our way to Nanjing:
EBean's sign 

Day 1 in Nanjing:

Isn't she pretty?!
This is what a tired toddler with no nap looks like!
Trying to get a picture for ChinaBean's adoption certificate.
Day 2 in Nanjing:
Using our right thumbprints over our signatures to
make it official.
Thumbs up! (Don't mind ChinaBean and EBean in the
background.  Big sister was trying to help dole out the
snacks, but little sister thought the snacks were being
taken away!)
ChinaBean had to do it too! 
Just a few more papers.
Answering a few questions about why we wanted
to adopt ChinaBean and promising to always take care of her.
As we were preparing to go to Nanjing, we explained to LBean and EBean about what would happen and why we were there.  Both girls asked if they had to sign any papers.  I told them no and that just mommy & daddy would sign papers.  It did get me thinking about why Jamie and I got to have all the fun, so the night before we left, I created a "Big Sister Pledge".  After Jamie and I finished signing all the papers I presented LBean and EBean with their own papers.  I read the pledge to them and they both signed their names at the bottom.  Jamie says I created some fun chatter amongst the government officials and the orphanage representatives.

I love how EBean is looking at me.  She's probably thinking
"what am I signing up for?"

Please sign here.
Good job EBean!
Jin, our Nanjing guide who helped us file all of the paperwork. 
Look at those three cuties!
This is the best we could do for a family shot.
It's hard to get 5 people looking at a camera!
Home at last!
We were greeted by a beautifully decorated entryway when we returned from Nanjing.  Friends had hung balloons, decorated signs and delivered flowers to welcome us home.  It was such a nice way to end the day.

On the other side of the world my mother-in-law decorated her mailbox to announce the arrival of her newest granddaughter.

ChinaBean's adoption announcement...yes, I know it has her name on it, but from now on she'll be ChinaBean on the blog.  You've just seen some "insider" information!

Thanks to Jamie's cousin, Josie, at Creative Touch photography
for taking my random ideas (big flowers, the color red,
and make it look like a dictionary entry) and
making them look good!

And finally, just in case you were wondering, ChinaBean is from our province too.  Divine!


  1. Congratulations!! She is absolutely adorable and looks like she will fit in well with your family. Please keep us posted about her heart surgery!

    1. Thank you! We hope to have a better idea of the surgical plan in about 1 1/2.

  2. Of course you had the girls do their own signing ceremony! So cute!

    1. And I didn't even get the idea from Pinterest!

  3. Love your idea of the sister pledge - you think of everything! Great Mom and great parents you and Jamie are! Love ya!