July 7, 1997:
Here, in the city of Nanning, Province of Guangxi, Country of China, we formally and officially adopted Yuan Man Lian today. First we were shuttled downtown where we walked up 4 flights of stairs in an office building. There, we waited our turn for an interview with an attorney. Xiao Xiao, a wonderful lady who works with Holt International was our interpreter. The official there asked us how much money we made and if we owned a home and how many cars we had. Once satisfied that we were well off enough to care for Kristina, he filled out all the paperwork (including an adoption agreement).
The second place we visited was where the official ceremony took place in which the government officially handed Kristina over to us to care for. They reminded us of the adoption agreement we had just signed which said we are responsible to her for the next 18 years. It also said it was unlawful for us to sell her to someone else to raise.
Each set of parents (or single Moms) sat down for an interview with an official of the government. I don't like interviews or tests so it was not a pleasant experience to wait there while others were asked such questions as, "Why do you want to adopt a little girl from China?" Once I was sitting in that chair, looking at the interviewer, knowing he held the key to living the life with my little girl, it wasn't too hard. When he asked me what my emotions were when I first saw my little girl the night before, I said, "I just felt a lot of love..." then I pointed to my heart. He understood. Apparently, pantomiming is an acceptable means of communicating with government officials in China. He nodded, approvingly.
Then, with the applause of the other new Moms and Dads, we were officially presented with the adoption approval certificate in a brown carrying case and a small gift of pearls. A very special moment. Little Kristina was ours (according to the Chinese government, anyway) and now we just had to work things out with our government stationed in Guangzhou.