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How It All Began

After a few years of thinking we would have a family, experiencing a miscarriage and realizing the clock was ticking, it became apparent that perhaps having a child was not in our future. Then one March day in 1996, Linda read an article in the regional newspaper entitled, "From China-with love" by Cynthia Hubert. As she read the article, she felt a tug at her heartstrings. After calling the agency mentioned in the article and a few others, then checking with people on the Prodigy bulletin boards (international adoption section), we decided to call Holt International.

On April 1, 1996, we went to our first meeting and saw a wonderful video and discovered how the Holts started an adoption service in 1956 after adopting several Korean infants themselves. Hearing information about international adoption and meeting a couple and their Korean toddler brought tears to our eyes as we knew our child would come to us through international adoption.

Little did we know how much work had to be done. The Holt organization, however, broke the process down to manageable steps.

Step one was obtaining all the official records of our lives and having them certified and then sent back again and authenticated. We had to do this with birth certificates, marriage licenses, and a divorce paper. We had to contact officials in Oregon, Washington, California, Ohio, Utah, Florida and Washington DC.

I remember we had to get clearance from the local police department, FBI. I remember getting a physical, testing for AIDS, getting the busy doctor together with the mobile notary public so that the doctor's signature could be notarized. Then we had to get two sets of fingerprints each at the Department of Motor Vehicles for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

We had to write our autobiographies, submit names of friends as referrals, amass a mini-photo album of us in our Sunday best and include pictures of our home and yard as well.

After all the paperwork was gathered and all the steps completed, we mailed our dossier off to Holt's headquarters in Eugene, Oregon. Finally, we breathed a sigh of relief and felt our daughter (whoever she might be) was getting closer to coming home. We felt another surge of joy when Holt advised us that our dossier was sent to Beijing on August 9, 1996.

Then, everyday, we would turn to those who just asked and say, with a smile, "Our dossier was mailed on August 9. We should hear in 4-6 months." Unfortunately, things changed in China. Two government organizations involved with the process of adoption merged, slowing down the entire process for a while. In addition there were more delays when the procedures were changed and new staff members needed to be hired and trained. I wondered if the day that we would receive information on our daughter would ever come. Linda always knew it was just a matter of time although it got a little tough explaining the delays to everyone who inquired. Thenů

The US Consulate in China sent some official documents in this envelope giving us our first direct connection with China.

Official paperwork arrived in this envelope

Interestingly on May 9th, nine months to the day that the dossier was sent to China, we got THE call.

Her official name is Yuan Man Lian. It is estimated she was born November 7, 1995, and to the right is what her name looks like in Chinese. We will rename her Kristina Su Zarley. She is healthy.

Here is the Progress Report on Kristina. She is doing fine.

On May 15, we received our first picture of Kristina. We had it duplicated and invited family and friends to a local restaurant where we proudly gave them out. (Picture taken 6/26/96)

Our first picture of Kristina. This is the shot we had to make our decision on. YES, we wanted her!

On May 22, we were very pleasantly surprised to receive the following photos and report. We understand this to be a rather rare occurrence to receive any additional photos or information. We are grateful! The information has been read and re-read many times. The photos are enjoyed daily.

The report we received on May 22 follows:

Birth date: 11-07-95

Date of Report: 5-11-97

WT. 10 kg L. 73 cm H.C. 45 cm (measured on 4/15/97 by Nanning State Orphanage)

Progress: Man Lian was found and sent to Nanning State Orphanage on 11-10-97. She has been stayed in a baby room with other 30 babies since then. Now she can walk alone but most of the time she has to stay in her crib because child care staffs are alway too busy to watch her. Once she can get out of her crib she will walk around to find some new toys to play. She's got 6 up teeth and 5 bottom teeth and loves solid food like rice, vegetable, meat, egg and noodle. She usually has 4 meals a day. Night time she want a bottle of cow formula before she sleeps.

Man Lian's personality is very sweet, likes sharing toys with other kids, seldom cry hard for held or for food. But she likes adult play with her or hold her. She is very happy with playing. Her name "Man" means "pretty." "Lian" means "lotus," given by the orphanage.

She got "chicken pox" in December 96 and recovered soon.

Here are photos we received on that momentous May 22, 1997:

Kristina getting some loving attention...9/16/96

Kristina getting some loving attention at the state run orphanage in Nanning. (9/16/96)

This is Linda's favorite picture of Kristina. (5/9/97)

Linda's favorite picture taken 5/5/97

Kristina gets around anyway she can. Taken 11/18/96

Kristina gets around anyway she can. (11/18/96)

She seems to be saying, "Can I come home with you now?" (1/20/97)

She seems to be saying, Can I go home now. Picture taken 1/20/97

This is Victor's favorite picture. Love that smile! (3/18/97)

Victor's favorite picture. Love that smile!

This one taken 5/5/97(5/9/97)

This one taken 8/8/96(8/8/96)

This one looks as if she had just finished crying. Taken 2/1/97

Did she just finish crying? (2/17/97)

Together we had to make a choice to fill our home with love. Kristina soon will come to us, a gift from Heaven above. From far across the ocean a tiny voice does call. We chose to be her parents to help her when she falls. Born in Nanning, China, left at someone's door. Kristina has become someone we both are living for. The paperwork took ages, Kristina's nearly two. But God has chosen her for us to love our lifetimes through.

An animated angel blowing a trumpet heralding the arrival of Kristina.

Button back to Kristina's Korner.






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