After the disappointments fo infertility and several failed domestic adption attempts, we thought international adoption would be a snap. Boy, were we wrong. In Oct '95 we began gathering paperwork to adopt a baby girl from China. We were told the process would only take six months and we were very excited. In March '96 our dossier was sent to the Ministry of Justice in China. In April when we received a referral for a beautiful three month old girl, named Yu Nan, we couldnot believe our luck. I remember thinking how quickly it was all happening. Finally, after eight years of disappointments.
We spent the first month of spring in absolute joy. I checked AOL's China Adoption bulletin board every day for any and all information on the Chinese adoption process. Our agency had told us to expect to travel in 4-6 weeks. However in May I began to hear rumors that China was reorganizing their adoption center. By the beginning of June it was official and no traavel dates would be issued that month. To complicate matters, the Minstry of Justice was no longer handling adoptions and our agency wasn't quite sure where our dossier was. After surviving several failed domestic adoption attempts, I was in a state of painic. Surely they couldn't deny us now. After all, we already had her photo. As summer faded into fall my faith was slipping. I was still checking the computer and other people were getting travel dates. Where was ours? I hit my lowest point when a couple, who received their referral two months after us and whose daughter was from the same orphanage as ours, got their travel date. Finally, our agency sent a representative to China to find out what was holding us up. The following week we received our travel date, September 25th. Then the next day it was changed to September 18th, a few days later it was changed again to September 28th. I phoned my agency to ask if they had purchased the airplane thickets. "Yes, you are definitely going on September 28th", they assured me. So on September 28th, five months after we received our referral, we arrived at JFK airport, NY, to meet up with the other parents in our travel group. We were a large group, eleven families plus our agency's directors. On Sept 30th, after a 24 hour flight that included a two hour layover in Alaska and a five hour layover in Seoul, Korea, we arrived in Beijing. We toured Beijing for two days. It rained when we went to the Great Wall and we got soaked. The next day, Oct 2, I had a cold.
That night, after touring the Forbidden City, we flew to Nanchang. When we arrived the bus that was sent to take us to the hotel was too small for all of us and our luggage. Our resourceful guide was able to hire a station wagon to take some of the luggage and passengers that wouldn't fit. It wouldn't be the last time during this trip that I thanked God neither my husband nor I are tall. By the time we rrived at our hotel, the babies were already there. They assigned us rooms alphabetically and began to bring the babies to us. Frantically I searched our suitcases for bottles, formula, and baby clothes. After all, I had packed almost four months ago. Thankfully, our last name is towards the end of the alphabet and we were second to last to receive our baby. Although at the time I was wishing our name was "Adams". Finally, our baby's foster mother (yes, foster mother, lucky for us) came down the hall with our gorgeous daughter. I was blinded by tears of joy as I held our daughter, renamed by us, Mei Lin. At that time she was eight months old, tiny and somewhat thin, but completely healthy. Unfortunately, we were not given much time to talk to her foster mother. In the height of emotions, I forgot to even ask her her name. All eleven of the babies in our travel group were completely healthy. They ranged in size (from 11 to 16 pounds) and developmental levels even though they were all supposed to be from eight to nine months old. The rest of the trip is a blur of official paperwork and intense flu (which I developed on Oct 8th, the day after my "Beijing cold" ended and my 33rd birthday.) Despite this, it was my best birthday ever, my husband even bought me a birthday cake. The waitresses at the restaurant put the whole box of candles on it before my husband could explain that that many candles was not necessary.
Before I knew it, we were on the plane home with our wonderful daughter, Mei Lin. I'm
constantly amazed with her good nature and adaptablility. We tell everyone that we are the
spoiled ones. It only took Mei a week to adjust to EST and start sleeping through the
night. She eats well and only cries when she's hungry. It took us eight years and too many
emotional highs and lows to remember, but we finally have our dream come true. On the day
we brought her home my father reminded me that nothing of great value comes easily. Mei is
living proof of that. Still, I wouldn't trade her or the people we met during this journey
for anything in the world.
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