So yesterday (Tuesday) was the finalization of the adoption. In most provinces you have to go to the Civil Affairs office, which I hear can be drafty and uncomfortable, but all the officials came to the Sheraton where we are staying and we met in a very posh conference room. In addition to us and Aggie (our guide, who is terrific), there was a translator (whose English was extremely good and who chatted with us about where we were from, etc, and knew about Yellowstone), the provincial government official (who was a youngish man and rather nice looking and very nice, very friendly), a notary, and Mrs. Zhang from the orphanage (the lady who brought Grace to me on Monday and who is the coordinator for overseas adoption at Hohhot CWI. Gracie has her last name as part of her Chinese name). I signed a bunch of papers (in additions to the dozens I had signed the day before), and paid some fees. There was an "interview" of about 6 or 8 questions that I had already answered in writing the day before and that morning, not to mention answered and documented in my dossier, but whatever. There was a lot of conversation in Chinese amongst the officials that wasn't translated for us; Joy thought it has a lot to do with debating which pens were being used for which purpose. I also detected a murmur of reaction when I said I used to be a teacher for Deaf children and so I thought we would make a good family. They put Grace's handprint in red ink on some document, not sure which, (which she was a little skeptical about, as she doesn't like her hands messy).
Mrs. Zhange gave us a certificate, the fabulous Inner Mongolia princess hat (pink with sequins, beads, and a pompom), and a beautiful memory book with her developmental reports from the Half the Sky program, drawings (I guess by her teachers?), and pictures going all the way back to when she was about 16 months old. What a treasure! I had a list of questions that I wrote down before I met Grace (what is she scared of? what are her favorite activities? etc) but in the moment they didn't seem important. I had asked two key ones the day before (how do they comfort her -- give her snacks and toys! -- and how does she let them know she needs ot use the bathroom -- they said you have to just take her, but in fact she uses a perhaps inelegant but completely and universally understood gesture!). All I could do was say that it was obvious that she had been extremely well loved and well taken care of, and I was so, so thankful.
|Getting ready to go down for the official paperworrk. Isn't that a cute dress?|
|The terrific Aggie shows me where to sign my name for the zillionth time (and helps me write the date properly -- year-month-day on the Chinese forms, day-month-year on the English ones) Gracie supervises from her carrier.|
|Gracie puts her "John Hancock" on some document by virtue of a red handprint. She was a little skeptical about this, because she doesn't really like her hands messy. Fortunately, the ever-prepared Aggie had a wipe ready to undo the damage.|
|We got the extra copy of our picture (taken Monday during the handoff, when she was not too happy about being on my lap), which was a hit (and almost made up for the red ink incident.) She LOVES pictures, especially pictures of herself.|
|The fabulous Inner Mongolia Princess Hat (and the magic light up wand from Target that saved us the first day -- don't leave home without one if you are adopting a toddler!|
|With all the paperwork done and the adoption finalized, we could get back to the really important stuff, like giving a drink of water to the baby elephant!|