Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Always and Forever!

I'm finding it a good deal harder to keep up with the blogging than I anticipated -- when Grace is awake, she wants all my attention (and I want to give it to her) and when she is asleep, well, Facebook is easier :)  (And last night I crashed big time after two nights where I didn't sleep well at all.)  BUT I am committed to sharing this experience with others, as so many have shared with me, and also to documenting it for Gracie, so I am trying to make myself focus.

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!


  1. Oh, Marny! The photo of her feeding the elephant is adorable! And I love the one of her laughing in her hat! What amazing gifts the orphanage gave you! What a treasure to have a record of her life in China. It certainly sounds like she has been well-loved--and will continue to be so, so loved in her forever family with her mommy. What a beautiful daughter you have!

  2. Marny, these pictures brought tears to my eyes. You have an amazing, sweet, smart, beautiful daughter! And the hat - - that's precious (all we got were hanging tiny red shoes when we traveled for Laura). I can tell that things are going very, very well, and am so delighted for you! Thanks for taking the time to post for those of us not on Facebook. Cyber hugs! Carol (NC Sam)

  3. Marny,
    I love how she is pointing to you in the picture! It's like she is saying, "Yep, there's my momma!" She is so, so adorable. Love how she is feeding the elephant. I'm glad that I sent the baby bottles and counting bears/stacking cups to her. I know you probably left those at home since I was so late getting them to you. Again, she is justs precious, and I cannot wait to meet her. Keep enjoying this time. It is so very special.

  4. I can't believe you two have only been together a couple of days. You look to me like a family with a long and rich history.


  5. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. I love how comfortable and easy you look together.

  6. Love, love, love, love, love this story and the photos. What a gorgeous smile Gracie has, and how comfortable she looks with you!

  7. I have really enjoyed following your journey and am loving the pictures too! SO happy for you, Marny!

  8. Hi Marny! It's Sarah here! I am so happy for you and Gracie! I am thrilled to hear everything is going well! Gracie is beautiful and looks very happy to be with her Mommy! I will be following along my friend!