Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We gave them an IU t-shirt; they gave us a daughter

It's official!

Greetings from rainy Nanchang City where we are happy to announce we are officially the proud parents (and big brother of) Tessa Xiaojian Cornell McKim. The process was relatively simple and Catherine made it very uncomplicated for us. We met at 8:10 to make the short trip to the Adoption Office of the Nanchang Provincial Civil Affairs Bureau. We went into a huge building and up to the 26th floor where we were ushered into a big formal waiting room. There were flags of different nations displayed (the countries who adopt their children?) and a small bulletin board covered with pictures of older children that had been mailed to the office. They seemed proud of their girls going off to other countries and growing up healthy and happy. Seeing those pictures brought tears to my eyes. Soon Tess will be one of those.

Tess wants to help

They called us in one by one for an interview with an adoption official. What were our occupations? How many children did we have? (Grayson was there with us.) What were our plans for her education? And the biggest question of all: Did we promise never to abandon her?

After that we went back to the waiting room to be called in for our family picture for the adoption decree, and then we all waited while the decrees were processed. During the process it was expected that we give the official a gift. We gave one medium sized IU t-shirt in gray with red letters. They gave us a gift for her. It appears to be a wooden vase of some sort with Chinese calligraphy all over it. We took some pictures and waited a bit and then boarded our bus for the notary. There we waited and were called one by one to the notary and were asked our occupations and if we promised never to abandon her. When it was over we were handed our official adoption decree which says that we are the legal guardians of Tessa. Catherine announced this to us and our bus went up in cheers. I feel joy all around me from all these new families.

We celebrated this occasion with a trip to Wal-Mart where we bought a few baby things and food. Tessa rode proudly in the front of the cart and stared at everything. Some of the other children fell asleep but not our Tessa. She is clearly an adventure girl, too excited to sleep and big eyes for all that surrounded her. She'll fit right into the fast paced Cornell-McKim clan. One woman came up to us and appeared to admonish me for not dressing her properly. She smiled, but she patted Tessa's bare legs and shook her head no.

Tessa and Dad take a nap

We headed back to the hotel for the rest of the day. We all 4 took a nap together on the king sized bed and then went for a swim in a beautiful hotel pool. I think Tessa and Gray and I will have a fun summer at the Bryan Park pool. She loved the water.
Big brother (Ge Ge) with Tessa and Amy
One bonus: an American woman came into the pool with two Chinese girls who were 9 years old. They were here on a heritage tour. The girls had been adopted nine years ago from this province. The woman exclaimed over seeing three of us and our babies. We got excited about seeing her grown children. The world feels so small.


  1. I love these photos and the stories you are telling are amazing. I feel really excited to be living this adventure with you through the blog!!!!
    xoxoxos I love you guys,

  2. Wow Amy...Thanks for this posting. You all look so shiny. Thinking of you and Tessa time and the newness of it all. Congratulations many times over!! Beth

  3. I can't wait every morning to read the next installment in this joyful unfolding story. I love that you are mindful of recording Tess's story for her; she will love to hear it, slightly differently, from each of you. The picture of Tess and Dad napping is just great. MKP

  4. I am so happy for the 4 of you! I can't stop saying that! It is so wonderful that we can keep up with your trip this way. I keep thinking of 20 yrs ago when I lived in London and could only contact US on a pay phone, no internet no nothiing. We live in amazing times! Delighted to see that Tessa is loving the water. We will have great times this summer - baby pool here we come (gotta love that warm water). Congrats again!!!
    love, Anne