Stephanie's Referral

Stephanie Eating a Plum
(12 months Old)

Stephanie at same
photo shoot

Joshua the Cat

The Beginning

December 29, 1999
We finally completed our homestudy and associated paperwork and Holt International Children's Services, our adoption agency, immediately sent it off to China.  Then began the long, hard process of waiting.  It really didn't feel real yet, so we didn't feel much like preparing the baby's room or buying baby clothes. 

September 27, 2000
Finally, after 10 months of waiting and talking with other "waiting" parents on the internet, I received "the call" at work informing me that we have been matched up with a healthy baby girl.  Our wait and two year's worth of paperwork was nearly over!  We would receive a packet by FedEx in a couple of days.  I couldn't wait to see her picture.

September 29, 2000
We received a FedEx package with the first glimpse of our new daughter-to-be along with a brief medical history, a few words from the orphanage, and an acceptance form.  We were told that Li Ao Lin was born on August 28, 1999 and was abandoned the next day at a post office in the city of Hanchuan of the Hubei province of China.  She was taken to the orphanage and later teamed up with a foster home where she had been living for the past year.  

October 9, 2000
After consulting with a pediatrician who specializes in international adoptions, we quickly signed the acceptance papers and FedEx'd  them to Holt.  The papers were off to Beijing on October 10. We now had six to eight weeks to wait for the Chinese government to grant us permission to travel so that we could pick up Li Ao.  At this point, after much debate, we decided to name our daughter Stephanie Li Ao.  

November 10, 2000
Finally, we received permission to travel to China and were told we had to meet the rest of the "expecting" parents (8 families in total) in Hong Kong for an orientation meeting on December 3rd.  Then, we would travel as a group to the city of Wuhan in the Hubei province of China to pick up our babies.  There we would stay about a week to process paperwork.  Afterwards, we would travel to Guangzhou to get her American visa.

Now we have less than two weeks to secure plane tickets to Hong Kong, buy travel necessities, fix the baby's room, etc.  We also need to find a sitter for our other baby, Joshua the cat.

November 29, 2000
We're finally on our way to Hong Kong!  From Chicago, we had a 90  minute flight to Minneapolis, where we switched planes and then had a 15 hour trip to Tokyo.  Once in Tokyo, we switched planes once again and endured 5 more hours of flight time to Hong Kong.  Even though we are not looking forward to the long plane ride, we were looking forward to the adventure ahead.


The Story Continues...
Off to Hong Kong