Anne, a young divorced woman and mother of a ten-year-old girl, travels to China to adopt a Chinese baby, convinced that her family's happiness depends upon it. As she tries to adjust to a truly exotic world, she must deal with frustrations, doubts and fears, especialy in coping with unexpected reactions from the Chinese locals. When she foolishly arrives without a Chinese sponsor, she meets with considerable opposition from the Chinese authorities. China is certainly not what she had expected, since it doesn't fit the nostalgic visions provided by Ling, Anne's childhood friend. Undeterred by her initial reception, she enlists the help of a Chinese local, and things begin to run more smoothly. After a visit to an orphanage that is jammed tight with children, the adoption process is underway. But when the authorities intervene under false pretenses, Anne learns a harsh lesson about dodging formalities in an alien culture.