Monday, June 28, 2010

Adoption Day!

And now we are 4!!!

It’s official, we are the parents to the cutest little boy you have ever seen!!! It’s been quite a crazy 2 days. Nevermind we traveled half way around the world to add a member to our family, but all that we have done so far is unbelievable.

I can summarize this morning is one word, CHAOTIC! Wow. Today we had to take our little one’s to the civil affairs office. Or, as the English translation written on the wall said, the civil affires office J. It was there that we signed a bunch of papers, which was all in addition to the stack we signed yesterday. I think I signed my name 6 times today and maybe 2 times yesterday. Kevin signed at least twice that many. We had to answer a few questions about why we wanted to adopt and swear that we would never abandon Xander. I’m going to try and explain a little bit of the scene, bear with me. We walked into the government office, and it kinda looked like a concession stand. The orphanage director of the Fujian province was there, staff from each of the 4 orphanages was there and the lady who runs the show (don’t know her official title, but she was the one who made everything official and told me where to sign!). It was hot, as many buildings here do not have AC. There were some tables in the “waiting area” and as we walked in we sat down and before we knew it the orphanage staff was taking pictures of us with Xander, people were dragging us to the table to sign papers, we were given gifts from the director, then we were told we would each be taken into the office for an interview.

I truly believe that the people from Xander’s orphanage cared deeply about him. We had a tough time yesterday when he was given to us, and today was hard too. They wanted to hold him, so we obliged. I must say it was hard, because I knew he would only get upset again when they handed him back to me. He did really well, but to say that it was loud, chaotic and uncomfortable would be an understatement. I just wanted to run to a corner and protect my little guy, but I couldn’t do it. The staff from Xander’s orphanage was very sweet to us and him. They gave him a necklace that symbolizes longevity, and he has not taken it off. He loves it, and we’ll let him wear it as long as he wants to. They took many pictures of our new family and we happy to pose with us so we could have some. They gave us a photo album with pictures of Xander which included information about the orphanage, people’s names and addresses. They requested that we send a family photo to them after he had his surgery so they could see him again. I thought that was very sweet and will certainly fulfill that request. After a few more goodbyes, we were off to sign just one more set of papers, which made it official. So, on June 28, 2010 the McNeelys became a family of 4!!!

We then visited a Wal-Mart!!! Um, I’ll touch on this another day, it was 3 stories high! We got back to our room and ate a light lunch because we are looking forward to an early dinner of Shanghaiese food. I’m excited and nervous, I’m kinda chicken when it comes to eating food in foreign countries. Our guide is taking us so I’m going to assume she knows it’s safe for American bellies.

We brought out the bubbles again after lunch and captured some great smiles from Xander. He just loves the bubbles and the way his sister reacts to them! Macey and Xander get along SO well. We are praising God today especially for that reason. Those of you who have seen Macey around other little kids, especially those she does not know, know she can be a little toot. Not always very friendly. Well, she loves her brother. She gets excited to see him and just wants him to notice every little thing she does. They actually shared toys today, it was a wonderful thing to see. I’m so proud of my big girl, she has been such a trooper and is absolutely amazing. Not every 21 month old can travel half way around the world, add a brother and still be all smiles!!!

We are looking forward to a low key day tomorrow including a trip to Panda World. On Wednesday we have been given permission to visit Xander’s orphanage. Please start praying about that now, I know it will be hard on him again, but I think we will regret it if we do not go. There will be a lot of emotion from us, and him, that day.

Macey and Xander's first hug!

Xander's first caregivers

Signing papers

Signing more papers

"Hey, I've got one of those, too!"

His sweet smile!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 27, 2010

We arrived out our hotel in Fuzhou around midday and were able to settle in and eat lunch before we got the call that Xander was here. We went upstairs to a conference room and met him for the first time right around 4 pm.

As expected he was upset when he was handed over to his Mama, but after about ten minutes in our room we had him go from crying to giggling (with the help of bubbles).

He loves to be held, and as a matter of fact we have not put him down yet. After about 2 hours we went for a walk along the lake, which is next to our hotel. He fell asleep in the baby carrier and Macey fell asleep in the stroller.

Macey was a great help right from the start. She played in the bubbles and entertained Xander and even tried to comfort him when he cried. We finally have internet access, even though it is not free. Hopefully we will be able to post a little more often.

(The photo is foggy from the humidity)

Our Day in Beijing

Saturday was our day to be tourists around Beijing. Just in case we weren’t tired enough from a long day of travel, our guide completely wore us out. I’m convinced they do this to us so we will be able to sleep without anxiety the night before meeting our kids. Our guide, Susan, took us and four other families to the Forbidden City, which is a former palace, followed by a quick walk through Tien an men (sp?) Square.

Our next stop was a quick walk around the Olympic Village. We got to see the Cube and the Birdsnest, among some other cool buildings.

We then got back on the bus and headed to do a little shopping and have lunch. We had good food (family style) and Chinese fries, which are much better than the French version.

The last leg of our adventure was a section of the Great Wall just outside of Beijing. The hike to the top was extremely steep with some of the steps being over 1 foot tall. It was one of the most intense hiking adventures I have ever done. I’m proud to say that Allison and I both made it to the top along with only two other guys in our group. Allison is the only female in our group to make it all the way to the top.

One of the funniest things to happen was that the Chinese people were obsessed with Macey. People would stop and smile and wave at her while she was in the stroller, which didn’t seem like a big deal to us. It was only when they asked to take their picture with her or take a picture of all three of us. One couple even posed for a picture with all three of us. She was an absolute celebrity with her curly blonde hair and blue eyes.

Macey also met a friend in our group who was adopted from China 5 years ago and lives in Louisiana. They played together all day and sat together on our bus ride. They are best buddies. She is a very sweet girl and I absolutely love it when she says “y’all”.

Well, it is 5 AM on Sunday morning now and we are getting ready to leave for Fuzhou where we will pick up Xander this afternoon. We are all excited and ready, especially the Big Sister.

At the top of the Great Wall

Macey the celebrity posing for another picture

Macey and her new friend, Evan

All of us in front of The Cube in Olympic Village

Friday, June 25, 2010

Here is our first blog post from China!

Well, we got here!!! HOORAY! Macey was awesome on both plane flights, only a few meltdowns, but considering she had to be on a plane for a total of 14 hours, it's not too bad! Here are a few pictures of us enjoying our flight. We traveled in style, business class! We were able to sleep for quite a few hours and so did Macey. It was awesome.

We got to our hotel at about 5pm on Friday, China time, and couldn't wait to get to bed. We headed to a convenience store for some soda and water, and Kevin even got a Chinese beer. He can't really rave about it, but he needed to try it. We slept heavy, Macey included, and woke up EARLY...3:30am! Ha, we're not real sure what time we should have woken up, but we felt rested so we got up.

Today we are headed out for the entire day, one of our stops is the Great Wall and we are really excited! I'll post some pictures later.

Macey sleeping on our flight to Beijing

Macey watching Dora on the ipod

Kevin enjoying his dinner of Chinese beer and cookies

Macey in our hotel room in China with Xander's hat on yelling, "CHINA!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tomorrow we leave!

I thought I would never be able to say that we are leaving tomorrow! Crazy. Thanks to my parents, I have a simplified itinerary to post. It gives you an idea of all the things that we have to do for the adoption portion, and you can see what we get to do for fun! We will be hopping around the country, which means lots of plane flights...not really looking forward to that part.

June 24 Leave Dallas 6:40am

June 25 Arrive Beijing at 3:15pm

June 26 Visit Tian An Men square, Forbidden City, take

picts of Olympic Park and Climb GREAT WALL

June 27 Fly to Fuzhou; GOTCHA DAY!!!

June 28 Adoption day, Bus to Civil affairs office for

registration and notary, then shopping

June 29 Visit Panda World

June 30 Visit Xichan Buddhist Temple

July 1 Visit Xihu Park

July 2 Fly to Guangzhou

July 3 Medical Checkup and fill out forms for consulate

July 4 Bus to Shamian Island for Sunday sermon

July 5 Bus to Guangzhou zoo

July 6 Visa papers to consulate in AM

July 7 Bus to consulate to take oath

July 8 Guide picks up visa package

Fly to Shanghai late

July 9 Leave Shanghai at 12:40pm for HOME!!!

Arrive at SFO 8:40am (before we leave)

Arrive in Dallas 4:20pm (if we catch our connection)

My hope is to post often, so please visit often. Aunt Meedo (Megan) will be posting for me as I will not have access to blogger in China. Of course we'll post pictures of our little man as soon as we can, as I know that is what you REALLY come here for. Well, that's it for now. Next post will be from CHINA!!!!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Just a few things to say

Uncle Jason ROCKS! and Xander's room is SO cool!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Less than three weeks? Are you serious?

In 17 days, WOW, I will be on a plane to China. In less than 3 weeks Xan will be in our arms! I know you can do the math, and I don't have to countdown for you, but I can hardly believe it.

I'm filled with a lot of emotion today, much more than normal. I'm happy, giddy with excitement, overwhelmed and sometimes down right scared! But especially today I sit it awe of the God who made me, and Kevin, and Macey, and Xander. He made us all, all unique, but all in His likeness and all with the intention of being a family!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A whole bunch of numbers

Today Xander is 19 months old! The next time he has a "month-day" I'll be able to hug him and tell him "Happy 20 month-day, Xan!"

Yesterday it had been exactly 6 months since we first saw our sweet boy. A simple picture that changed the course of many lives!

In 21 days Kevin, Macey, Dad, Mom and I will board a plane for the adventure of a lifetime. "To China for Xander" is what I like to call it.

In 24 days we will finally get to touch, hug, kiss and say I love you to the sweetest boy on the planet. We are fully aware that he may not be a very gracious recipient of all of our affection, but we'll have time to work on it! :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Let the countdown begin

In 23 days we will be on a plane to China! I cannot tell you how good it feels to be able to have a date. For years we have been guessing how many more years, months or weeks, and now we know. 23 DAYS!!!!

We leave on June 24th and return to the US, a family of 4, on July 9th. The details of our trip will be determined in the next few weeks, so we do not know the exact date that we will get Xander. We can say, in less than 4 weeks from today he will be in our arms! UNBELIEVABLE!