Day 6: Touring Nanning

Today I woke up feeling much, much better! Thank you for all of your prayers! Tomorrow we will go to Tyson's orphanage and finding spot, and it is sure to be an emotional day. So, in order to use my best efforts in writing about that part of our trip, I want to summarize today with pictures and captions. Hopefully you will get a sense for our day. Nanning is such a beautiful place! I contemplated going on this tour today b/c part of me just wanted to lie in bed longer, but I am SO thankful that I pushed through and went! What a beautiful experience and memory made today.

The entrance to Qingxiu Mountain

Beautiful banyan tree

With two of my loves.

We got to see so many statues of various ethnic groups within China

An outdoor theatre for special occasions like Chinese New Year

This is the ethnic group found near Beihai where Ty lived the first 19 months of his life

See caption above.


The vegetation here is so beautiful!

I believe this is called the Hallway of Friendship

I cannot describe to you how hot and humid it was today! Hopefully this picture gives you some idea. 

We got a "cold" bottle of water. I was COMPLETELY drenched and had the pleasure of carrying a hot, sticky baby in the Ergo. We were a sopping, wet mess. 

An open, grassy area made the perfect soccer field!

Not happy to stand by this "girly" stuff - what a miracle that Olaf wasn't melting!

This was so beautiful in person

We hopped on a bus to go to a different area of the park. 

The breeze was AMAZING!!!

Feeding the fish for 5 yuan = 81 cents

It was super gross to see thousands of fish toppling all over each other for food. Gives me the willies!

Why not climb a million stairs when it's 110 degrees outside? When in China! 

The walk was worth it! The pagoda was beautiful! Ryan went to the top to take pictures. 

Meanwhile, we sat on the ground eating ice cream. Sounds like a good deal to me! I seriously cannot explain to you how hot and humid it was. I was completely soaked from head to toe. The ice cream wasn't even cold...cool is a better word! 

Views from the Pagoda

Check us out in the bottom right

I held Tyson through his nap (what a privilege) and ate a fantastic KFC sandwich (so much better here)! Comfort food taste so good after feeling so terrible yesterday.

We later enjoyed some of our favorite Chinese snacks. Yes, those are cucumber potato chips. Love the portion sizes here. SO much healthier than in the US!

Daddy is all smiles with Ty-Ty!

A hot day calls for a cool swim! 

Swim caps required in many pools in China! Tyson was loving the water time with Momma!

Daddy is so strong! He loves his boys.

Tyson getting ready to stick his favorite finger in his mouth.

A warm brother bath followed! 

We walked to the mall to find dinner. This play area is for children under 3 years old only. WHAT?!
Momma wants Italian...Momma gets Italian. 

Ty is rocking his high chair!

Dinner was SO good! 

So sad to see this woman working so hard. This load was so heavy. 

I couldn't help but wonder if this would have been my sons' fate...or much much worse had we not adopted them. 

The night ended with both good and difficult pieces. Let's do the hard first. We went in to look at an ice cream store, and the girl at the counter called to her friends to come look at our family. She pointed to her mouth and started laughing. When I realized that they were making fun of my baby, I turned on my heel and walked out as fast as I could. Momma bear wasn't going to stand for that. Apparently, Ryan wasn't either, as he looked them dead in the eye and said, "What's so funny?" They didn't know English or pretended not to...so he put it in Google translate and showed them his phone. They got quiet real fast. It made for quite a teachable moment for Noah.

The good side is that we got to talk with Tucker and Liam at home, and they both sound great! I missed them a lot today and am excited that we are one week into this trip. Grandma and Grandpa are working so hard to keep our boys busy and happy and assured of our love. Thank you, Dad and Danette, for all you are doing to help our family!! We love you.

Day 5: Adoption Day

Sorry for the delay in this post! I woke up around 7:00 a.m. yesterday ready for a shower. To be on the safe side, we all applied scabies cream the night before just in case Tyson had them from his orphanage. That medicine makes my skin crawl, and experience from our last trip in China told me that I might not feel well throughout the day the next day. For whatever reason, my body does not like that medicine. It makes my skin feel clammy the entire next day, light-headed, nauseated, etc. I felt pretty blah in the morning, better in the afternoon, and then terrible after 3:00 p.m. I honestly thought it was something I ate or drank, but Ryan really thinks it is that pesticide. I slept around 15 hours and woke up this morning feeling like a new person.

Regardless of feeling sick, yesterday was a very exciting day for our family! After breakfast, we met up with David, our guide, and the other two families. We brought five gifts for the people who were helping us to process our adoption. This is a standard courtesy in China. First, we stopped at the notary office. We gave her 5 small bottles of hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works. We have heard that this item is not easy to find and therefore appreciated in China!

I cannot say enough good things about this kid. He is AMAZING!

Ty and Daddy waiting our turn at the Notary's Office

Family picture minus Tuck and Bert

Nothing sweeter than a Daddy with his son.


When we were called into the notary's office, Noah sat in the back to play video games. Ryan and I sat in front of the woman's desk while she asked us various questions. For example, she wanted to know the year we were married, how many children we have, etc. She asked if we wanted to proceed with Tyson's adoption, and of course we said yes. After completing the official business, we thanked the notary, and Noah handed her the gift.

Official Adoption Business

Noah staying busy with his 7th birthday present.

Who knew being a parent to four children would make me smile this big?!
Once all of the families finished at the notary, we went back to the Civil Affairs building where we met Tyson on Monday. The drive was very short!

Tyson seems to love riding in the van! 
When we arrived, we were told to take the children back into the play room where we first saw them the day before. Ty immediately knew what he wanted to do. I am going to check Craigslist immediately when we get home for one of these rocking things. He loves them!

Tyson with his Beihai beauty

Ty imitating his big brother spinning the balls!

He is too cute!
One-by-one, we were called into the office where we were granted our 24 harmonious period. An official asked us why we wanted to adopt Tyson, and I shared that we believe that every child should have a family. We also promised to never abuse, neglect, or abandon Tyson. Noah took video of the meeting, and I can't wait to watch it soon. The assistant director of Ty's orphanage was present for this meeting. She seems very, very kind!

After this short meeting took place, David helped translate while I asked the assistant director questions about Tyson. This opportunity to learn what makes him scared, how his health has been, how he sleeps at night, who his nanny is, what their hopes for his future are, etc. is so important. We took video of the questions and answers, and I also wrote down her answers as fast as I could. I learned that there are about 20 orphanages in Guangxi province. There are approximately 80 children at Ty's orphanage. She also stated that they employ around 80 nannies, which is incredible! They work different shifts, but I was so thankful to learn that so many adults are present to help the children. However, please understand that children were created to live with families...not within institutions. Their best outcomes occur in an environment of unconditional love, connection, healthy boundaries, security, nurture, etc. The effects of not being raised by their biological families and living in an orphanage for the first parts of their lives will have lasting consequences on my sons' lives. I will say it again - every child deserves a family. The assistant director answered our questions so well! She clearly knew our son very well, and we are grateful for that.

While we were standing out in the lobby area, I was holding Tyson, and Noah was to my left. Out of nowhere, Tyson put out his arms to Noah and leaned into him. Noah quickly put his arms out to catch Ty and just held him. It was SO sweet! Tyson has been super clingy to me but will go to Ryan, too. He has not attempted to be held by anyone else, which is great! It made his desire to be close to Noah in that moment all the sweeter. I mean, look at Noah's great delight in holding his new brother.

What a special bond these boys will share!!
Soon after that moment, all of our families were called into a room surrounded by several flags. An official stood at a podium and in Cantonese shared some very sweet words with all of the families. Afterward, she declared our adoptions as approved! Confetti did not fall from the ceiling, but my Spirit danced with joy! There is one less orphan in this world, and I get to be his mommy for the rest of my life! What a privilege.

With the adoption official - Tyson is an Abell!

With the Munkel family, whose daughter is from Beihai, and the assistant director. How pretty is she?!
Once we left the Civil Affairs building, we freshened up and went out for lunch at the same Chinese restaurant as the day before. Ryan and Noah joined us this time, and I loved being together for a meal. Ryan's stomach was feeling much, much better, so thank you for lifting him up in your prayers. I should've asked sooner!! The lunch was phenomenal again. The noodles below are my absolute favorite. I will cry for them at home! :)

See the panda steamed buns? So cute!

Soon after getting back to the hotel, I was feeling super tired. This may have had something to do with writing a blog and talking to friends in the US from 12:30-3:00 a.m. OOPS! Tyson won't sleep in his crib during naps so far, preferring my arms to a bed, so I held him while we both slept on my bed. I woke up a couple hours later feeling TERRIBLE. Ryan took Noah and Ty to the indoor pool at our hotel while I slept some more. How cute are these guys?

Open your eyes, Ty-Ty!!
I have no pictures of the rest of our night. I felt so awful that I ordered room service at 5:45 p.m. while the boys were swimming. I barely heard Ryan come into the hotel room afterward. I heard a knock on the door with our food and answered it half asleep. I, no joke, ate my toasted ham and cheese sandwich and french fries while laying on my side in my bed. I gobbled it down, forcing myself to eat, and immediately fell right back to sleep. Ryan put Tyson to bed, and he and Noah went to sleep shortly afterward. I stayed asleep until 7:00 a.m. today feeling much, much better. I am guessing I slept 15 hours or so. That'll do it!! Thank you for your prayers. I feel each and every one of them. With God by our side and you as our army at home, we can do anything!! Love you dearly.
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