Day 8: Goodbye Nanning!

We woke up yesterday morning (Friday), and I immediately remembered that this was a big day for Tyson and our entire family. This would be the day that we would say goodbye to Nanning, get on an airplane, and fly to Guangzhou to finalize the last pieces of our adoption. While in Nanning, we met Tyson for the first time, had our adoption ceremony where Ty officially became an Abell to the rest of the world, and received his passport to leave Guangxi Province. I wore my "1 less" shirt with great pride today, as there is now one less orphan at Beihai, in Guangxi, in China, and in our world.

With tears in my eyes (kidding not kidding), we had our last breakfast at the Marriott hotel. The people were just so kind to us, and the food was SO SO delicious. Tyson's favorites in Nanning included whatever type of congee was being served (sometimes pork, beef, fish, or chicken), ham, cheese, and tomato omelets, watermelon, and dragon fruit (white fruit below). We said goodbye to our favorite people on staff. One of the chefs asked if we needed any food to take to the airport. How nice is that? Every single person was so accommodating and thoughtful.

After breakfast I worked on the orphanage visit blog post and then helped Ryan pack up our room. We gave Tyson a small paper covering from one of the coffee mugs, put some rice crackers in it, and he had a ball! He would sit down, eat one, stand up walk to another area, sit back down, eat another one. I'm sure having control of food and activity is so much fun for this very active toddler!!

Noah, Liam, and Tucker have all worn this outfit. Ty will get to wear it just this one day b/c he is so big!
 I am part of a Facebook group for parents who have adopted children with cleft lip/cleft palate. They suggested purchasing these Nuby sippy cups, as children with this medical need are often able to drink out of them. Tyson cannot suck out of a straw or standard sippy cup because he cannot create suction inside his mouth. There is a gap in his palate, maybe a centimeter or so wide from his gum line all the way to the soft palate at the roof of his mouth. I may share a picture at some point, but I want to give that some thought first. Tyson is a champion, though, and I am constantly impressed by his ability to adapt to his medical need. He more or less bites the silicone piece to force the holes open so that water will flow through it. Pretty awesome!

While we packed, we turned the television on for the first time. Noah got to watch Chinese cartoons, and although he couldn't understand a single word, he was fascinated. Our guide, David, came by to go over some paperwork and invited us to lunch. I hadn't had a shower yet, and we were still packing, so we decided to have lunch on our own. As much as I missed having the last lunch experience with David and the group, it was the right call for our family. We needed a quiet, relaxing day before our busy evening. Ryan picked up chicken nuggets and fries from Burger King for Noah and some KFC for us. Their chicken sandwich is delicious and has a kick! The side dish of mashed potatoes and gravy is very peppery and about the size of a dixie cup. I'll tell you what...I am digging Chinese portion sizes. The food costs less, and the portion are so much more appropriate than in the US. I will post a picture later! Tyson had some congee and a fruit squeezable for lunch and was ready for a nap.

Ryan offered to take a nap put Tyson down for his nap so that I could finish my blog post before check out at 3:00 p.m. Is there anything sweeter than a daddy sleeping with his son? I think not.

Ryan woke up to check us out of our room while Tyson continued to sleep peacefully on the bed. I love the way he sucks his first finger on his left hand. I have never had a finger or thumb sucker, and I will be so sad for him when he can't do this post palate surgery. I am preparing myself for one angry baby who has used that finger to comfort himself for who knows how long! Anytime he feels anxious or tired, that finger pops right into his mouth. It is the sweetest thing ever! Ryan asked the front desk if we could stay in our room until 4 p.m. since we were not leaving for the airport until 5 p.m. They granted our request, and we enjoyed the nice air conditioning in our quiet room until then. The bell boy had already come for our luggage at 2:30 p.m., so all we had to do is take our very heavy back packs and the boys with us. Ryan took Tyson and Noah out to the Level 11 lobby, and I took one last look around the room for any items left behind. I looked out the window to bid Nanning adieu and saw this picture below. Oh China, how I love you. Nanning, I will be back someday!!

I sat in the lobby to write David a letter to explain just how much his work and guidance is appreciated. This man is the hands and feet of Christ each and every single day. We will go home and live out our lives as a family of six, but David will remain, fighting for these children to find their forever families. Anyone can do a job, but only the best do it with passion and love. That is David, and we will forever be grateful for his support this week. I miss him already!! To all those who will come to Nanning after us (or other areas where David is the guide - Kunming being one), I asked him what his favorite gifts are to receive from adoptive families. David said he loves COFFEE!! Please bring him any kind of coffee. He has a grinder already!

While I wrote the letter to David, Noah and Tyson went for a walk around and around Level 11. He is one proud big brother, you guys!

Tyson loved every minute of it.

We met David and the other two adoptive families in the lobby downstairs. We hopped into the van, filled with people and lots of luggage, and made our way to the airport. It probably took around 45 minutes or so to get there. We talked a lot with David, and I told him that I will be back to China for a future Lifeline mission trip to help with the developmental evaluations. So thankful that my education and profession can be used to help these children! He knows Leo, the 10 year old boy from Lifeline's Winter Camp, the one for whom I have been advocating, and he said, "Please keep telling people about Leo. He is a good boy!" David's great desire is for all of these children to come home to their forever families. PLEASE VIEW INFORMATION AND VIDEOS OF LEO HERE (click link)!!!

Inside the Nanning airport, David and the guys waited in line and checked our luggage. The process took quite awhile, but the kids did great patiently waiting. We attract quite a bit of curiosity, and most of the time I just smile and wave. Some people are very friendly back to us, while others continue to watch us. It's ok...I told Noah that we just have to keep shining the light of Christ.

Speaking of shining a light, these two women walked by our group and couldn't help but run their fingers through Noah's hair. They smiled back at us, and I told Noah to say, "Ni hao!" He did jus that, and the women came scrambling back to him. They knelt down by his side, and continued to touch his hair and cheeks and were going on and on in Cantonese about his eyes. He was not comfortable with the situation, but we had prepped him for just this very thing. He handled it politely and quietly but was glad when it was over. He immediately grabbed his baseball cap, pulled it down low to hide his face, and continued playing Legos on the floor. Haha!!

After the guys finished checking our luggage, We had a quick minute to grab a family picture with David. I gave him a hug and teared up saying goodbye. He is a true gift to this world, adoptive families, and the fatherless.

David stayed back and watched us through security just to make sure we didn't have any trouble. You can see his shadowy figure below on the right behind the red rope. We love you, David!! With one last wave goodbye, we were off.

I am so grateful for the friends we have made here in Nanning! They are the kindest people with such great senses of humor. I love their spirits, and their children are gems. We will always share such a special bond from having this first week together! Excited that we get to share another week with them in Guangzhou.

Our plane was ready and waiting and didn't get struck by lightning!

Noah busied himself with his 3DS while Tyson ate some, you guessed it, crackers! Ryan eventually went on a hunt for some dinner and came back with some delicious beef and noodles. I don't have any picture of the meal because I was putting wet noodles in my hands, breaking them apart with my fingers, and hand feeding Tyson. What can I say? It's good for bonding! Ryan had to pay 1 yuan for extra napkins. Paper products are not easy to come by here in China! For those traveling soon, it's a good idea to carry toilet paper without the roll inside like this...just an FYI.

We made great memories outside the Memory Noodle House
 It was a Chinese miracle! Our flight was on time, and we quickly boarded the plane. I just love seeing Ryan with our boys. If only college Ryan could have seen this!

We found our seats in Row 48. Tyson was comfortable in my lap, and we gave him an endless supply of rice crackers to keep him happy. He loved watching the lights outside, and as the plane took off, he pulled in close to me and smiled. The flight was over an hour long, and this little guy did not fuss one single time! Rice crackers, peek-a-boo with momma, and the Where Ty-Ty game kept him content from Nanning to Guangzhou. It was very sweet bonding time for me, and I felt myself fall deeper in love with my son. He is a treasure!

After a hard landing and some big rocking from side to side, the plane slowed down and taxied to our final destination. Ryan took Tyson and carried him off the plane. Noah walked between us. We always tell him that he's the peanut butter on our sandwich, and Ryan and I are the bread.

We walked down the stairs and put our feet on Guangzhou soil concrete. :) Our group in Guangzhou is so big, eleven families, I believe. There were four families at the airport at the same time, the three from our group and one who traveled from a different province. This family has several family members traveling with them, so they jumped in the first van by themselves, and our three families took a second van. No pictures were taken because the airport was SO SO busy. People were smoking everywhere, and Noah was concerned that his heart was going to turn black. Love that kid!

The drive took about 45 minutes to reach The Garden Hotel. Tyson fell asleep in my arms on the drive there, finger in his mouth. Sheer preciousness. The check in process took some time, and a nice young guy staying at The Garden told me to go sit in a chair on the other side of the lobby. We took his advice! Tyson is HEAVY, especially as dead weight. Noah had also fallen asleep in Ryan's arms during the drive, too, but woke up for check in. He came and sat by us, tried to get comfortable in the chair next to me but didn't have any luck. Ryan came over and told me our room number. I immediately thought, "I'm almost positive that is the room we stayed in when we adopted Noah. How crazy would that be?" Sure enough, as we went through the motions of getting the elevator and choosing our floor, I was pretty convinced. We walked down the floor toward our room, and I said, "Ryan, I'm almost positive this is the same room as when we adopted Tucker." The even numbered rooms were on the right, and he said, "No, we were on the left." As we got to the end of the hallway, sure enough, our room was on the left. I cannot believe that out of all of the rooms here that we are staying in the exact same room!! There are so many God winks along this journey. I really loved this one.

While Ryan ran out to grab 4th meal at midnight for all but Tyson, who was fast asleep on our bed, Noah watched a movie on my iPad while I unpacked our bags. I was having major deja vu...didn't we just adopt Tucker yesterday? I set up the room exactly like last time with a smile on my face. I love adoption!

Ryan came back with something he knew Noah would love - McDonalds. It's totally not my favorite, but when it's midnight 8 days into a trip to China, you eat it and smile. Because you are sitting on the floor. With your son. And your husband. Eating food that you are blessed to have. And your new baby is sleeping peacefully after his first ride in an airplane. And you are getting closer and closer to seeing your two babies at home. I fell asleep in our king bed with a smile on my face. Noah was the peanut butter. Ryan and I were the bread. And Ty-Ty was dreaming with his finger his mouth. It was well with my soul.

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