Wow! We made it through a short trip to Hong Kong, nearly a week in Nanning, Guangxi, and almost another week in Guangzhou, Guangdong. This is Day 13, and we are very nearly home to our boys! All of my children will finally be under one roof. Our travel group went to the zoo in Guangzhou this morning, and since we have already visited the zoo, our plan was to go to the safari instead. As time passed the last several days, we realized how nice it would be to not have a busy schedule today. We decided to skip both the zoo and the safari and stay around the hotel. We had breakfast around 9:00 a.m. and then met up with a woman named Shannon Gill is a photographer here in Guangzhou. While her husband is working in China, she takes pictures of adoptive families. How awesome is that? I knew that we wouldn't have professional pictures taken at home until after our cocooning period, an I really wanted to have some beautiful pictures of Tyson's first smile before he has surgery. When Shannon said she was available, I was SO excited! We ended up all dressing in our Family Day outfits, including the clothes that his orphanage had dressed him in that day. She took us behind The Garden Hotel where there are many beautiful trees, buildings, and a waterfall. I cannot wait to see how they turned out! Shannon said she likes to have just two appointments per week so that she can stay home with her 16 month old son. So, if you would like to have your pictures taken while in country, make sure you schedule with her quickly! Thanks again, Shannon!
After getting our pictures taken, Ryan ran a couple errands while I took the boys back to the room to pack. Tyson was SUPER clingy again today, especially while Ryan was gone. We are seeing that he is very much like Tucker was in the way he operates best when all family members are present. When someone is missing, he is more afraid and clingy. His insecurity breaks my heart yet I understand it completely. I tried to pack as fast as possible, but Ty really wanted me to hold him the whole time. In some ways, it reminds me of when you have an infant. Sometimes that baby just needs momma to hold him/her all day long. And you do. Because you know babies grow up so quickly and chores can wait for another day.
Once Ryan returned, we went to the pool to swim for a bit with some friends. The weather was beautiful, hot and sunny! It was nice to cool off in the pool. Tyson is a water baby for sure, and Noah loves swimming, too. We stayed for about an hour and then left to meet our friends, Kelli and Brett and their daughter Landry, for lunch.
|Yes, we ate at Oggi's again for the 3rd time. Yes, that is a large quattro format pizza. Yes, Ryan and I ate the entire pizza by ourselves. No, I am not ashamed! We high-fived at the end.|
This family has been such a blessing to us during our time in China. We met them at the airport in Hong Kong, took the same flight to Nanning together (after the lightning struck our plane!), and met our Beihai babies together. They are the sweetest people and make me laugh a lot! In many ways, Kelli reminded me of my friend Carroll Lane who was in China with us for 2 weeks for our last adoption. Their wit and sense of humor are very similar!! This was yet another gift God had for us in China - totally undeserved but given anyway. I miss you already, Kelli!! Brett is super funny, too, and has a very adventurous palate! I am so proud of all of the
|Noah took this picture of us together! Well done, buddy!|
Tyson and Landry will always share a special bond, as they have lived at the same orphanage together and were adopted on the same day. I am so thankful that they will grow up and have the opportunity to know one another - someone who shares similar roots. We hope the Munkels will be in our lives for a very, very long time! :)
|A quick picture of the guys.|
We had been told in the past that you do not tip servers in China. However, our guide David said that tipping was ok and to just hide the money under your plate. So that is what we did! Because David knows everything and we love him.
|Noah standing by a male (ball under foot) Chinese guardian lion that is believed to protect our hotel|
We came back to our room and put Tyson down for a nap. When I say put him down for a nap, I mean Ryan had the honor of being Tyson's mattress in the bedroom for 2-3 hours. Like I said earlier, he is clingy today. I packed up about 95% of our belongings while Noah watched a movie and played on my iPad.
|Tyson was a big help with packing!|
|Noah with Cannon and Carter|
I am so thankful to have traveled with Lauren and her family! Being in Guangzhou this week with them was such a breath of fresh air. I admire their love for Jesus and their hearts for orphans. Definitely friends for life!!
|Love you, Sister!!|
We went back to the hotel, and Tyson busied himself with a shoe box (Adidas for $9 - I'll let you decide if they are real) and tissue paper forever. If only I had known that would keep him entertained, we would've been done packing this afternoon. :) We packed all of the last minute items, weighed our bags (49 lbs. each), and got the kids ready for bed.
Noah, I have a feeling this won't be your last trip to China! Love seeing the city lights behind you. What a joy you have been the past two weeks. I have loved our time together so much!
After FaceTiming with Liam and Tucker, Noah snuggled with Ty and then went to bed. It was a nice long, relaxing day, and it's almost time to say goodbye to China.
It is 11:30 p.m. our time on Wednesday. We leave the hotel at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow for the airport. Our flight leaves at 8:30 a.m. from Guangzhou and arrive in Beijing at 11:30 a.m.. We then leave Beijing at 4:10 p.m. (Thursday) and arrive in Chicago at 4:10 p.m. (Thursday). SO WEIRD! After a 3 hour layover to go through customs and make sure our adoption paperwork is processed, we will be on our way to Indy!!! I am SO excited to see Liam and Tucker! I am going to kiss their faces and hug them like crazy! I cannot wait to see our closest friends and family and introduce them to Tyson AnTao Abell, our new beautiful son. Please pray for a safe trip and that this bag of Tyson's favorite crackers will sustain him until we hit US soil. We have a 28 hour day ahead of us, and your prayers are absolutely appreciated!! Love you all. Thanks for following our journey to Tyson.