5.30.2015

Day 9: Medical Appointment in Guangzhou

Boy did I sleep hard last night! I don't think I moved a single muscle the entire time I slept. I woke up to Ryan someone picking up and dropping my arm and then shaking it like a noodle. Grr!! Amy tired. Want to sleep. Leave alone! I was grouchy for 2.2 seconds until I got online and saw comment after comment after comment of such love and encouragement on Facebook. Thank you to everyone who has written us, especially those who are sharing how these posts are affecting and moving your hearts. This is the deepest desire of my soul. Yes, I want Tyson to have as many details as I can remember while he processes his own story, but I am also praying that God will use these posts to encourage people to move to action in however He calls. Everyone knows that millions of orphans exist in our world, but I hope that seeing Tyson and Tucker help you feel like you know children who were orphans but are forever loved and spoken for! The transformation that God exemplifies in their lives is so similar to the spiritual transformation that occurs within us when we have a relationship with Him. The old is washed away, and we are reborn to live out our full potential for the Kingdom. I love that Ryan are both adopted by God, as well as adoptive parents. We give because He gave. We open our home because He opened His. Adoption rocks, you guys!


After reading through dozens of FB comments (have I mentioned how much they mean to me?!), I hopped in the shower by the light of my cell phone. Oh the things you do to prevent a baby from waking up too soon!! That is another post for another day. We got ready, FaceTimed the boys briefly, and made it downstairs to eat breakfast in 23 minutes. Ryan got to eat sushi for breakfast. He was one happy guy! Noah was sad not to have his cocoa crispies from Nanning, but after I poured a packet of white sugar on top, he gobbled down those boring, plain ol' Rice Krispies.

After scarfing down breakfast in record time, we got in a van HUGE TOUR BUS with our group of 11 families and drove to the medical center for the children's appointments. Per regulations, all of our adopted children needed to have these appointments prior to being issued a visa to enter the United States. Because Tyson is under 2 years old, he did not have to get the dreaded TB blood test where they actually take the children's blood. This can be traumatic for the kids, as they are taken into a room without their parents and receive the blood draw. Tucker experienced that last time, and he was NOT a fan. This meant that Tyson only had to visit 3 instead of 4 stations at the medical center.


Prior to going upstairs to complete the stations, we waited in the lobby for some time taking the children's visa photos. Noah was on cracker duty, and as you can see, he was overjoyed to fulfill this role. In your best cave man voice say, "Ty-Ty hungry. Ty-Ty eat cracker!" This is the voice we use for Tyson all-of-the-time. Oh my sweet sumo baby!


Look at all of these people! They all traveled across the world to adopt their precious children. I want to clap my hands and cheer just looking at this photo. And this is just our adoption agency's families for this week, let alone the ones here with different agencies. I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you! John 14:18. God sent us to China, and here we stand with our beloved children!


This picture above!! Be still my heart. So many of you prayed that Lauren ad her family would be in China with us, and our prayers were answered! We are so grateful to experience this last week in Guangzhou with Lauren and her family.


Cracker in hand, Noah took Tyson on a walk. I just love seeing them walking together. Tyson had his picture taken for his visa (seriously, Mom, a spiderman shirt?!  Oh well, Ty-Ty. You are cute as pie regardless of your shirt, and your cheeks are soft like butter. Noah has done so well following our rules about his interactions with Tyson. He understands that Ty has to learn that we are his parents, and that all of his needs will be me through us. So, while Noah is his buddy to play with, anytime Tyson wants something to eat or drink, needs his diaper changed, needs comfort due to his feeling afraid, Ryan and I are the ones meeting those needs. This is working quite well, as Tyson prefers us to Noah right now. I know it hurts his feelings just a little bit sometimes, but we reassure him that this is exactly what we want to happen right now. We want his primary attachment to be with us and then his brothers. Ty is not struggling with indiscriminate affection here either, which is wonderful!


We took the elevator to the 5th floor and found a seat. See this hallway filled with people? These are all adoptive families and their children! How awesome is that? There were many others around the corner. Our agency and at least a couple other agencies were present that morning. I love seeing people from all over the United States, as well as families from Spain and Italy here with us, all for the same purpose - to bring these children into our families and love them forever.

Don't be fooled by his relaxation, this was the only 3 seconds he was still all morning. :)

I love his belly laugh!!! He is one ticklish little guy.


Like I mentioned earlier, we had to visit 3 out of the 4 stations to complete this part of the adoption process. The picture above is our visit to the ENT. Tyson didn't mind her looking in this ear but started to get upset when she tried to look in his left ear. She attempted to stick tongue depressor in his mouth, and he screamed. Haha!! Guess she saw inside his mouth just fine during that reaction, and we were allowed to leave for the next station.


At the nurse's station, they took Tyson's weight and height. He cried crocodile tears until I could pick him back up. I couldn't help but wonder what it was like for him when he got sick at the orphanage. When he saw a doctor, was it really scary for him? He's had several vaccinations, so like other children, does he associate doctors and nurses with shots? Was this so traumatic for him because of his circumstances of being adopting and experiencing a lot of fear as he transitions to our family? So many questions, and I won't ever get to know the answers to most of them. The picture below shows a very curious baby looking at his visa picture during the last station, the general exam, but I am not sharing the ones of him screaming at her touch and his writhing on the ground (when asked to walk) or on the exam table (while she checked his body). I ended up scooping him up and putting him in my lap for the exam. He was much better after that! I am so thankful that he feels comforted in Ryan's and my arms...both of us. This is such a gift!!


Once we were finished with all 3 stations, "Ty-Ty eat cracker!" We walked around for a bit, but anytime I got near one of the medical stations, he would start to cry. We are doing all we can to keep Tyson happy and comfortable, so we made our way to a different part of the floor.


Santa Claus!!! Tyson was SO excited to see these pictures. I pointed to them and repeated, "Santa, Santa, Ho, Ho, Ho!" I sang a couple Christmas carols, and thought about how Tyson will fit in so well in our family. Liam and Noah still sing Jingle Bells all the time.


I'm going to be honest, when we got Tyson's file, and I started imagining what it would be like to have a baby again, I was like, "Oh my goodness. What were we thinking!" Our "middles" are almost done taking naps and have been potty trained since they were 2. Having 4 year olds and a 7 year old is easy in so many ways, as they are just so much more independent. But Tyson, this little Beihai baby, is so amazing. He is the perfect little brother! He is so strong, which will come in handy being the youngest in our family. You guys, I honestly transitioned to being a mom of a baby again so easily. It's like riding a bike, I guess. I already cannot imagine my life without this little boy. I am SO thankful that he is both expressing love to me and receiving love from me. This is a gift! In the adoption world, sometimes this comes immediately, and other times it takes place over the course of weeks and months, after setbacks and then progress, and after mistakes are met with grace. I have now experienced the love from and with my China babies in both ways. The first was a marathon, and the reward at that finish line made it totally worth the race! The second, a gift of immediate acceptance, growing trust, and slobbery affection. Neither is more precious than the other. Both are beautiful gifts from the Father - to love and be loved.

Ryan got drenched in the rain but is all smiles for this pizza!

Tyson fell asleep on the bus ride back to the hotel. It was too early for him to need a nap, but when a child's stress hormones are running rampant from a medical visit like that, sometimes their bodies go into shut down mode. I think this is where Tyson was after we left the building. Ryan and Noah hopped off the bus to grab some bread for PBJ and bottles of water. I was able to unsnap my carrier with Tyson in it and place him gently on the bed on top of it. He slept a solid 3 hours just like that, on the edge of the bed with pillows all around him. After Ryan returned, he ran back out, as I was having a craving for Oggi's Pizza. It's NY style crust and tastes like it is baked in a brick oven. This was a medium pizza, and I, no joke, at five pieces. :) I was SO hungry b/c I barely had time to eat anything for breakfast, and in my defense, they are small pieces. Haha! For you adoptive families traveling soon, if you like pizza and think you will order it from Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, or Oggis, I recommend bringing your own pizza cutter for the little ones. Super helpful!


I had to go meet up with our group to prepare our paperwork for the Consulate Appointment, which takes place on Tuesday. Tyson woke up while I was gone, and once I returned, I thought a bath sounded perfect. Noah and Ty played in there for quite awhile.

"I'm gonna lean up against you, you just lean right back against me. This way, we don't have to sleep with our heads in the mud."

Love this view of my new son against the backdrop of this huge, Chinese city.
After picking up our final packets for the Consulate at 5:30 p.m. on the 30th floor, we joined our travel group downstairs in the lobby for dinner at Tekila's, a Mexican restaurant by the hotel. I am going to be so glad to get home to the boys, but this has been such a special time with Noah and Tyson, too. It will be bittersweet in some ways when it ends.


Our travel group from our end of the table

Our travel group from the other end of the table
Ryan and I both ordered soft tacos, and Noah ordered chicken fingers with fries. I got Tyson a chicken quesadilla, but he did not like the chicken...I think it was too flavorful. There was a touch of spice to it, but for a baby who has eaten congee his whole life, I'm sure the flavors are much stronger.

We were hungry!

Tyson enjoyed a cheese quesadilla much better!


After he was done eating, we played in a small play area at the end of our table. Tyson's anxiety was high, as he did not want to be more than an arm's length from me. It breaks my heart to see him scared, but I definitely understand why.

Ty-Ty loves cracker!
We walked back to our room in light rain, put Tyson into pajamas, and made his bottle. He stared into my eyes while lying in my arms and drinking it down. I wonder what he was thinking, knowing that he stared into another woman's eyes while having his bottle for the past 19 months. We turned the sound machine on, and I began walking him back and forth in the room. His slipped his finger in his mouth, and I sat down on the bed, rocking him in my arms. Did anyone rock him at his orphanage? Did they comfort him before bedtime or put him right down to sleep? So many questions run through my mind as I wonder about his past. Ty fell asleep in my arms. What a privilege to be the one to hold him as he starts to dream! I can't put him down yet, as he quickly wakes up and is super scared. He will climb all over me until he can fall asleep on top of my body. This time, I patiently waited and prayed for him while he slowly slipped off my body onto the bed by himself. He slumped his body over the top of a pillow and stayed there. I put pillows around him and slipped into the living area. Ryan transitioned him to his crib without any cries a couple hours later, and he is still sleeping in his crib now. I already can't wait to see his smile this morning!

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.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
BLOGSPOT TEMPLATE BY DESIGNER BLOGS