Saturday, January 25, 2014

Home Day 1 – Family of Four and sisterhood, but no traveling pants

What a journey the past two weeks have been!  We have had highs and lows but now we can look back at them with gratitude.  God has been amazing during this time.  Belle was taken care of by many people in different ways and then the incredible turnaround with Primrose during my desperate pleas for God’s intervention.  Needless to say, it has been mind-blowing what all has occurred.

Looking at the trip that was ahead of us as we were about to travel back home, I was slightly concerned with how Primrose would handle flying.  Not only has she never flown before, but to be confined to a plane for 13 hours was my biggest concern.  But, she was GREAT!  She got fussy for just a little on the plane but slept most of the trip. To top it off, the man that was in the 3rd seat on our row voluntarily moved to an empty seat to give us more room.  We could not have asked for a better behaved child on each flight.  She was AWESOME!

Coming home to the “Welcoming Committee” was wonderful.  It gave us an energy boost that we needed.  But probably the most overwhelming blessing through all of this is your participation in our journey.  As I would look at the blog dashboard it would show me how many people have read it each day, and I was blown away.  The number of FB shares, comments, and likes our blog links received was such an encouragement as well.  But today, The Satchers were trending on FB… ok not really but it felt like it.  All the pictures that were posted from the airport and then the tremendous outpouring of support has made today one of the most incredible of my life.  Social Media gets a bad rap, understandably so, most of the time but it is times like these that the good side of FB is revealed.

So let me just say on behalf of our family of four, “Thank you!”  Thank you for caring for us enough to read about our journey of adoption.  Thank you for your encouraging words.  Thank you for your prayers.  Thank you for clicking the “like” button.  Thank you!
Watching Belle and Primrose interact as sisters today has been really cool.  I cannot wait to share this journey with you all as well.  Stay Tuned!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

China Day 13 – Visas and Cultural Observations

Today is going to be the last blog until we get home Saturday morning.  Tomorrow will be about making sure everything is packed and ready to go, including my computer.  Today we received Primrose’s visa!  Now she can legally enter the US and once she does, she is a US citizen!  I am so excited that the paper trail has ended.  What started out as an application for adoption in March of 2012 has turned into a princess named Primrose.  As she is in the bath, April and I are both just ready to step off of that plane in Memphis.  We are ready to see and love on Belle as well as just sit in our house and be home.  This has been an amazing journey and we are grateful for those of you who have followed along.  As I was looking at our blog stats I was amazed that on Gotcha Day we had over 900 blog views.  Considering all that was taking place in our world during this time, I was so encouraged and overwhelmed at the response.  We are truly grateful for your prayers during our time here in China and ask you pray for our travel and our adjustment at home.  Neither Belle nor Primrose has had to share the spotlight with us just yet, so this could get interesting.  I am going to post some videos and pictures from our adventures here as well as some cultural observations to close out this post.

Before I move to the cultural observations, I want to mention how incredible many of the people we met who were also adopting are.  We have met so many families from our Holt group as well as other groups who are now connected with us for life.  Like I said in a previous blog post, it is amazing how you instantly connect with strangers through adoption and form a bond.  It is a community unlike any other.  Below are just a couple of pictures of some of the people we have met.

 This is the Weiler Family from Alaska.  They were here adopting the little boy, Jinzi.  The little girl who you rally cannot see was adopted from China as well.  One of the shop keepers on Shamian Island called Fred the "Happy Buddha."  He is a lot of fun.

 The couple on the left is the Lyle family from Hawaii, next to them is the Marburger family (who I mentioned in an earlier post) who adopted the girl in the purple top on the right, the man in the background is with the Cheung family, and the lady on the right is the incomparable Catherine.  She is an amazing lady who takes care of things for Holt.

I didn’t know what to truly expect coming to China, but after spending 13 days here I have a great love and admiration for the Chinese people.  As an American we get accustomed to life the way we live it and when taken out of our home country, some growth should be expected.  The first thing I noticed is the driving.  It is insane but organized.  I have never seen more congested traffic and crazy lane changes with as much courtesy as witnessed here.  Seriously, the lines on the road are more about suggested places to drive as opposed to required places to drive.  The cars/buses/taxis change lanes on a whim, with signal, and the cars let them merge.  No flipping off, no cussing, just the occasional horn honk if you are going too slowly.  It was crazy and scared us half to death the first few days, but today riding in the taxi it didn’t even phase us.
 Here is us on one of our bus rides to the civil affairs office.

Another thing that I didn’t expect is elevator etiquette.  In the US it is common to move to the back so that others can get on the elevator.  And when waiting for the elevator stand back to that anyone who needs to get off can before you get on it.  Not in China!  The first time I was on the elevator and the doors opened for me to get off I was shocked to see about 3 people standing almost nose to the door waiting for it to open, and then immediately jump on as I was trying to get off.  And when you are getting on the elevator with other people you better move fast because someone will be hitting that “door close” button like there is no tomorrow.  In fact, April about got shut out of the elevator one time because a man was hitting the button as soon as the doors opened and I barely got on as they were closing.  It makes for a fun experience.

The people of China are super helpful and we have many experiences of their courtesy toward us as we have been out checking out the city.  My favorite thing is how many of them just love to see an American.  We have had so many people get our attention to just say in English, “Hello!” and the smile so big when we say it back.  Kids are the best about this, we had an entire class of 8 or 9 year old girls yelling “Hello” or “Ni Hao” to us as we were walking around Shamian Island, and it made their day when we yelled “Ni Hao” back at them.  The Chinese have been a very welcoming people.  They are very curious when it comes to seeing us with Primrose or seeing her cleft lip, but due to language barriers they do not approach and ask questions.  You can see it on their face that they really want to know.

A few more:

  • Chinese food in America is NOT the same as Chinese food in China

  •  Porcelain toilets with seats are WAY better than the Chinese alternative

  • The Chinese have an incredible respect for the elderly and people with children (a lady tried to give up her seat on the Metro so I could sit down with Primrose but I refused, this is what they do)

  •   If you want to cross the street on foot, do it carefully

  •  Watch out for bike riders on the sidewalks and the streets

  •  Insane work ethic

  • You do not tip in restaurants, they work hard because they are supposed to not to earn tips

All in all, I have to say that I have loved my time here except for the few hiccups we experienced with Primrose the first few days.  I am ready to be home, but I will miss being here.  I cannot wait to come back in a few years with Belle and Primrose to visit again.

Just so you know, mommy and Primrose are doing GREAT!!

Again, thank you all for reading and taking this journey with us.  There will be more blogs as we get home and experience life as a family of four.  Stay Tuned!

Prim did not nap today while we were running around, but as she was playing in front of the TV this happened.  I moved her so she would not fall and she went into tantrum pose and before she could get wound up fake crying she fell asleep.

 This is tantrum pose.  She is super flexible and literally puts her head on the floor between her legs.

Here is our little princess not getting her way and throwing a tantrum, when she is done there aren't any tears!  This is all for show.  Cute and pitiful at the same time.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

China Day 12 – Visa Appointment

Today we had an earlier start than we have the past few days.  We had to be in the lobby to meet 5 other families in our group to go to the US Consulate for our visa appointment and oath taking ceremony.  It was fun, but unfortunately our US Consulate will not allow you to bring anything except paperwork into their building.  Today did NOT make Primrose a citizen, it just cleared the way for us to get her visa for entry to the US.  This is the final step in our adoption journey here in China, even though we have to wait until Friday to depart the country.  It has been an amazing time here China and I have come to enjoy the culture here more and more.  I will share more about some of the unique cultural experiences that I have learned about these wonderful people a little later on.

Primrose and Mommy are still doing great.  She still would rather her daddy hold her when given the option, but she will let mommy hold her.  I think she finally gets that we are here to stay and that she is stuck with us.  Thank you again for all of your prayers and feedback during our attachment struggles last week, it was a tremendous encouragement.

I am posting early today because a few of the families are going to go to a Mideastern Restaurant with live Belly dancers for supper, this should be fun.  I will leave you with two pictures: the first one is a menu choice from the restaurant mentioned and the second is our first family picture with Primrose on day 2 with her.  Also, here is a video of Primrose and what she says when she sees Belle on mommy’s phone… Sissie (Belle’s new nickname).  More videos and pictures to come.  Stay Tuned!

The US Dollar cost of this item... around $12

 If they would have let me hold her, she wouldn't have been crying.

may have to turn it up... hard to hear, but she will not do it if she sees me videoing her.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

China Day 11 – Lazy Free Day

Today was a much needed lazy day for us.  We did our typical morning routine and then had nothing to do the rest of the day, well at least not until tonight.  We lounged around the hotel room and then we ventured out for lunch at another “western food” restaurant.  It was a good day of resting before we hit the river boat tour tonight.  I will post pictures from tonight on tomorrow’s blog.

Today has been a great day for mommy and Primrose!  They have spent much time playing, bathing, and they even went to the playground while I was in a meeting.  April has picked Primrose up numerous times today with no problems.  What a joy it is to witness.
Tomorrow is our visa appointment and then we just wait for the visa to be issued and then home!  Keep praying for us and Stay Tuned!