Thursday, November 22, 2012

Our adoption timeline thus far

October 2011 - Adoption is constantly at the forefront of my mind. Giving time or money to orphaned kids is not enough. We want to bring one home. Todd and I agree that God has called us both to adopt a child.

October 28, 2011 - Our 5 year anniversary. Our adoption application is sent into Lifeline Children's Services, and we are accepted. Originally planning to adopt from the DR Congo in Africa.

January 2012 - Begin the homestudy process.

April 23, 2012 - Things are not looking good in the Congo, as far as the adoption program goes. We switch our adoption country to China. We chose China for 2 reasons. 1.) China has a strong and rather smooth program 2.) We have many Chinese friends; there are a lot of Chinese resources in our community

August 15, 2012 - Homestudy finalized and approved. Officially "adoption ready"

September 20, 2012 - Immigration approved by Chinese government

October 1, 2012 - I get an email from Rainbow Kids saying there is a girl that meets our profile. Her name is Meiqi and is 9 years old. As I read it, my heart leaps with joy. She shares my Mom's birthday. She is with our adoption agency. She is relatively healthy. She likes younger kids and helping with the chores around the orphanage. I emailed it to Todd and he said yes!
[Rainbow Kids is a non profit organization that puts out the word about specific kids in need of a forever family. I would often get emails from them with kids available for adoption that match our profile. I would prayerfully read each email - daily]

An older picture of Meiqi

October 16, 2012 - After much prayer, and asking for counsel from Doctor's and other adoptive parents of older kids, we get the green light and commited to Meiqi. We have to wait for Chinese "Pre-approval" before she's officially ours.

November 13, 2012 - Receive Pre-Approval for Meiqi - She is officially ours to adopt!

Happy Thanksgiving, Meiqi Hannah

Dear Meiqi Hannah, Happy Thanksgiving!

That's American code for "Enjoy eating way too much food!"

I should be asleep right now but I can't get you off my mind. My belly is full of yummy turkey and Grandmother's dressing and sweet potato pie and Aunt Tracy's chocolate cake. We spent the whole day with our family. There were kids running around everywhere. An assortment of casserole dishes a mile long. Aunt Lynn's tree that was so tall it scratched her ceiling. Micah and Elijah playing with their cousins Barbie dolls (shhh, don't tell Daddy!). We enjoyed the latest family gossip. Oh, how I wish you were here with us.

We've started decorating for Christmas. Christmas is a big birthday party for someone very important and very special, a man named Jesus. You'll hear a lot more about him when you get home. We each have our own stockings on the doorway for special presents. I want to get a stocking for you. You can help me pick one out for your first Christmas next year. You can help me decorate too.

I think it's Friday afternoon for you right now. Did you eat lunch? Did you have enough to eat? I wish I could send you some Thanksgiving leftovers. We had enough to feed your entire orphanage.

How can I miss someone that I've never met? How can I love someone that I have never hugged?

I am thankful for you.

Much love,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meet Our Little Girl!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls
We are proud to present to you
Meiqi ("May-Chee") Hannah Callie Pate
Meiqi (May Chee) Hannah
Hannah (in the bible) prayed this prayer:
"My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.
No one is Holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God." (I Samuel 2:1-2)
Meiqi Hannah
We will call her Meiqi ("May Chee") Hannah
About Meiqi Hannah...
(according to her file)
She was born on February 2, 2003 - this is my Mom, Alison's birthday also
[I, Kim, was still in college!]
She is currently living in an orphanage near Guangzhou, China
She is currently 9 1/2 years old
She is healthy
Her best friend in her orphanage was adopted, and she really wants a family too!
She likes to sing and dance
Her mental development is normal
She is happy and outgoing
She likes to help with other children and the orphanage chores
She is very petite - about the size of an American 7 year old
She is doing well in school
We have 4-6 months wait time until we can travel and meet her
She will be 10 years old when we meet her
FAQ's about our child
What's up with all the names?
Meiqi: her name given by the orphanage. We want to keep it first because this may be one of the only things she can tangibly bring home.
Hannah: Our favorite girls name from God's word, the Bible. It means "grace."
Callie: A mix of "Connie" (Todd's Mom who passed away) and "Alison/Ali" (My Mom)
I thought you guys were adopting a baby?
We thought we were until we saw her on the waiting list! We were smitten!
Why an older child in China?
In China, when a child ages out of the system at 13 years old, they have no where to go. They have no family, no support network and they are unable to get a job (orphans don't get the proper paperwork, called their "huoku"). They usually end up on the streets as beggars or prostitutes. Our hearts have been broken by this reality.
Why do you still have 4-6 months to go?
We are waiting on the Chinese government to get all of our paperwork through the system, and await travel approval.
There are so many kids in the US to adopt, why are you going to China?
There are so many orphans there, and so few people willing to go. 1 Million orphans in China alone.
What happened to Hannah's biological parents?
We don't know. We just know she was found, and taken to the orphanage. In China, there is a law called the "One Child Policy" that states that parents must not have more than one child, and if they do, there are very serious consequences (ie. lose their job; lose all income; very heavy fines; basically death). The most loving decision a woman can make is to birth her 2nd baby, and give him/her to the state.
What do Micah and Elijah think about this?
Elijah is only 2 1/2 and doesn't really understand, but Micah is excited. He gets along well with older kids. I think they will be good buds.
Are you planning to take Micah and Elijah with you to China?
We're not sure at this point. It depends a lot on how the rest of our fundraising goes. 
Where are you guys in your fundraising?
We are still at about $20,000 of our needed $30,000.
Email me if you are interested in helping us bring Hannah home!
KimberlyLPate at gmail dot com
Why does it cost so much?
Travel - approx $12,000 - flights, food, hotel, a guide - for a 2 week trip
Payments to the agency - $13,000 - pays for our interviews; all of our documents being processed; corrrespondence with government officials
$5000 - everything else - passports, Visas, medical exams, random other processing fees
What else do you guys need?
Girls clothes - size 6 (spring/summer clothes)
Girls shoes - size 1 or 2?
Girls Bedding (for a full size bed)
Anything "girl"- baby dolls, tu tu's, hair bows
Anything Chinese - books, recipes, pictures, etc.
A rice cooker
So what's next?
We can send Hannah care packages, and ask some questions. It will be fairly quiet, as far as paperwork and deadlines, until closer to travel time. We are preparing her room; reading books about parenting older kids and adoption; fundraising/grant applications
How can we pray for you guys?
Pray that God will be working in her heart to love, and be loved, by our family.
Pray for $10,000 for remaining costs.
Pray that she will be protected .

Thursday, September 20, 2012

elijah's development update

Elijah crawling at 14 months....after many tears and many exercises to strengthen his core....He was determined NOT to crawl. Wanted to go straight to walking, which (unbeknownst to me) is a big no-no in the physical therapy world.

Our sweet Elijah
Now 29 months old...

After much prayer and struggle and knocking down the doors of every doctor we know, I've finally got some answers from the internet (I know, duhhhh, why didn't i think of that sooner?). We had a genetics test done a few months ago. The results came back that there is an abnormality on his 13th chromosome, but the lab and the Dr said they're not sure exactly what it means. So, I kinda forgot about it. I figured, well if the Dr doesn't know, then how would I get any info? Well after more struggle with speech delays and Elijah just not "getting it" I finally realized I need to do my own research on this particular chromosome (the exact gene is 13q22.1). I've always thought that there's something "more" going on with Elijah, other than just a delay.

Apparently there is an entire community of kids that have this same abnormality or something very similar. If there is a loss on this particular gene, there can be some very major issues (cancers, retardation, vision and hearing problems). Thankfully God has spared us from the severe issues. But, it also causes hypotonia (low muscle tone), speech delays, constipation, sensory integration issues...all of which Elijah has.

The information I found...

A network of families who have kids with the same "chromosome 13q deletion"
       can see the drool (low muscle tone around mouth)
and squishy legs
and torn-up knees from scratching (related to sensory issues)

Learning all of this has been enlightening to me! I feel a sense of relief. This whole time, I've felt a sense of guilt, like I did something wrong, or didn't do enough, that created his delay. That its my fault. But learning about this, takes the burden off of me and reminds me that we are all "fearfully and wonderfully made" by God and he doesn't make mistakes.

I also have been comparing Elijah to big Bro Micah and other kids and think "When will he ever talk correctly?" ..... but learning about this gene has put everything in perspective for me. Most kids who have this 13q22.1 have much more issues.

God has shown me that I'm completely NOT in control. That our times are in His hands. We are all flawed. We are all messed up. But thanks be to God that He will come again and make all things new again. I've also been tempted to fear about what all this means for our future- for Elijah, for our adoption, for our family. But, again, the Holy Spirit living in me reminded me "I will not leave you, nor forsake you" Joshua 1:5

I just have to say how thankful I am to ALLLL of these people that have been helping us for the past year, helping us sort through all of this!

  • Hattie Lett (Todd's Aunt)- a PT; first noticed Elijah's delay at 12 months; gave us many tools to stregthen his muscles
  • Early Intervention Valley Haven - Hattie, Tricia, Jennifer, Kelly (free!) - much encouragement, love, PT, OT and speech therapy; many practical tips
  • Precision Medical/Carrie Jinwright- Made Elijah's sure steps for his pronated feet (for free!); educated me more about hypotonia
  • Dr Rubin - a developmental pediatrician in atlanta; did the genetic testing; relieved our fears about worse case scenario
  • Dr Pitt- our chiropractor- stimulates nervous system, prayer, encouragement, nutrition support (sees kids for free!)
  • My Mom- encouraging us to see the developmental pediatrician
  • Our family in Auburn- Grandmother's biscuits and everyone else's love
  • ALL for children- more speech therapy
  • Debbie Vail- nutrition encouragement
  • Lakeview friends and nursery workers- much love and encouragement
  • The adoption world- opened my eyes to the world of sensory issues 
  • "Scratch me nots"...He cannot sleep without his scratchmenot on...He scratches 24/7
  • Dr Stiles- put tubes in Elijah's ears and took umpteen viles of blood for genetic test while he was under anesthesia
  • Our pediatrician, although they did not see the delays, have been helpful with the basics
What's next....Should we see a geniticist? Looking for more nutrition help to support muscle tone. Possibly Dr Adams.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A letter to my child I have not yet met

Written almost 2 years ago on November 12, 2010 ...after many sleepless nights, when the Lord spoke clearly to me "pursue adoption". Elijah was 6 months old, and Micah 2 1/2.

"Dear child,

"I don't know your name. I don't even know where you live. You may not even be born yet but the Lord has a good plan for you. He has been working on our hearts for a long time. Since Daddy and I were single, we thought abot adoption. We talked about it when we were dating and engaged. We both saw what life was like in orphanages- Daddy in Kazakhstan and myself in South Africa. We saw the loneliness and the hopelessness and decided, even in our singleness, that we would one day adopt."

"God tells us to take care of the orphan. God tells us to make disciples of all nations. We desire to obey these commands. We want to bring you home with us. Last month, in October [in 2010], we decided that we wouldn't just talk about adoption anymore, but that we wanted it to become a reality. If we don't, we'd be disobedient to God Almighty. We don't have any extra money right now, but because we fear the Lord, we are taking a blind leap of faith. I was laying in bed one night when I heard it start to rain and the Lord reminded me that if He will supply water and provide for the birds, He will surely provide for us to adopt you. We desire to live counter-culturally and radically. We do not look at our circumstances, which tells us "no, don't adopt" but we look upon the Lord. He can do the impossible. With God all things are possible. So we're beginning the application process now. Actually, I just finished it. I'm waiting for $500 for the application fee [side note- I went to the mailbox later that week, and there were 3 checks in the mail- for $700!!!] We are trusting God for all $30,000 [another side note- As I write this, the Lord has provided $20,000 so far]"

"I'm so sorry you were abandoned. I'm so sorry that you will have to leave your country behind. I'm so sorry that you may never know your biological family. I don't understand it all. But I do believe that your biological mother made a good choice to birth you. I'm excited to meet you. Daddy and Micah and Elijah are excited to have a new brother or sister too."

"I will fight for you, dear child. I will search high and low for that money so that we can bring you home with us. People think I'm crazy, but that's what they said about Jesus too. I'm willing to be like Jesus, for you."

Love, your Mommy"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chappy's Deli Fundraiser Night

We had great food and fellowship, and a great turnout!
10% of their sales from 5:00 to 8:00 go directly to our adoption

 look for my receipt mailbox!

home study approved and waiting...

We are home study approved!!!! It's taken a looong 8 months to get to this point (we are on the "slow track"). This is a big deal in the adoption world. The homestudy is basically the ticket for an adoption. We are so thankful for our agency, Lifeline (, our social workers patience with us, for friends and babysitters that have helped us A LOT, and for the Lord's spirit of endurance! It feels good to be done with all the paperwork and meetings!

Our homework, since January...We've learned a lot about perseverance!

So, what now?
Well, now we wait for immigration approval, which is basically the "stamp" on the homestudy from the US government. We're hoping to be cleared and our dossier (the homestudy plus immigration approval) sent to China October-ish. Still hoping to be mat

Most grant applications require your homestudy approval, so that's my job now :)

                                             Holding strong at close to $20,000

Today, instead of focusing on what will make us “feel better” in the moment; let’s remember to continually fix our eyes on our Eternal Comfortable – the One who will ultimately satisfy us.
(Thank you...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

final homestudy meeting report

  • The biggest "news" from our social worker: it's most likely a boy! There are many baby girls abandoned in China, so I assumed it would be a girl. But, all-too-often boys are "left behind" because so many adoptive parents go for a girl. We chose to request either- boy or girl. We were told it's a good chance it will be a boy. The emotions I have are similar to when we had an early ultrasound with Micah and the tech said "it's probably a boy, but don't paint the room blue yet"
  • We're hoping to get our official "match" by New Year's, and travel next summer
  • Things are going well with paperwork, getting our "dossier" together
  • Getting our immigration paperwork in (the government has to approve our homestudy, and say that we are suitable to bring a child home, which costs $890-yikes!)
  • Have to get federal fingerprinting done in Atlanta or Birmingham
  • The Lord continues to provide for our adoption! We always have "just enough" in our bank account. SO many people have been generous in giving to us. The latest gift- friends had a yard sale for us, and gave us $500!!! I am constantly reminded that the orphan is on God's heart. He cares about adoption.

Other news...
  • applying for grants
  • reading up on China culture (interesting finds in my reading...plan for squatty potty's and bring your own toilet paper; Buddhist temples are everywhere; scorpion kabobs will be on the menu)
  • Have more coffee for our fundraiser. The Lord has used it to provide $800 for our fees!!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

God listens!

Well, it's been 2 month since my last post. We've been slammed with adoption homework, Todd's 2 jobs, Elijah got tubes in his ears, and traveling to FL to visit my Mom.

As I was reading my last post, I smiled because God has answered 2 of our prayer requests since then......

1. Our adoption fundraiser yardsale was a hit!! I asked for $2500 and the Lord provided $2700!!! The Lord always goes above and beyond! We had 33 families donate. My house was wall-to-wall stuff for a week. We had people knocking on the door all week long to bring stuff, and shop. I never want to see a round sticker again.

2. Our country decision. We were so unsure about Congo. The Lord led us to China. We are excited! China is one of the few countries, other than Congo, with a short travel time and young kids available. Their adoption program is only for kids with medical special needs. We requested to be matched with a child with only the most minor/correctable conditions (minor developmental delays, cleft lip, extra/missing digit, crossed eyes, birthmarks). And we have a good chance of getting matched with a girl, as a result of the "One child policy" that requires many families to abandon their 2nd female child. There are 1 MILLION kids in China waiting for their "forever family"

What's Next....
  • ONE more document left for Todd to do!! He's been so busy that he hasn't had much chance to get it done. And that will conclude our homestudy!!!
  • Our 4th and FINAL homestudy meeting with our social worker (this meeting will be in Birmingham) will be in June - Lord Willing.
  • Our social worker is typing up all of our MANY documents into one official package called our "dossier" pronounced doss-ee-ay
  • Our dossier will be sent to the State Dept. and translated into Chinese
  • Then it will be sent to China and we will be officially "in" China (hopefully by the Fall?)
  • Wait for immigration approval
  • We will then wait a few months to be matched with our child!
  • Wait for travel invitation (~ 10-12 months from now?)
 How our fundraising is going...
  • Still selling coffee! The Lord has used it to provide $800 so far!
  • Our total is about $17,000 thus far! Thankfully switching to china will not increase our fees too much. Our goal is still $28,000
  • Trusting God for donors for our $2500 matching grant (give $2500 and get $5000)
a typical baby room in china, where the child-adult ratio is VERY low
can you imagine- no hugs, no holding hands, no reading books together, no family movie night...
just waiting for your next bottle to be propped up on a pillow

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

spring fun/homestudy update

We are about 60% finished our homestudy. In 2 months, I've read 2 books, completed 7 hours of online training, had 2 interviews with social worker, and other random paperwork. Whew..... Still have about 10 hours to go for our online training. Why does it have to be so difficult? There are so many kids out there and some days, I just feel "stuck" in paperwork. But God is teaching me a lot about patience, submitting to our government and trusting Him with all 147 million orphans. HE can take care of them a lot better than I can.

Gearing up for yard sale fundraiser. Getting lots of donations. Praying that God would provide $2500 in this yard sale to go towards our $2500 matching grant. If you'd like to donate anything... email me

Praying for God to lead in our country choice. Not certain the congo is for us. There have been some more safety warnings. Still no completed adoption in congo through our agency. Waiting on the Lord. Don't have to be decided until the final interview with social worker. Another country? Stick with congo, but go with a different agency? There are only a few other countries that have babies available, and a relatively short travel time.

I'm having a ball outside with the boys this spring. Micah is the best bug-hunter I've ever seen. From sun-up to sun-down, he has his fingers in the dirt. Poor Todd can't join us though. It's been an aweful allergy season this year. Elijah follows Micah everywhere. Getting ready for his 2nd birthday.

Our latest addition to the family. Baby chickens.
I guess I'm the Mama hen. They follow me everywhere.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

More highlights from adoption retreat weekend

If you've adopted, or are considering, you have to go on this retreat...
There's another retreat in March because this one got so full!

I had an AWESOME weekend at the retreat with other adoptive Mommy's. I learned so much- practically and spiritually. Some highlights...
  • Amazed by the fact that there are so many other Mom's (430 to be exact!) that are walking the same journey that understand the struggles, and the joys.
  • "The world sees orphans, Jesus sees disciples."
  • Learned that there are 147 million orphans in the world; all hopeless, all longing for a "forever family"
  • God is faithful and He will provide when He calls. Obey Him and He will work out the details.
  • I cannot parent an adopted child the same way I have Micah and Elijah- they come home with many scars, different needs. We've been the "cry it out" type of parents with our bio. kids. This will not be the case with an adopted child.
  • I think I may have been convinced to adopt 2 at the same time. It's the most wise way to use our time and money God has given us. It's only $3000 more, and no more time, to adopt 2 at the same time, rather than seperately. But we'll see where God leads us in the coming months.
  • We would like to travel all together- Todd, myself, Micah and Elijah, and take a "helper." We want to experience the culture, orphanage, family bonding, etc all together. Micah will be 5ish, and Elijah will be 3ish by the time we can travel.
  • God has created me to connect with my kids better than I've been doing. I stay home allll day with them, but I don't always "connect". I was given many tools to help me in this. One of my favorites: when Micah does something I don't like, instead saying "dont do that" say "Micah you can try that again. Would you like to do a. or b."
  • Giving choices, getting on their level, going to them~ the way God has come to us
  • Be patient in the waiting
  • I was completely blown away by the world of infertility in the adoption community. I have a whole new level of thankfulness for our bio boys. I am completely humbled to hear how so many women have struggled through it.
  • God isn't just working in the life of an orphan. He's changing me too.
  • Do not have any expectations of our child when we bring him/her home. It only leads to disappointment.
  • Todd is a really good husband and Daddy! He took such good care of the boys and the house while I was gone. They had a really great time together. I asked Micah what they did with Daddy and he said "We've been eating and eating and eating".


I (miraculously!) woke up early to see the sunrise on Lake Lanier. God reminded me that just as He provides sunshine for us everyday, He will provide for our adoption- financially, emotionally, timewise

A fellow Congo Mommy. She has adopted 1 already and is in the process of getting #2 from the Congo. I sat at a table FULL of other Congo Mommy's, which was my first time to chat with other Congo Mommy's. I'm not the only crazy one!!!

 I got some really good time to talk to God about my worries, and for the rest of the family, and to pray for the country. I found myself on my knees, in tears, on top of this map that was laid out on the floor. I think the whole map was wet with many other Mommy's tears.

Another congo Mommy. Has 3 biological kids, and a little boy from congo.

My 2 sweet friends from Auburn, who have adopted from china and Russia. They've been "adoption mentors" for me and such an encouragement. We were 3 of 430 women at this retreat!!!

I love this!

Another Auburn Mommy. Adopted from the Ukraine.

Friday, February 3, 2012

God's provision/our first homestudy interview

As of February 2, we are at $11,800. I am absolutely blown away by God's faithfulness in providing for us. I'm excited to be closer to the halfway mark, but it's a little scary also that we're close to the halfway mark.

We had a great first interview with our social worker. I was expecting some tears, but I did ok. I let Todd do a lot of the talking. Im feeling very vulnerable in this process. Pretty much all of our "dirt" is being dug up and talked about. She was gracious and I felt ok being myself. I feel the freedom to speak about our struggles, and reminded that Jesus makes us whole. Loving the fact that our adoption agency is very grace-centered. But I do have a hard time with some of the repetition of our paperwork and interviews (ie How many times are they going to ask me "Are you a convicted felon?").

Next on our homestudy agenda:
  • Todd has to do his autobiography (I finished mine already!) before we can schedule our next meeting with social worker
  • Reading 2 books on adoption, 1 of which is 440 pages long, and more required reading on the internet
  • Moooorrrre paperwork. errrr.
  • Need to get our AIDs and syphyillis shots. errrrrr.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

so excited!

God continues to be gracious to us and provide for us...We got a $2500 matching grant!! I know that God will provide the other $2500!

Total so far, we're at $6800!!!! So thankful for God's provision!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

january '12

I/We are currently...
  • preparing for a Mommy's-only adoption retreat "created for care"- speakers, fellowship, connecting with other congo families, spending time with Auburn friends who have adopted
  • in the homestudy- getting fingerprinted, filling out forms, reading books, writing autobiographies
  • fundraising- trusting God for about $1000 to have homestudy finalized in the next few months
  • excited that we have about 7 months until we learn the child's name, medical records and get a picture
  • finished reading "There is no me without you" by Melissa Fay Greene- awesome biography of an Ethiopian woman who became a foster mother to 250+ orphans. Most of them were left parentless due to AIDS.
  • learning more and more about trusting God, not man, to provide. Romans 8:32 says "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

brief update

  • We got our 2nd payment in, and a few documents. Waiting to hear about starting the homestudy. Hopefully anyday now.
  • Up to $4300 in our fundraising
  • Waiting to hear back about a $4000 grant that we applied for
  •  Planning to go on an adoption retreat (www.CreatedforCare.Com) with some friends from Lakeview that have recently adopted. Im excited about learning more from other Mother's that have walked this journey. Excited about the break-out session entitled "caring for African hair"
  • Have tentative yard sale fundraiser on Saturday, March 24
Little brother copies EVERYTHING big brother does