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 .