Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 2: Taking It All In

We have nothing planned today until 4:00, which will be a meeting with our guide, to go over everything for the big day tomorrow - Gotcha Day!

We did some exploring of the sights closeby within walking distance. There is a lot to take in! The city is very busy. There is a lot of hustle and bustle. Getting used to city life + Chinese life has made for an overwhelming 24 hours.

While we did some exploring, we saw 3 street beggars who were all severely disabled. One was severely burned and laying on his stomach with a sign that said "fire." Another was severely mamed. The other was very old and blind. My first thought went to the 1 million Chinese orphans, many of whom are severely disabled. Beggin on the street is the orhans fate apart from God's grace intervening in their life. Orphans here don't have job opportunities or families to call for help. They are hopeless.

The weather is muggy, humid and cloudy. It was a little chilly this morning.

Micah, I took this picture for you. Daddy is eating spicy noodles for breakfast!!!

The breakfast buffet is amazing! There is a good mix of American and Chinese food.

There is a beautiful waterfall in the hotel gardens

I am amazed by how beautiful the flowers and plants are here. Guangzhou is on the same latitude as the Florida Keys. It has a very tropical feel.

Happy Easter!

I love the pool! You have to go through the shower and foot pool to get into the pool area. It overlooks the city.


A window washer 30 stories high - with one little rope! Incredible.

A little bread shop across the street.

There is a walkway that goes from the hotel over to some shopping. There are a lot of stores and malls closeby. The mall is beautiful. Lots of fancy shops. There are lots of small shops too. The grocery store is on the 4th floor of the mall.

Day 1: Made it to Guangzhou

Saying goodbye to the boys was pretty tough. Micah is 5 and Elijah is almost 3. Being away from them for this 2 weeks is the most difficult part of this whole process. More so than fundraising or paperwork or traveling or anything else. But God is teaching me a lot about trusting Him with our boys, and learning to trust our family with them. Sometimes is obeying God is just really difficult. If we did not do this, we know we'd be deliberately disobeying God's call on our life. (I'm not saying adoption is God's will for everyone!) We have great family and I'm thankful for their help! There are moments when I am glad we did not bring them, honestly. I think the long flights and the different kinds foods would be tough on them.

We had a looong flight to Seoul, Korea. 16 hours. We love Korean Air. They have very sweet flight attendants, with beautiful hair-do's. They seemed to be very kid-friendly for the families on the flight. The food was good for airplane food. We tried the Korean dish "kimbap" and seaweed soup. Kimbap was good. Seaweed soup not so much.

We had a 4 hour lay-over in Korea. Had some good time to get to know the other families while we waited. I love being surrounded by others who have the same call and passion. There were 4 other families on our flight, also with Lifeline Children's Services.


After 24 hours of travel, WE MADE IT TO CHINA!!! It feels good to be closer to Meiqi Hannah, even though we won't get to meet her for another 36 hours or so. Our guide spoke with the orphanage today to check on her, and they said "she is healthy and happy."

I was welcomed to China
with a squatty potty! I was not expecting to see one in the airport.

We had a quick and rainy trip from the airport to the hotel.
1 other family is here with us this week, and thirteen other families will connect with us next week. Our agency, Lifeline, does a great job of helping us get everywhere we need to go. Our guide, Miko, met us at the airport and arranged for a driver to bring us to our hotel. We got a schedule for our next 2 weeks. We have some fun things planned.
Our hotel, The Garden Hotel, is very beautiful and very large. It is also very modern. There are fresh flowers and plants everywhere. It is a Five Star hotel. There is no way we could afford this in America!!
Those are real!

Our first dinner in China was delicious! BBQ pork, rice with goose(!) and some kind of vegetable.
I forgot my fork. I'm having to learn quick.

Don't drink the water!

We were SO exhausted and slept from 6pm to 5am! We had been awake for 36 hours. The hotel is very quiet and comfortable.

The view from our room of Guangzhou.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone,
but still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute;
You didn't grow under my heart
but in it.

Where did you get $32,000?

Here are the numbers. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!
I write this to encourage those who are considering adoption. If we can do it, anyone can!!

$150 from 2 dinner fundraisers at Chappy's Deli ~ 30 families
$5000 Show Hope grant (Steven Curtis Chapman's ministry)
$5000 God's Grace Adoption Ministry matching grant (2500 from friends, 2500 from the grant ministry)
$1600 in Toomer's Coffee Sales (We sold A LOT of coffee!)
$2700 First Yard Sale
$1700 Second Yard Sale + Kids Clothes Connection Sales
$16,000 from approximately FIFTY other family members and friends
Approx total $32,000 (As  I write this, we are at the $30,000 mark but I am confident God will provide another $2000!)

Very resilient brothers (Micah and Elijah) that have been so patient through this whole process
Chinese friends that have translated for us
Friends and family that have kept the boys for me while I get paperwork and packing done
Family keeping the boys while we go to China
Grandmothers that do laundry
Granny's that send lots of presents
Sweet Sunday School friends that gave us a shower
More sweet friends that gave us another shower
Neighbors that helped with our 2 yard sales
A church that is supportive
A family that is supportive
Awesome social workers that have trained us well

150+ people have come together to bring this soon-to-be daughter home!!!

Old picture of Meiqi Hannah. We saw this in her medical file for the first time in October 2012

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Final thoughts (2)

If you'd like to help us get to the top, please consider giving to our matching grant. Everything will be matched dollar for dollar up to $2500 - we'll get $5000

God's Grace Adoption Ministry
PO Box 4
Modesto, CA 95353

*Make a note "For Todd and Kim Pate"


Final thoughts (1)

We're ready!!!

I am sooo very excited to be at the end of this road. The end of waiting. The end of fundraising. The end of paperwork.

But it is not the end of trusting. If I have learned anything through this process, it has been to trust God, and that He is faithful. We are trusting God even though we cannot see Him ~ faith!  When I don't trust Him, I get anxious and fret and try to take matters into my own hands. Then I hear God's sweet voice say "I forgive you. Trust Me." I can trust God with our kids. I can trust God with our money. I can trust God with our marriage. I can trust God with our future. I can trust God with it ALL.

I am enjoying the fact that God has orchestrated our travel plans around Good Friday and Easter. We fly out on Good Friday, and Meiqi Hannah will become ours on Easter Sunday (Monday in China). If Jesus dying on the cross and being raised from the dead is not enough reason to celebrate, we get an extra blessing of meeting our new daughter!

What I am trusting God for now:
- Meiqi Hannah will know some English
- We will find favor with Meiqi Hannah
- God will provide our last $1500 (gets doubled to $3000 with matching grant!)
- God will give us great friendship with the other adoptive families in our group. I think there will be TEN other families with us - also adopting kids!
- The boys will be safe and happy while we're gone

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Only God

Our latest picture of Hannah. I have no idea what she is holding!
 I can't believe we only have 2 weeks left of the "waiting"process of our adoption journey. We sent in our application to Lifeline (which we love, by the way in October of 2011. We celebrated our 5 year anniversary and our acceptance into the program. Whew. The boys were only 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 then. They are almost 3 and 5 now. We sent in our application thinking we'll "just see" what happens, originally thinking we'd adopt a baby boy from the Congo in Africa. Ha!

We've endured 16 months of paperwork, interviews, meetings, lots of prayer and fundraising $32,000 and still keeping our marriage and home and family in tact. Let me say: this has ALL been the Lord.

That was then. This is now. Now we're packing and booking flights!! I have lists all over the house. I have a plethora of emotions. Excited to meet Hannah. Sad to leave the boys. Nervous about traveling. Sad to take Hannah away from all she's ever known. Excited to become a family of 5. I can't sleep. I'm nesting like a women who has been pregnant for 10 months. I feel as though I am on the verge of tears very often. I keep rearranging furniture.
Only God could do this!
See below if you'd like to help "top it off"
Hannah, you will be in our arms very soon!

I have had many "Only God could do this" moments this week:
- I've been expectantly praying for God to provide for our travel expenses (roughly $10,000). We've been praying and praying to hear back about a grant we applied for. The Lord told me to go to the mailbox. Sure enough, $5000. God listens!
- I was up til 2am on Thursday night. God led me to ask Him for the administrative people in China handling our travel document. I prayed for them, asking God to give us a speedy travel approval. And then I got our "travel approval"email on Friday. God listens!
- We've prayed that we could get Hannah before the busy travel time in China, in order to avoid the costlier travel costs. Sure enough... God listens!
- I needed a quick haircut today, and didn't make an appointment, and walked into a hair salon I've never been in before. A hairdresser I've never met before gave me a free haircut plus $100 cash for our travel expenses. God listens!
- I've been anxious about who to leave the boys with while we're gone, and asking God to work out all of those details. Tracy, Todd's sister, has 2 weeks off in between her internships, which will be the first week we're gone. Our travel dates will work perfect with Tracy's schedule!And then my Mom will be able to come the 2nd week we're gone. God listens!

Pray with us:
- Our remaining $5,000 in travel costs. We will get our final bill this week for travel costs.
- The boys - being away from us for 2 weeks; transitioning once we're home
- Hannah - her heart would be prepared for a family and a home

****If you are interested in giving to our adoption:
Under project category: select "adoption"
Under project: select "Pate, Todd and Kim"
Enter all of your info
You will get a receipt; it is tax deductible