Shelley, a sweet bloggy friend that I have met through the blessing of adoption, recieved her referral of a beautiful baby girl yesterday! HUGE CONGRATS TO HER AND HER FAMILY! We have waited together since last fall and have supported each other through the tough times of waiting. We are also through the same agency. She is SO supportive of everyone and gives to others continually. Pop on over to her blog and take a gander and her beautiful daughter, she's a REAL cutie! I hope the wait to bring her home is VERY short!
We sent out a letter at the beginning of January to friends and family, explaining our exciting journey toward adoption. Since then, I have had a few inquire about the details. And, really, that's kind of why I started this blog, to inform our friends and family and whoever else that happened upon it (the blog). So today, I want to do a post entirely on the details of why, how and how old, which seem to be the ones asked most recently.
Why Korea? I may have touched on this already, but Korea kind of chose us. We first looked into China, but I wasn't 30 years old yet and we really didn't want to wait to apply. Then wait for another 3-4 years to bring her home. Plus the qualifications were ALOT harder. So we began researching other Asian countries and even Africa. The age requirement (less than 30 years) really helped us narrow countries down. South Korea really popped out at us. It was the oldest and most solid program (it began in the mid-1950's) which really comforted us. The babies were cared for in Foster homes, instead of orphanages, and were typically younger in age than most other countries that we looked into. I then found AAC in our Yellow pages (a miracle, I believe) and the rest is history! They are based in Berthoud (Denver area) and have two Social Workers here on the Western Slope to do homestudies and Training. Perfect. Looking back, I truly believe God has His Hands on the WHOLE thing! We absolutely LOVE our agency and I am SO thankful to be a part of it all.
Why not Domestic (inside the US) Adoption?
Chad and I discussed Domestic for about three minutes, and mutually decided it really wasn't for us. We have since discussed it, and have remained confident in our decision. Mainly, having just lost our baby, the probability of having a birthmother change her mind didn't appeal to us. We wanted something more concrete. Don't get me wrong, things go wrong in International Adoption - governmental changes, countries closing, more restrictions - but overall the South Korean Program has been around for a long time, and we found it very appealing. Same conclusion with Foster Care/Foster-to-adopt. Didn't feel like it was the path we were to take at this particular time.
How old will she be when you get her? Remember those regulations I mentioned in the previous question? Well South Korea used to adopt their babies out at birth, and were usually united with their forever families at about 4-5 months of age. Beginning in 2007, that changed, and South Korea started a new initiative of Domestic Adoption. So now, our little girl will be matched with us when she is about five months old. S. Korea gives the children a chance to be adopted within their birth country first, then internationally.
Once we become #1, our agency gets a packet from Korea, with all of our little ones medical info., pictures, and such, and gives us A CALL (I get butterflies just writing this). They say "we have a little girl for you to look at," followed by me screeeeaaaming to the top of my lungs and crying uncontrollably (that's how I envision it, anyway). AAC then sends us her information via email and we fall madly in love. We typically have 24-48 hours to accept our referral. During this time, we give her file to an IAP (international adoption physician) to review and tell us what he thinks, and a brief medical history explained in layman's terms. The babies are usually very healthy.
We then give our agency a call back and say "she's ours, we accept!" After that all of our information (homestudy) is sent to Korea and then 1-4 weeks later our "Legals" arrive. Which is just the legal paperwork stating that we intend to adopt this little girl. After that, there is a series of (MANY) steps to get her home. We will deal with those, and I'm sure will have another LONG post (like this one) stating that process, after we get our referral. Typically, the timelines from referral to travel (bringing her home) average around 4 months. Some are longer, some are quicker. Depends on the paperwork and how quickly it gets done, both in Korea and here in the US.
So a VERY long answer to a VERY short question is 8-9 months, ideally. Some are closer to a year. It really varies.
What is her name? We have a very beautiful name already picked out, but I will announce it once we announce her. Her middle name will be the name she was given at birth, her Korean name. Some babies are named by their birthmother and others are named by their Social Worker in Korea. Either way, we want to keep it.
She'll be American, so why would you include her culture? She was born in Korea, and so her culture will be a huge part of who she is as a person. Yes, she will reside in the United States, but a part of her heart will always be in Korea. Her birthparents are there, her Foster parents that raised her for the first 8-9 months of her life, are in Korea. The sounds, smells, language will all be a part of her - forever. She may not retain alot of it, but she will always connect to Korea in a very special way. That is why we are really praying about going to Korea to get her. We will be able to bring things back, tell her of the wonderful counrty Korea is, and to meet her Foster Parents. All priceless.
Ok, those were the ones that I felt led to touch on. I'm sure there will be more, and I welcome any questions anyone may have.
Our Social Worker called yesterday and our Homestudy is officially typed up and completed. I know I posted that it was already done, which it was, but it needed to be typed up sent to AAC for revisions and then reviewed by us. So we will meet with her next week and then I believe it's off to the State to be approved. We're getting CLOSER! I am going to call AAC next week and see if there is anything we need to be doing and make sure that we are "paper ready." I've done everything on my checklist and now we just . . . wait.
I'm feeling that we will see our little girl's face sometime in July. There were three referral's each in March and April. So if we have three in May and three in June, that puts us at #2 in July! As we have found out with our Homestudy, it's all in His Timing.
Today is the last day of school for Kaleb and I. Wahoooo! We start pretty early in the fall so we can have an early summer. Next year, I will have a 3rd Grader and a Kindergartener plus a 8-9 month old to entertain! I can't wait! It will be very different schooling two and having a little one. But I wouldn't have it any other way. It won't be easy, but in the end I believe that this is what is best for our family. I LOVE having them home and being able to give them a solid foundation. I have scheduled a month-long break from school, next year, once baby sister comes home. It will give us some adjustment time and getting a schedule in place. I hope. It will be interesting, to say the least! Relying on His power, and I'm sure He will get me through!
I was brousing the Holt BB this morning and found this video. I was feeling discouraged this past weekend because I don't feel like we will get our little girl home before Christmas. I was really hoping we could. This video put everything into perspective. Plus, the time we wait is very minimal compared to the time - lifetime - we get to spend with her. Enjoy.
"LORD GOD, I desire that these things will be remembered before you: my work produced by faith, my labor prompted by love, and my endurance inspired by hope in my Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:3
I am just a sheep, trying to follow the voice of my Shepherd, Jesus. I feel my purpose in this life is to educate my children in the strong foundation of Jesus Christ, and to help those that are fatherless. Adoption, homeschooling, cloth diapering, are just some of the things that I love to talk about.
My husband of eleven years and I have four blessings: two "homegrown" boys and two daughters that were born in South Korea. Joye came home in June of 2010 and we felt led to add another little girl to our family. Judaya should be home in summer of 2012. Life is exciting and always filled with joy.
K is our oldest. He loves baseball, camping and his little sister. He has a heart for Jesus and we see him live that out regularly.
Abe is our little engineer. He thrives on abstract thinking and creativity is his passion. We are amazed at what his little mind comes up with on a daily basis.
Joye SeoYeon (2)
Joye was born in South Korea and we brought her home June 16th 2010. She is our spicy, typical two-year old. Adopting her has been the most difficultly rewarding experience of our lives. She loves her daddy and mimicking everything I do.
Judaya - in Korea - our fourth child.
As per our agency, pictures of our newest addition aren't allowed to be shared. She will turn one in July, and will probably be home before her 2nd birthday. We pray for her daily and can't wait for her to join us and fill us with MORE joy!
Judaya's Adoption Timeline:
November 2010: On the list again!
1/24/11: Verbal Acceptance
2/15/11: Mailed off Lifesong application.
2/21/11: HS Update meeting with Social Worker.
2/22/11: Heard from Lifesong. Trying to expedite application because they know we are in an hurry. YAY!
3/1/11: Lifesong gives us a covenant loan and a matching grant!! Praise Jesus!
3/9/11: Another grant for $2000! Unexpected but totally God!
5/6/11: Heard the news that EP's are filled for this year. Looking at bringing Judaya home summer of 2012.
6/23/11: ATK: Acceptance To Korea.
7/1/2011: Judaya turns ONE!
Joye's Adoption Timeline
8/4: Sent in our Formal Application
8/12: Officially an AAC Family
8/14: #25 on the Girls List!
10/1: SW called, start HS in Nov.
11/10: Boys' and I had Health Eval.
12/1: #18 on list.
12/7: 1st HS Meeting - Home Visit
12/13: 2nd HS Meeting
12/17: C's Medical Eval.
3/4: Individual Interview's for H.S.
4/1: Lucky #10!
5/2: Our precious Joye is born!!!
9/21: #3!!!! Finally moving again!
11/2: Officially Accepted - Baby Joye is 6 months old!
11/3: Recieved Acceptance Packet from AAC
11/4: Signed and Notarized Acceptance Packet and overnighted BACK to AAC
11/10: Sent First Care Package to AAC for baby sister
11/12: Care package arrives at AAC - ready to ship to Korea
12/5: Recieved updated pictures of our girl and a video.
12/7: State Approval (YAY!)
12/14: Rec'd Legals in the mail.
12/23: Recieved I-797C
1/7: More pictures!
1/13: Fingerprint Letter!!
1/14: Fingerprints Done.
2/16: I600 Approved! YAY!
2/20: Received I-171H in the mail.
2/22: NVC in!
2/25: NVC out!
2/26: P3 out!
4/16: Signed Class B
5/6: Notified that we were submitted for EP
5/24: P3 Returned and EA
5/25: Visa Interview
6/1: TRAVEL CALL!!!
6/9: Leave for Seoul!!
6/15: "Forever Day" The day we received Joye forever.
6/16: Home from Korea.
6/17: Family Day. The day the boys met baby sister and we became a Family of 5.
There was a man who was walking along a sandy beach where thousands of starfish had been washed up on the shore. As he looked down the beach he noticed a boy picking the starfish one by one and throwing them back into into the ocean. He got closer and called out "Good morning! What are you doing?" The boy paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing strfish in the ocean. If I don't throw them back in they will die." The man said, "Don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You can't possibly make a difference." The boy listened politely. Then he bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. He looked at the man and said, "It made a difference for that one." ~ from: For His Glory Outreach Website
"My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place - police, firefighters and members of our armed forces."- Sidney Sheldon