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.
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.
Sisters - a few photos of my girls
2 weeks ago