Here we are. Almost 2 years after starting this adoption process. So much closer to bringing home our little guy, and yet it still feels so unbelievably far away. This process is like no other journey I’ve ever been on. The emotional highs are SO high, and yet the lowest of times are sometimes unbearably low. I have felt so much joy during these last 2 years, but I’ve also cried a lot of tears. So. Many. Tears. I’ve gotten angry at the system, at God, at people. And it all pretty much comes back to one common theme of why: TIME.
My timeline for this journey looks nothing like what it is in reality. In my totally made up fantasies, we breeze through a few months of waiting and poof! Everything is great, we have our son, it’s all good. But, much to my impatient little heart’s discontent, this is not at all what international adoption looks like. Not even in the least.
We get the questions most often: so what’s taking so long? Why can’t they just give him to you already? How much longer?
Let me just be really real here. If you know a family in the waiting portion of an adoption, please, PLEASE find some other things to ask as well. I know people are so excited for the child to come home and they just are being genuine and loving in asking, but for an adoptive parent, these questions are like knives to the heart. I think about those questions hourly. Time is all that seems to be on my mind lately. I don’t need another reminder. Questions like: how can we pray for you? Are y’all getting the room and everything prepared yet? How can we help you once he’s here? THOSE are the questions adoptive parents want and need to hear. And let me share why.
Here’s a little snapshot of the process in a very tight nutshell:
1) pre-application process to find out if you’re even qualified to adopt and if so, from what countries. That’s right. There were MANY countries that I was disqualified from because of my age, how long we’ve been married, the fact that we have white, biological children in our home. Every country has different rules and they do not bend them.
2) choose your country. We took into account travel requirements, age of the child that we were seeking to adopt, how long an adoption takes from said country. Ultimately through careful consideration and prayer, we chose Korea.
3) start raising finances to fund your adoption. An adoption from Korea is about 40,000 dollars and most people don’t just have that money laying around. It takes time.
4) home study! Now this is one bullet point, but within this one thing is many other sub points. Background checks (both federal and state), medical exams for our whole family, vaccination records for our dog, home visits, 5 references, psychological evaluations, tax records, financial statements, birth certificates, marriage license, etc etc. Finishing a home study feels like completing an ultra marathon. It’s just so much stuff.
5) home study gets approved. Home study approval is a huge step because it means that you’re officially eligible for a child match. Now being eligible certainly does not mean you’re getting matched right away. No, no. That takes another several months. Meanwhile, you’re dealing with immigration here in the US making sure you have everything ready to go for when you get matched.
6) MATCH DAY! Basically one of THE most amazing days in the adoption process. Getting to see YOUR child for the first time, the feeling is unlike any other. It’s truly so special.
7) accept match and file more immigration paperwork. Yes more paperwork. There’s always more.
8) submit dossier. This is everything that was in the home study and then some. It’s what gets submitted to the courts and embassy that shows them that we are capable of raising this child. In Korea, once your dossier is sent, you must wait another 4-6 months for it to be translated and officially submitted (this is where we are currently at in the process!!).
9) Dossier is approved and court date is set. Once the dossier is submitted, it takes about 2-3 months for it to be approved, then we’ll be set up for our first court date, which means we will also schedule our first travel to Korea!
10) Travel for court and embassy interviews. Our first travel will be both John and I and we will have to be in Korea for about 10 days. During this time, we will appear in court, have interviews and at Korean Embassy, and most importantly MEET MAVERICK 💙💙💙
11) Come home and wait. We will come home for about 4-6 weeks before my mom and I will travel back to get Maverick and bring him home.
I hope this sheds some light on that dreaded question: what’s taking so long?? My goal here really is just to show everyone who hasn’t been through an international adoption exactly what goes on. It’s a crazy list of stuff, and this is definitely the cheat sheet version, but I hope in some way it helps people to understand where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going in all of this. It’s definitely not a process for the faint of heart, but gosh is it going to be so worth it.