The nice thing about pregnancy is you know there is an end in sight; I knew my doctor would never let me go past 42 weeks. I just needed to wait for my body (either on its own or with a little help) to do its thing. I could take comfort knowing that it was in my child’s best interest to stay in there the full 40 weeks and that I was meeting every one of his/her needs in the meantime.
The adoption timeline, however, is wide open and dependent on two governments, three agencies, and more social workers, translators, and coordinators than I can count. Our agency estimates the adoption timeline for South Korea to be about 2-3 years. When we entered into the program, the estimated wait from match (seeing a photo of your child for the first time) to custody (child in your arms) is 11-14 months.
During the “paper-pregnancy,” every day that passes feels like another day missed out on as a family. Comfort only comes in the form of sporadic updates about your child and pure grace from God. Trust me, Jesus is in the wait.
I’ve outlined our adoption timeline in two different formats below, first is the “quick and dirty” milestone dates from application and below that is slightly more details with what was going on during that particular month from the very beginning.
August 6, 2018: Applied online to the Korean program with our agency
August 7, 2018: Accepted into the Korean program
August 29, 2018: James’ physical
August 30, 2018: Emily’s physical
September 4, 2018: Emily’s psychological evaluation
September 11, 2018: James’ psychological evaluation
October 20, 2018: Completed all required online adoption training
October 23, 2018: Home study visit #1
November 1, 2018: Home study visit #2
February 21, 2018: Home study approved
March 8, 2018: Applied for I-600A
March 13, 2018: Home study sent to Korea
March 26, 2018: Request/ receive file of a waiting child
March 28, 2018: Said “yes” to proceeding with adoption of the waiting child
March 29, 2018: USICS Biometrics appointment
April 3, 2018: Received “the call” we are officially matched
April 20, 2018: I-600A approval / Acceptance sent to Korea (ATK)
May 11, 2018: Dossier is sent to Korea (DTK)
October 31, 2018: EP Submission
November 15, 2018: Applied for I-600
November 27, 2018: Notice of I-600 Transfer
December 10, 2018: EP Approval
December 21, 2018: Court Submission
January 24, 2019: Notified of Court Date
February 9, 2019: Flight to DFW – ICN
February 11, 2019: First Meeting at Agency
February 13, 2019: Second Meeting at Agency
February 14, 2019: Court Hearing
February 18, 2019: Third Meeting at Agency
February 27, 2019: Fourth Meeting at Foster Families Home
February 28, 2019: Provisional Approval
March 6, 2019: Fifth Meeting at Agency
March 13, 2019: Sixth Meeting at Kid’s Cafe
March 21, 2019: Custody
March 26, 2019: Visa Appointment
March 28, 2019: Flight from ICN – DFW
Detailed Adoption Timeline
October 2015 – Our previous church home announces our new church mission: “Reaching spiritually disconnected people with the gospel, equipping them to lead their family, and defending those in need.”
November 2015 – Pastor Doug preaches about ‘Defending Those in Need’ and shares his testimony of adoption (he was adopted domestically as an infant). James and I have a conversation about adoption after church.
December 2015 – Ian is born. We are both 100% at peace knowing we will not have any more biological children. We continue to discuss adoption for the next few months.
May 2016 – We talk to our first potential agency. After a series of conversations, we are greatly disheartened by this agency and their approach. We decide this is not the agency for us and take a step back from the process altogether.
June 2016 – We suddenly decide to sell our home and move to the country. We trust where God is [physically] leading us, but continue to wonder if adoption is a part of that plan.
During the next year, life happens. Isabella starts a brand new school. Sophia starts pre-school. We [finally] discover Ian has a dairy sensitivity. We work to make our new-old-house a home. We celebrate an anniversary and birthdays and holidays. James’ mother passes away suddenly. I have a major surgery. We continue to talk often about adoption; but never feel peace about committing to the call or closing the door. Life becomes messy and growing our family gets put on hold.
June 2017 – We revisit the conversation and both agree to wait until the new year to make any decisions. We also find a new church home.
July 2017 – I can’t shake the feeling that our family is not complete and God is
asking telling me to move NOW. I obsess over adoption blogs and bookmark potential agencies. James and I watch “The Drop Box” on Netflix. Halfway through, James says we need to change the conversation from “if” to “how”.
August 2017 – I experience a “God wink” at the airport and feel at peace about our decision to move forward pursing international adoption. We officially submit our application to adopt from South Korea. We begin the paper chase and complete our physicals.
September 2017 – We complete our psychological evaluations and send all our completed documents to our local agency for the home study.
October 2017 – We complete all of our online training requirements. We have our first visit with our social worker for the home study.
November 2017 – We have our second visit with our social worker.
February 2018 – We are officially home study approved.
March 2018 – Our file has been sent to Korea, we are officially a waiting family!
April 2018 – We are matched with a waiting child: a one-year-old boy. He is precious and we are thrilled that the boys will be close in age. We completed our acceptance paperwork and finalize our dossier.
May 2018 – Our dossier has been sent to Korea where it will be translated and sent to various departments.
October 2018 – We received EP (Emigration Permit/ Exit Permit) Submission on Halloween.
December 2018 – We received EP Approval and are submitted to the family court in Korea.
January 2019 – We are notified of our court date and can finally start planning travel.
February 2019 – We meet Eli and have our court date. The court hearing took less than 5 minutes and our hour with Eli felt just as long.
March 2019 – We have extra meetings with Eli because we are able to stay one trip. We also take custody early and fly home!