Thanks for all of your adoption questions! I appreciate your patience while I mulled them over and wrote out my thoughts. All together you threw out nearly 30 questions, so I've divided them into parts which I'll spread out over the next week or two.
Here we go.
*What is your story? What led you to adopt from Korea?
When Josh and I were married over 3 years ago, we had big plans of immediately starting our family. As we held hands on our wedding day, little did we know the plans the Lord 's hand had in store for us....
After a year of trying to conceive, we decided to both be checked out by our doctors to see if there were some medical problems that were preventing us from becoming pregnant. It was then we were told that we had fertility issues that would most likely require treatment. Josh and I discussed how much treatment we would be comfortable with and after a while decided not to undergo any intense/involved procedures. It didn't feel right for us.
While being a bit stuck in the "limbo" of infertility for many months, we (mostly me) began researching and reading every adoption book and website I could get my hands on. Adoption had been on our hearts for a long time, but we weren't very knowledgeable of all the different opportunities. After much discussion and prayer and contact with agencies, we realized that our hearts were in South Korea.
Korea actually turned out to be one of a handful of countries that we even qualified to adopt from due to our age (must be at least 25....I am now 25) and length of marriage (at least 3 years....we celebrated 3 years this past summer).
South Korea has the longest running international adoption program and has been known to be very stable. I am extremely impressed with the quality of care both medically and emotionally for the babies. More often than not, the children are being cared for by foster families instead of being in orphanages so the individualized attention is top notch. The medical information we receive will be very detailed and accurate. I also know a number of different families who have adopted children from Korea so I am somewhat familiar with the process.
As you can imagine, the first 3 years of our marriage were filled with every emotion under the sun. We sooooo want to be parents and the 3 years of going through infertility and unanswered questions was the most difficult time in our life by far. Only those who have experienced such heartache can truly understand.
Yet through that storm and all the tears, we clung to God's promises. He strengthened our faith in him and He forgave us for our doubts, for not trusting Him, for not turning to Him in prayer at all times. Josh and I became closer to each other and have learned to appreciate even the little things. Without a doubt, we will be better parents to our child because of our experience. Not one moment taken for granted.
During that difficult time, I prayed for the Lord to bless us with a child in the way He saw fit.....but even more than that I prayed and prayed for Him to give my heart the PEACE it craved. When we were led to adopt from Korea, I can not even explain the emotions I felt. I was blessed with the intense joy that we would become parents to our precious baby AND in that moment I felt a peace and calm and excitement that only He could provide.
*What agency are you using? What were the pluses when choosing an agency?
We are using Lifelink International, which has offices in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Florida. We were limited to the agencies we could use because we had already decided on Korea (not every agency works with every country). I e-mailed and spoke with 2 different agencies, but finally decided on Lifelink because they just felt "right" to us.
Some things to look at when selecting an agency: What are the fees? What countries do they work with? Do we qualify for those countries? Does the agency provide educational opportunities and support? Upon e-mailing or talking with the agencies, do they appear helpful? Knowledgeable? What are their policies if you need to "back out" or "freeze" the adoption process?
No agency is perfect, but I feel every family should choose one that they feel comfortable with.
*Do you have a preference whether you have a son or daughter?
Josh and I will be thrilled with either a boy or a girl!!! Our Social Worker has told us there is about a 99% chance of having a boy, but surprises do happen on occasion. Either way, we will be very happy parents!
*What are you waiting for?
We have completed our homestudy and the necessary paperwork has been approved by the government. We are now making our way up the "list" of families from our agency waiting to be matched with a child. Once we have been matched, the phone call will come from our Social Worker letting us know that we have a baby (aka Referral)! We will receive his/her name, medical info, picture, and other information about our child. We will then complete the referral acceptance paperwork AND wait some more while everything is approved. It will be about 3-6 months after referral before we will be able to travel to Korea to pick up our baby.
*Do they give you an approximate time frame for how long the wait will be?
Every agency is different, but our agency gave us an approximate wait of 12 months from application to referral. We applied to the agency in May 2008. Our Social Worker recently told us that we are within the "top ten" on the list, so she expects we will receive our referral soon.....and "soon" in the adoption world could mean a lot of things! ;-)
*Will you travel to Korea or have your baby escorted home?
YES we will travel!!!!!!! We are thrilled beyond words to have the chance to go to Korea because it will provide incredible opportunities! We will be able to soak up the culture, explore our child's birth country, and meet the wonderful people who work so hard to bring the children and adoptive parents together. We will be face to face with our child's foster mom......the woman who will have cared for and loved our baby......and thank her and ask questions. These moments in Korea will be priceless to us, as we will then be able to tell our child about Korea first hand. I cannot wait to go!!!
*Have you selected a carrier yet?
A few months ago, I had a poll on the blog to help me decide which color Ergo baby carrier we should get. We've decided to get the black one, but have yet to order it.
Ok, friends, I'm going to stop there for today! I don't want to overwhelm you with too much info (plus the question, How are you so fabulous? requires a post in itself) ;-). I'll be back with more Q&As within the next week or so. If you have any more questions feel free to ask via comment or e-mail!
Enjoy your Tuesday!