Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You Asked, I Answered ~ Part 1

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.

Every step puts us closer to 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!!!

Seoul, South Korea

*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!

22 comments:

  1. I can totally relate to the level of peace you felt when you decided to adopt after IF treatment. It was SO clear then and even more clear today. We were always meant to be here, we just didn't know it before.
    I'm so glad you'll be traveling! We could be there at the same time, or least we could help each other out with packages :)

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  2. Thanks so much for your post! I look forward to reading/learning more! Have a great week!

    ~Melissa*Elswick (from South Florida)

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  3. I am just amazed how similar our journeys have been! You have been such an encouragement to me over the last few months. I am so excited to hear that you are getting close - I think I am going to cry such tears of joy for you when your referral comes :) The time is coming, my friend!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your story w/us. I'm looking forward to hearing the answers to the other questions.

    We too got married young (23) & started trying to have a family shortly after & we too faced infertility before adopting. As you said, it is a struggle, but it is also a blessing. I truly believe what we went through made me a better wife & mother.

    Adopting is an amazing journey, thanks for sharing yours w/us!

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  5. I love learning more about you like this. Your answers are so inspiring. You've got great perspective. I SO look forward to following along. It's so exciting!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story and answering questions... you are brave!

    Hmmm... top ten on the list. I know that there are at least 4 girl families right at the top... if that is top 10 of the master list you could only 5 or less boy referrals to sit through! (The mind of a waiting Mama for you!)

    I'm looking forward to hearing more about your adoption journey soon.

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  7. what a great post. i learned so much about you & Josh. i know it's not easy to talk about infertility and can be uncomfortable. while i don't know your challenge at all...in the future would you ever consider trying eastern medicine to help your infertility? I guess another question for yoru list. if you are unsure of what i mean i can give you more over email at some point.

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  8. i am so glad you shared all this! i have a hard time opening up and sharing about our infertility, so thank you for taking the time to do this. it makes me feel more normal :).
    and about the peace - totally can relate! we woke up one day in may 2007 (the 5th i think :) ) and it just felt right to start the adoption process. that's the best i can explain it! can't wait until your and jojo's phone calls!!!

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  9. Rachel- You did a awesome job explaining your story and your emotions. I know that was not easy!! Continue to pray for you both!!!
    Hugs !:)

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  10. Girl, I am just amazed by you and Josh. I know God has such a special plan for your lives, and that includes that sweet baby from Korea! I loved reading about your journey, and how you chose Korea. Beautiful.

    I had been wondering if you were going to get to travel to Korea, and so I am so excited that you get to. Wow. I can't wait to go along on the rest of this journey with you. Love you, my bloggy sister!

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  11. I am in Korea right now, bringing home my son tomorrow - and the Ergo has been a lifesaver - you made the right choice!
    Wishing you a speedy referral. If your agency uses SWS let me know - I have a little list of tips that I will be sending to a few families I know that will help out at the Guest House and places to eat within the area.

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  12. Yea!! Thank you for answering these questions! =)

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  13. Thanks for sharing. My husband and I are very interested in adopting in a couple years. We have 2 girls but just feel like we want to adopt a child too. Reading your thoughts about this process is helpful. I can't wait to find out the rest of your story as you build your family.

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  14. Rachel,
    I am SO glad you did this post! you did an amazing job of informing us all and being very authentic about the emotions you have felt along this journey! Thank you so much for opening up. I get more thrilled for you as I get to know you better. :)

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  15. That was wonderful. What a beautiful testimony to our Lord. How much more wonderful will it be when you hold your little angel in your arms.

    WONDERFUL...

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  16. I'm so loving this already! I am sure it's fun and a nice release to talk about it too!

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  17. Rachel,

    Like many others, my story closely resembles yours (right down to the black ERGO baby carrier.....so worth every penny)!

    I was especially moved by your comment that your peace was automatic once you made the decision to adopt. We often tell people the same thing, but it is such a hard feeling to describe to those who have not actually felt it. Infertility just causes an odd cloud of anxiety to permeate everything about life, and it was a very powerful feeling to go from that bad feeling to a deep sense of peace in the blink of an eye (and the swipe of a pen).

    God knows better than we do how families should be formed. The peace in that knowledge not only helped me get through the arduous adoption wait, but it erased so much of the hurt and bitterness I had developed after 3 years of infertility. I look back now on my infertility as a blessing, not a punishment. It humbled me, made me stronger, and as my husband and I often joke to friends, gave us the child that was meant to be ours because he is much cooler than anything we could have "made" ourselves. :)

    Your blog posts are lovely and I really enjoy reading them. All the best, and I have added you to my personal prayer list for a speedy referral.

    - Cori Mohr from the Lifelink Waiters group

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  18. Rachel,

    This was a great post...so helpful in giving up the background and "big picture" to your story. I feel even closer to you now and can't wait to hear the rest!

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  19. I loved reading this! I can't wait for the Lord to bless us with our little ones!

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  20. I loved this post! So nice to get to know you more and have specific things to pray about.

    Blessings, Carolynn

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  21. What a beautiful post! We currently live in China and are adopting from China. We've been logged in for 14 months and should expect about an 8 month wait. I found your blog through Kelly's Korner. I'm so glad I did.

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