One month ago yesterday I requested an update on Joshua from our adoption agency. They said they would request one from Eastern. I have been checking my email every day hoping it would be there, but unfortunately there has been nothing. I followed up yesterday and all I heard back from them was that there was no update yet. It has been agonizing. I was hoping we would receive one after he turned 6 months old, but nothing came. He turned 7 months old. Still nothing. I feel like a dog begging for even a scrap of information about our son. In a way I wish I hadn't even asked for the update. Maybe it would have been better to just not think about it. Every morning I stand in front of our refrigerator looking at his picture, running my fingers along his face, and praying for God to watch over him. I want so badly to hear how he is doing. I want so badly to see an updated picture of him.
I am asking for your prayers for us to receive an update on Joshua soon.
I have heard a well intentioned comment about how our wait is just like "waiting" to meet your child when you are pregnant. Except it is not at all. When you are pregnant you are experiencing every moment with your child from conception until you bring them into the world. Your child is not already living while you miss their first smile, their first time rolling over, their first time sitting up, their first bite of food, their first word, their first time crawling, their first time standing up, and their first steps. We will miss every one of these moments with Joshua. So no, it is not at all like the nine month wait to meet your child when you are pregnant. Don't worry if you have said this, I promise you are not the only one, and I understand the sentiment behind the statement.
There was one bit of good news yesterday - we received our I600A approval! I was actually praying about it that very morning and on my way home from work, I asked the Lord for something, anything, to help me know we are moving forward. And then our approval letter was there in the mail. Thank you Lord! This is the visa approval that allows Joshua to come to the U.S. Basically, all processing with the U.S. government is now complete.
Yesterday, I was asked what was the next step as far as bringing Joshua home. Now that we have received our I600 approval, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). They will process the visa and send it to the U.S. Embassy in Korea. There is something else I have seen called P3 (not sure what this means, but I think it happens fairly quickly). Then we wait. We have to wait for Joshua's exit permit to be submitted and granted, then his visa will be issued. This is where the delay happened (the one I wrote about in April) due to the emigration permission quota. South Korea issues a certain number of emigration permissions each year which they divide up among the 4 adoption agencies in Korea. The agency our U.S. agency is affiliated with used up all their EPs and now every one whose referral acceptance paperwork went to Korea after April 1st has to wait until the 2011 EPs are issued to travel. They will begin processing them in the order the referral paperwork arrived in Korea. Since there are many families waiting ahead of us, Joshua most likely won't receive exit permission until July, which means we won't travel until at least August. This is my best guess at this point (hopefully it is a conservative one).
Thank you for your prayers!