Thank you all so much for your prayers and support after my last post. John and I completed the preference list for our next military assignment and got it turned in to his senior officer. We feel pretty comfortable with our choices given the 13 potential options, many of which are considered undesirable locations.
We based our decision largely on the following:
- The presence of an adoption agency that had an already established partnership agreement with our agency
- The presence of an adoption agency with a Korea program (we want to be around other families who have or are adopting from Korea)
- Presence of an Asian American (and preferably Korean) community, as a minimum Korean churches, restaurants, and grocery stores (we really, really don't want our son to be or feel like he is the only Korean person around)
I realize there are some who won't understand or agree with our reasoning, but I feel the decision to adopt transracially/transculturally comes with responsibility. As far as it is in our control and to the best of our ability, we want to ensure our son is around other Korean adoptees and other Korean Americans. As is the case this time, we may not have the option of living in an area like the DC metro area, Los Angeles, New York, or New Jersey which all have large Korean communities, but we will do the best we can. This also means we can't select places based only on their closeness to family.
There are many assignments in the military where none of the above three requirements would be met and so we are trying to avoid those places. Basically, that meant we chose metropolitan areas.
So here is how we ranked the potential choices we were given:
1. Davis Monthan AFB - Tuscon, AZ
2. Luke AFB - Phoenix, AZ
3. Randolph AFB - Universal City, TX (just outside of San Antonio)
4. Lackland AFB - San Antonio, TX
5. Tinker AFB - Oklahoma City, OK (believe it or not it actually has the highest percentage of the population that are Asian of almost all these choices, but it doesn't have an agency that is partnered with ours, and it has tornadoes, so it is #5 )
6. Sheppard AFB - Wichita Falls, TX
7. Goodfellow AFB - San Angelo, TX
8. Scott AFB - near Belleville, IL
9. Keesler AFB - Biloxi, MS
10. Barksdale AFB - Shreveport, LA (sorry to my Louisiana friends, it is nothing against Louisiana, it just didn't meet the above requirements)
11. FE Warren - Cheyenne, Wyoming
12. Kirtland AFB - Albuquerque, NM
13. Cannon AFB - Clovis, NM
I had the opportunity to visit Phoenix for work last August. The dry heat is my friend - my hair looked better than it ever has all week long, even after walking around outside in the heat. So maybe 2-4 years of good hair days are in my future.
Okay, so we didn't choose Arizona based on the potential for my hair to look good, though with hair as baby fine as mine is, it sure is a bonus. Arizona was the only place that had an agency with a Korea program that was already a partner agency with our agency, and so it went to the top of the list.
Christy, it made me so happy to read your comment on my last post that there is a chance you might also be moving to Arizona! One of the things that will be most difficult for me about moving is that I have begun to meet other families adopting from Korea here in the DC area. I really want Joshua to have "Seoul brothers" to have play dates with and to have a support network of other adoptive parents wherever we end up.
Overall, I am feeling better about the move and the timing of everything. Deep down I think I have been fearing the whole adoption would fall apart because of it. I called our adoption agency to talk about our upcoming move which did a lot to allay my fears. She recommended we try not to go to a couple of states if we could help it (one of which wasn't even a possibility), but overall she said our move wasn't going to be a problem. I was mainly concerned about having to update our home study once we got to the new state and what would happen if we got our travel call before we could get it updated. She said it wouldn't be a problem as long as our home study from Maryland wasn't due to expire (which it won't be since we are in the process of renewing it now). I told her everyone had been telling us that we were going to get our travel call in May right when we are trying to move. She laughed and said, "That isn't going to happen," meaning there was no way we would be traveling by then given the fact that our paperwork didn't go to Korea until October 5th. She said she didn't think we would travel until August or maybe even September, which would be the full "up to 11 months" that we have been told our wait would be.
At least we should have plenty of time to update our home study and set up Joshua's room at our new house ;-)