This past Tuesday we received some very difficult adoption news. The first and more difficult part involves Jonah's legal relinquishment. A new law went into effect in Korea this past August that requires a seven day waiting period after birth before relinquishment papers can be signed. I completely support this, and in fact think an even longer time period for international adoption would be appropriate. Jonah was relinquished prior to this law, but the judges in Korea have decided that all adoptions will be held to the standard of the new law. Therefore, Jonah's birth mom will be contacted to relinquish her parental rights again.
This news has been devastating. I understand why it is necessary given that there was no waiting period after relinquishment under the old law. I am one hundred percent supportive of children remaining with their first parents and I really don't want Jonah's mom to experience the loss of her child. My heart aches at the thought. I have shed many tears thinking about her and Joshua's first mom. But on the other hand, I am so scared of losing the child that I have dreamed of for over a year now. We have loved him, prayed for him, watched him grow up in pictures, checked our email repeatedly after we know he has been in for his monthly check-up, eaten dinner with his picture, told Joshua all about him, and celebrated his first birthday. It is hard to imagine our family without him in it. Losing him would be worse than my miscarriage. Yet we never really had him; he isn't ours in any legal sense. We have no right to him. I get that, I really do. It is just hard to hope and believe he will come home now. Already, I know of two families who have lost the children they thought would be part of their families after their birth moms were contacted. It is unclear as to exactly when in the process birth moms will be contacted. I am praying it is as soon as possible.
The second part is that both John and I will have to appear in court in Korea. This blog post from MPAK sheds more light on all this http://mpakusa.blogspot.com/2013/02/korea-update-issue-on-travel.html#comment-form.We were initially told that the family court step would be reviewing our case to make sure that the relinquishment was legal, but now it appears that they will also be checking to make sure that we are suitable parents. There is talk that instead of the three business that are currently required, we may be required to stay for three to four weeks in Korea. The unexpected financial impact of this is huge as Seoul is a very expensive city. After we appear in court and assuming we receive approval, there is a 14 day waiting period in which an appeal could be made. After that the judges ruling would become final. However, it is being reported that Jonah's birth mom would be allowed to step forward to reclaim him during this 14 day waiting period. Honestly, I can't even fathom this. The first families to go to court aren't scheduled to go until April. At this point I couldn't even guess when we will be submitted for EP, and then after approval, go to court. It is now a very real possibility that Jonah will turn two in Korea.
In many ways we are in a better position then most if the travel would be three weeks because the military gives a very generous 21 days for the purpose of adoption. However, it would be very difficult for it to extend beyond that. Plus, John would have zero time to be at home bonding with Jonah.
The other challenge is that Joshua has only been home for 18 months and is not ready to be left overnight with anyone, especially for such an extended amount of time. Doing so would seriously jeopardize the attachment we have worked very hard to build. We would have no choice but to take him to Korea with us, but we are unsure if he is emotionally ready for that either. And having a three year old in Korea for a month - yikes! We had planned on me traveling and John staying home with Joshua.
I have been feeling completely discouraged, but I received great encouragement today from my mom to press on and believe that Jonah is coming home. We desperately need your prayers over this situation.