Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Submitted for EP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally some good news to report on the adoption front! I got an early morning phone call from our agency today to tell me that our paperwork has been submitted to the Korean government for their approval, which is called Emigration Permission (EP). This is a huge step, this is what we have been waiting for for the past 16 months.

We thought we would be submitted last week and when that didn't happen it was very disappointing. I was at that point when you just throw your hands up and say, "okay, God, I can't worry about it anymore." It will happen when it happens. Apparently, small groups are being submitted rather than one huge batch as is usually the case and we just didn't make it into last week's group. For my fellow APs who timeline stalk, our acceptance to Korea (ATK) date was 1/18/2012. But if you are a timeline stalker you seriously need to join the Eastern Facebook group. :)

It's interesting, we were also submitted for Joshua's EP in May. And then we began the long wait through the summer waiting for EP approval which took an unprecedented 13 weeks (at the time). I have no idea how long it will take for Jonah's EP. In addition, to EP there is an additional step now so after EP, our paperwork will be submitted to the Family Court and then we will be given a court date. My best guess at this point for travel is September or October, but really we have no idea. After everything that has happened, I am just praying, "Please God let him come home this year."

We also got some new pictures yesterday. Jonah is getting so tall. He is currently 24 pounds and 34 inches tall. The first three are from March (20 months old), the second three are from April, and the last four are from May (22 months old).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Done in"

This is how we are feeling regarding the adoption process right now, completely done in. John and I are both feeling so very weary of this process, to the point that we don't think we can ever do it again. We are tired of the emotional roller coaster, the uncertainty, the waiting, the lack of forward movement (for anyone, not just us). I am tired of the constant search for any shred of information that might shed light on why this process has come to a halt and when it might start moving again. And most of all I am tired of watching our son grow up in pictures, and yet I am can't stop checking my email for new pictures. Jonah turned 22 months old yesterday. With almost one hundred percent certainty we can now say that we will miss his second birthday, something I could not have even fathomed at the beginning of this year.  We have been waiting almost 16 months to bring him home. By comparison, we waited 11 months after referral acceptance for Joshua.

Since my last post, the emotional roller coaster has continued. At the end of March, we found out that Jonah's birth mom was contacted to confirm relinquishment. I wrote about this here. This news was definitely bittersweet. We felt relief that we would be able to move forward with his adoption, but also great sadness because I would never wish or pray for a child to lose their mother. We heard from other adoptive families that a court official was present during the interview to ensure that relinquishment was really what she wanted and that there was no coercion. We were also asked to provide more paperwork at this time and were told we would be submitted for Emigration Permission (EP) soon. The month of April came and went with no EP news and no Family Court approvals. There were several families that were given April court dates, but they were canceled after the court decided we didn't need to appear in court.

Near the end of April, the courts changed their minds and summoned several families to appear in court at the end of May. But there was still no word on EP submission for us. Then on May 1st, we heard that the EP quota for 2013 had finally been released and we were told once again that we would be submitted for EP "soon," supposedly at the beginning of this month. All week I have been hoping to hear the news that our paperwork has been submitted, but it has not come.

In the meantime, the Family Court in Korea has decided that all families, both husband and wife, must appear in court. So we are right back where we started at the beginning of March. We are happy to appear in court and answer any questions; we just want this process to move forward. While we do still have concerns about how this is going to work out and the unexpected financial costs, the greatest stressor has been been removed because unlike before when both parents would be required to stay in country for 3-4 weeks, it appears that 2 shorter trips will be now be allowed or one parent could leave after the court appearance and the other stay. We do still have concerns about bringing Joshua back, but with the delays he will have been home for about 2 years before we bring Jonah home so I think he will be more ready to go back to Korea for a visit. Logistically, we still don't know how this is all going to work out. The first families (waiting since December 2011) now have court dates ranging from the end of May through mid-June. Hopefully, we will learn more once these families go through the process.

Yes, I know Jonah will be worth the wait. Yes, I know God's timing is perfect, but it doesn't make this process less difficult. It has taken a toll on me emotionally and physically. I have gained weight. I have been overwhelmed and at times even a little depressed. I feel like I haven't been there for some of my friends who are also going through struggles. I feel like I have been a terrible friend, aunt, sister, daughter, terrible in pretty much any other role I have other than my immediate roles as wife and mom.

As always, prayers are so appreciated, for the process, for Jonah, and for us.