We've Been Matched! What's Next?
Over the last couple of months, we’ve been able to finish financing the country fees, with the huge help of all of you who donated to our matching grant or other fundraisers. And now we have been matched with a little boy! We are very excited to get him home! Here are a few things we can share with you about him.
- He is currently about 17 months old. (He is 17 months younger than Pippa, who is 17 months younger than Autumn!)
- We have given him the name Emry.
- His middle name will be his Korean name.
- He does not have any current diagnosed special needs. He has gone through loss and trauma like every child who loses something so interwoven in their life. Also, what we can see on paper is never complete enough to know everything, so there will always be things we don’t know and can’t anticipate (just like with our biological children).
- You can see he is standing on a play slide in his picture. He seems to be adventurous and curious from the video we have seen, and he has the sweetest smile!
- He is with a foster family in Korea right now, and we can send him care packages so he can see our pictures and get to know us!
When will he come home?
Each of the steps in the process takes a varied amount of time, so we really don’t know when we travel, but our best guess is that we will be traveling sometime between July and December. (I know, huge time frame, right?) The further along we get in the steps, the better idea we will have about the rest of the timeline.
Essentially, there are two paperwork steps that have to happen, and then we take two trips to Korea. Here’s a little process outline:
Emigration Submission and Approval
The Ministry of Health and Welfare in Korea requests files from the adoption agencies to review and approve emigration. They request these files in batches, often months apart, and the timeline is unpredictable. I am expecting another batch to be submitted sometime in the next 6 weeks based on previous years, however, families often have to wait multiple submissions before being next in line, so we have expect the worst and pray for the best. After we are submitted, it takes about 2-3 months to be approved.
Court Submission and Approval
After the MOHW approves emigration, our files are usually submitted to the Korean courts within a week. From there, it takes about 1-2 months to get approved and notified of a court date, which is typically scheduled about 4-6 weeks out from there.
First Trip to Korea
We must appear in court on the day of the hearing, so we take our first trip to Korea at that time. We also are able to meet our son – maybe even on a few different occasions! Most people go home after the hearing to wait for notification of custody and visa date, which takes about 6 weeks. Some people have chosen to stay the whole time, though, if their work and schedule allow it.
Second Trip to Korea
After the final approval is given, we are given a few options for visa dates and make a second trip to Korea to appear for that. We take custody and get to travel home! Many people like to see a few things in-country as a family before heading home, but each child grieves differently, so we will probably try to experience some of the culture before custody, and on the 1st trip as well, to make sure we can learn about Korea and his heritage before going home.
The USCIS will also need to approve immigration into the US at some point in this process. But this usually does not impact any timelines because it’s going on at the same time as everything in Korea.
Please pray for us!
Moving forward, there are a few specific things we would like to ask prayer for.
That we make the next batch of emigration submissions, probably in the next 6 weeks.
This is the first step that allows the rest of the steps to happen, so the sooner we are submitted, the faster we can bring him home!
That God would prepare Emry’s heart to lose again.
It will be a very hard transition to go from everything he has known in Korea, to life over here in America with us. New sounds, new smells, new people who don’t speak his language, and the loss of his foster family that he will have known for so long while he was there. It’s a loss and trauma that I can’t bear thinking about sometimes. Pray that God prepares his heart, and that his foster family shares our pictures and videos often with him.
That God would protect and cover our marriage and our family during this time.
Not only have we had, and still have, finances to figure out, but there are so many other details and stressors going on that we’ve been navigating. But God is bigger. So, we want to ask for your prayers to preserve love, hope, joy, and peace in our family throughout the waiting period and when we bring him home. Pray that we have time to prepare our hearts for this child. That we can dedicate ourselves to learning more about the attachment process in adoption, and prepare ourselves to comfort a grieving child after custody.
Thank you again for all of your support!