EP approval, travel planning, adopting during COVID-19

Hello, friends and family. 

We’ve been getting lots of questions lately regarding the status of our adoption and how COVID-19 has affected our family. It’s been difficult for us to find the time and, honestly, the desire to put down some of our feelings this year. I recently read a book on suffering. It perfectly captured what we’ve been feeling during the past several months. To summarize, it said that during a time of suffering, vulnerability, or insecurity it’s often too difficult to give the play-by-play on real, personal experiences until you arrive at a safe and protected place where it is much easier to reflect on what you’ve been through. This year has been an emotionally stressful and spiritually difficult year for us as we once again set aside our plans and hopes of what this year would look like and surrendered them over to God’s greater plan for our lives and for Brooks’ life. Having recently arrived at a happier point in our journey, we now feel like we’re in a much better place to share some of our exciting news and what’s next for our family. We’ve made it through a difficult season of waiting and feeling emotionally-distant from our son and our hope is slowly being restored.

 

EP approval 

Since Brooks’ emigration permit submission back in May 2020, we’ve continued to make our way down the international adoption timeline–crossing off milestones along the way. 

  • June 15, 2020 – Received Brooks’ legal documents
  • June 16, 2020 – Applied for USCIS I-600
  • June 19, 2020 – Home study update #2 received
  • June 20, 2020 – Filed I-600a extension with USCIS
  • July 24, 2020 – EP Approval!
  • July 30, 2020 – I-600a extension approval

On July 24, we received the news that Brooks’ emigration permit was approved. As we’ve mentioned previously, once a child has been matched with an international waiting family and the family has submitted the Korea Dossier, the adoption process in Korea officially begins. Brooks’ information and our family information was submitted to the Ministry of Health and Welfare for the approval of an Emigration Permit (EP) and it was granted.

 

What’s next?

Currently, the legal department of our agency in Korea is preparing additional documents needed for our case to be submitted to court. We are expecting to be submitted to court any day now. 

Once we are submitted to court, then we wait to be assigned a court date which establishes when both Chris and I have to appear in South Korea at a court hearing in front of the judge that we are assigned. 

Upon submission to court, our agency in Korea will also submit our completed I-600 application directly to the US Embassy in Seoul. 

 

Travel planning

Once we are submitted to court, we are hoping to be assigned a court date shortly thereafter. We cannot predict when we’ll receive the news of our court date, but we’re praying to be appearing in court in October. Because of COVID-19, our travel plans have significantly shifted. Instead of taking two trips to South Korea to handle the legal process of our adoption, we will be taking one long trip that will last about 7-8 weeks. Because of the mandatory 14-day quarantining process that is in place in most countries, we will be required to quarantine for 14+ days upon arrival in Seoul. Instead of leaving South Korea after our court hearing and first visits with Brooks, we will remain in country to work, explore, and enjoy our last days as a family of two. 

 

Quarantine

Upon arrival at the Incheon airport in Seoul, we will be escorted through a series of stations to fill out massive amounts of paperwork and get our temperature taken multiple times. We then are shuttled to one of several Seoul hotels that have been turned into a quarantine location for travelers from all over the world. After receiving a COVID-19 test and hopefully negative test results, we will remain in quarantine for 14-15 days. Meals are delivered to our room three times per day, but we will be unable to leave our rooms for any reason. It will be a great test of patience for both of us. It’s a great thing we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. 

After Quarantine

After getting released from quarantine, we will move to either a hotel (of our choosing) or an Airbnb. We both plan on working remotely from Seoul as much as we are able. We are thankful for employers who have been supportive of our adoption and accommodating of the recent difficulties that COVID-19 has caused our adoption process. It is a great cause of stress for both of us, but we are trusting that God will provide for us during this time and that no matter what is thrown at us that he is always with us. When we’re not working, we’ll be exploring as much of Seoul as we are able. It seems life in Seoul is operating fairly normally and we should be able to explore many of the places that are on our “must see” list. We have been longing to learn more about our son’s culture and an added benefit of staying in country for a longer period of time is we’ll have plenty of time to explore and immerse ourselves in Korean life and culture. 

Follow us

We invite you to follow our travels throughout Seoul on our road to meeting and adopting Brooks via a Facebook private group that we will be creating after court submission. Watch for an invite or message us directly to make sure you’re added to the group!

 

“Are you afraid to go to South Korea…because of, you know, what’s going on?”

We’ve been getting this question pretty regularly. We are not surprised to receive this question considering the hyper-fearful and panic-driven world we currently live in, but the answer is an overwhelming “NO!” No, we are not afraid of traveling while the COVID-19 virus exists in this world. No, we are not afraid to go to an Asian country (the virus is in the U.S. too). He is safe and healthy; but, even if we believed he was in harm’s way due to the COVID situation abroad, why wouldn’t we want to bring him to safety? Our son is waiting for us. We are going to get our son. There are 100 other fears that sit higher on the list than this virus.

Not a single one of those fears is greater than our God. Let me tell you, international adoption is not for the faint of heart. Adoption stretches you in ways that are hard to describe. Nothing is in your control. We’ve shared over and over how this process has been one leap of faith after another. This process is not in our control, but none of our lives are in our control. 2 Corinithians, chapter four, has been the theme for our adoption journey and this blog site. Our lives, these broken jars of clay, with all of its suffering and hardships keep us awake and longing for the only thing that will satisfy us, the one person, the only place. Until that day, we live our lives and share the hope that we have. 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-18)

 

Keep your prayers coming

As we get closer to the very exciting parts of our adoption process, we will be more consistent in sharing updates on this blog and via social media. We plan on sharing our packing list and nursery reveal soon for those who may be curious!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for following our journey and for your prayers of support. God never stops working for a single one of us. Continue to trust in His promises and  share the hope that you have because of Him. 

 

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Comments

    • Beth Gumm
    • August 8, 2020
    Reply

    Love the update! Many prayers continue that Brooks is with you soon and that everything continues to move forward smoothly. This makes my heart so happy!!! ♥️

    • Katherine Horn
    • August 12, 2020
    Reply

    AWESOME news! So many prayers answered, so many yet to say. The puzzle pieces are fitting into place. Praise be to God! xo

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