Disclaimer: Every single adoption process is different. This has been ours and can be used as a guide, but know that each process can vary greatly on so many different factors.
When we first announced our adoption last year we shared answers with family and friends to some very common adoption-related questions. We wanted to revive these FAQs for those who are still wondering about the adoption process and, in particular, our adoption process. From the very beginning we have wanted to be transparent about our journey and about what we’re going through because we’ve benefited immensely from others who have shared their story with us. Our hope is that we can help and connect with others who are currently in the adoption process or who are hoping to adopt in the future.
Here are some of our most frequently asked questions:
Q: Why blog your adoption?
A: There were several reasons why we wanted to create a blog site. This site allows us to 1) tell our story to others in hopes that it may help someone else; 2) share updates on our adoption journey with friends and family; 3) educate and advocate for adoption; and, 4) document our journey for our future child. Learn more on our “About Us.”
Q: Why adoption?
A: God has blessed our lives through adoption before through several family members and friends. It is something that has always been special to us. It was something we definitely talked about together with having biological children. In our effort to be transparent and to eliminate the embarrassing stigma that is tied to infertility, we have been open about our infertility challenges in person and on this blog. Because we decided very early on that we would not take any measures that we felt violated our beliefs or that failed to honor the sanctity of life, we knew that God’s plan for us right now was adoption. We shared about our struggles in our first blog post “Jars like us.”
Q: Why international adoption?
A: When we first started to think very seriously about adoption we looked at all our options: foster care with the option of adoption, domestic infant adoption, and international adoption. Each had its own unique path to parenthood. We did hours and hours of research. We prayed for God’s guidance in this decision and surrendered everything over to him. Ultimately, God led us to international adoption. We know God has a child for us across the world and he’s going to bring us together.
Q: Why South Korea?
A: Once we knew international adoption was the path that we were on, we quickly narrowed our adoption program choice to several East Asian countries. With the help of our placing agency, we studied each country’s adoptive parent criteria, regulations, and adoption process. There are a lot of regulations that can vary greatly between countries. As hopeful adoptive parents, it’s important to understand these differences. For us, South Korea quickly became God’s plan for our family after learning about their strong foster care system, available children, and anticipated wait-time. We knew we wanted to adopt a baby/toddler to fit within the timeframe of our marriage (4 years), and with South Korea’s shorter timelines we knew that would be a higher probability than other countries. We have quickly fallen in love with the Korean culture and cannot wait to travel there to be united with our child and to explore the culture together. We talk more about Korea in a previous blog post.
Q: Why not adopt domestically? Isn’t it easier?
A: Sadly, we get this one quite a bit. The truth is there is no adoption path that is “easy.” Every route has its fair share of grief, loss, and gigantic hurdles to overcome. Often what is implied in this question is that we should adopt a “U.S” child over a child from a different country. There are children all over the world who need loving homes many of which may never receive the home that they need. When God called us to adopt, everything was on the table. He’s led us and sustained us on this path and we know that he is working a miracle for us.
Q: How did you pick your agency?
A: The short and sweet answer: lots and lots of research and lots and lots of prayer. We pored over all the different agencies our state had to offer and settled on one that was right for us. Finding an ethical adoption agency to work with is really, really important. It’s a difficult and overwhelming step to weed through all the agencies out there, but it is so important to find one that is caring for orphans in an ethical way. We had a feeling in our gut that Holt International was the right agency for us at this particular time.
Q: What is the profile of your child?
A: Well, we haven’t been matched with a child yet, so we don’t know! Obviously, each child and story is different, but we were given some general information based on the average adoption process in South Korea. When we are matched with our child (Korea matches us with a child in need of a forever home), he or she will be about 6-12 months old. When we are able to bring our child home, he or she will most likely be about 1.5-2 years old. We are not specifying a gender, but most babies adopted from South Korea are males. Because of that we were told to anticipate a boy, but we could very well be matched with a girl. It doesn’t matter to us. We are just so thrilled to be able to be parents. We are also open to two children, so there is a possibility that we could be referred twin siblings. It is a rare thing in South Korea, but we wanted to be open to it if that’s what God willed.
Q: How long will this journey take? I’ve heard it can take a really long time.
A: We’ve been told by our agency the process will take 1.5-2 years on average from start to finish. That is based on an average of recent timelines by other adoptive families in the Korea program. If everything continues smoothly, according to average wait times, we are expecting our little blessing to be home sometime in the first half of 2020. We know it will be worth the wait!
Q: Where are you at in the process?
A: We are currently waiting for “the call” saying that the agency in Korea has a child that will fit our family perfectly. We are praying that we would receive this call and officially be “matched” with our child/ren by July of this year. We are praying for sooner, but we are trusting in God’s infinite wisdom and timing.
Q: After you are matched can you communicate with the foster family and your child?
A: Yes! After we are matched we will have the opportunity to send special care packages to our child and his/her foster family. Items could include photos of us, toys, food, clothing, recordable books, and special gifts for foster family. We do not know how often we will be able to send packages to our child, but we will do it as often as we are allowed! We know that this part of the process will becoming clearer as we get closer to it.
Q: Will your child keep their Korean name?
A: As of now, we plan on using our child’s given Korean name as their middle name and selecting an English/American name for their first name. We want to preserve our child’s culture and this is one way we plan on doing that.
Q: Will you learn Korean?
A: Yes! We are trying to learn as many common Korean words as we can while we wait to bring our child home. It’s been a fun and enriching experience learning new words and phrases. We have enjoyed introducing new words into our home and encouraging each other in learning more.
Q: How much does adoption cost?
A: We are anticipating spending about $52,000 to bring one child home. Each adoption is different.
Q: Do you have to travel to Korea?
A: Yes, the program requires adoptive families to travel to Korea twice. Both trips will last between 5-7 days and will happen near the end of our journey. The first trip we will get to meet our child for the first time (We can’t wait!), explore Seoul, and attend a court hearing. The second trip we will complete the visa process and bring our child home.
Q: What can we do to help?
A: We can’t stress enough that your prayers and support mean everything to us. We ask for your continued prayers throughout this process. Please pray for our child–that he/she is healthy, happy, and well-loved while we wait to bring him/her home. Pray for our child’s birth mother that she has comfort and peace in this incredibly selfless decision. We ask God to watch over her. Please also pray for the foster family that our child is currently living with temporarily until we can bring them home. And finally, please pray for us as we wait to bring our baby home and prepare to become a family!
If you would like to help us overcome the financial hurdle that adoption brings, please visit https://www.jarslikeus.com/for-this-child/. Last month we launched our puzzle fundraiser to help with the costs of adoption. Know you are forever changing our lives and the life of a child, the child God has chosen for us, who needs two loving, Christian parents. We cannot thank you enough!