Saturday, June 30, 2012

Counting My Blessings

I once heard a statement at church that has resonated with me for over 10 years.  The pastor said, "There are no personal decisions."  What he meant was that when we make a decision to do something--it will have an effect on someone else.  I've thought about this a lot as Rob and I have been waiting for Little Rob.  Our decision to adopt has certainly had an effect on the three of us, but it has also affected our family and our friends as well.  And the incredible blessing has been how our adoption has brought out the BEST in the people we are closest to.

A gift from Grandpa Dave
Over the past 18 months, I have seen an outpouring of love, prayers, and generosity that just amazes me.  Friends and people we don't even know yet at our church have been faithfully praying for our son to come home!  The teachers and staff at my current school and at my former school have had toddler showers for me amidst the chaos and busyness of the school year.  Friends have allowed me to cry for joy and sadness on their shoulders (countless times).  Parents at my school have given me clothes and toys for Little Rob and have given me donations of clothes to take to Korea.  Other families going through the adoption process have offered suggestions and support through an online forum that I check daily!

And our families...I don't even know where to begin.  God has used each of our family members in powerful ways.  They have given us the emotional support and monetary support to make this adoption happen.  And they have given us the constant reassurance that they support us and will love Little Rob.

So today I am counting my blessings for you.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What's Happening While We Wait...

Many people ask me why it takes so long now that the Emigration Permit has been submitted.  I'll try to explain what I know as best as I can!

First, the Emigration Permit has to be approved.  This normally takes 4 weeks, but we are in such a large group of families that we have been told it could take 5 weeks.  The Korean government reviews all of the paperwork for each of the families and approves them all at once.

Each child also needs a Visa Physical.  This can be done during the 4-5 week wait for EP approval or after.  We feel very lucky that our son already had his Visa Physical--even before his Emigration Permit was submitted!  This seems like a very good sign that they are getting him ready to travel.

The next step after EP approval is to apply for a Travel Certificate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  This could take 5-8 days.

After the Emigration Permit is approved, our agency also sends each child's packet of information, called the P3, to the U.S. Embassy.  This can take another 5-8 days for approval, and it leads to the final step of the process--the Visa Interview. For the Visa Interview, the foster mother must take the child to the U.S. Embassy in order for the child to be photographed and given a one-way visa to leave the country.  The Embassy only schedules a limited number of Visa Interviews each week.  I will be able to call to see if Robert's Visa Interview has been scheduled or has taken place.  Once I hear that it has been scheduled, I will know that the Travel Call is soon to follow!

And FINALLY, the Travel Call!  As soon as everything has been approved, our agency will call us with the date we will meet our son!  They only give about a week's notice, so we cannot book our flight or hotel until the last minute!

So, as you can see, we still have many prayer requests!  We know God's timing is perfect.  We know He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Visa Physical!!

Today we received more great news!  I got an e-mail from Holt letting us know that Robert has already gone in for his Visa Physical!  In the past, the Visa Physical came after the Emigration Permit (EP) had been approved.  But now the hospitals where the physicals are conducted allow them to be done before EP approval.  This doesn't make our approval come any quicker, but it just means that it's one less step needed once we are approved, and it can allow Robert to travel sooner!

In my next post, I'll try to explain all of the steps that need to happen before we travel.  Please pray for the Holt Korea staff as they manage all of the necessary paperwork and appointments.  Praise God that so many babies are coming home to their forever families!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Emigration Permit!

Today I decided to start a blog for our future travel photos.  I was enjoying spending time with my dear friend Melanie, who was helping me while she cared for her one month old twin girls.  While we were working on our blogs together, I wanted to play a song for her that I was hoping to add to my adoption video. As I got my phone to play the song for her, I saw that I had received an email from Holt, our adoption agency, with the subject "EP submitted today, June 20th!"

The EP is the Emigration or Exit Permit.  Each family must have an Emigration Permit submitted.  Then the families wait about 4 weeks for it to be approved.  And after it is approved, the families begin to receive travel calls.  Unlike other countries, the travel calls are staggered so that the families do not all travel to Korea at the same time.  We are hoping to be one of the first families to receive a travel call so that we will have plenty of time to spend with Robert before school starts in the fall.