Our agency director just returned from Korea and visited my baby! She took some super cute photos that are posted on our private blog. Let's just say baby girl has some hair!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I really hope we are close to half way done with the wait to go get Abeni. I would like to take a moment to explain exactly what we are waiting for and why it is taking so long. This is my take on things and is not gospel.
So South Korea first became involved in inter-country adoption after the Korean War. There were lots of children who needed homes. Some were children of GI's and some were just abandoned. Now most of the children available for international adoption are the children of unwed mothers. There is a huge social stigma against unmarried mothers and also a stigma against adoption. There is a movement in Korea to change these things but it will most likely take a long time. There have been more adoptions taking place in Korea but they often end in disruption (the child being returned to the orphanage.) The Korean government sees themselves as shamed because they can not find families for all the available children in their own country. They have decided to try to end international adoptions. The way they are doing this is by implementing a quota system. Each year our agency in Korea, Eastern, intakes a number of relinquished children. The Korean Government is allowing a certain number of children each year to be granted Exit Permission (EP.) Each year they lower the number of EP's by 10%. The only problem with this plan is that although it means that each year less children leave the country (which is great) it has created a backlog of children who can not get permission to leave the country.
Last year (2009) Eastern ran out of EP's sometime in May; so any children who where referred after May had to wait till January to get EP. That means that this year they had from the middle of May on as a backlog. Remember they also get 10% less EP's this year. So they had this large backlog to work through. They are slowly working through the back log but this year they will only have enough EP's to get through families who accepted their referral before the end of March. We accepted on March 22nd.
Eastern submits a batch of EP's to the ministry that approves them as soon as the previous batch is approved. It looks like a batch was approved last week. That batch was submitted on June 11th and included some January families. I don't know how far into January. It also looks like Eastern submitted a new batch for EP's the end of this week. I know that there are some February families in that batch.
So what does this all mean for us?
Our next step is to be submitted for EP. We hope that it will happen next month but hopefully at the latest it will happen in the beginning of September. We will know more when we know how far into February Eastern made it with this batch. After that happens we wait for approval. After approval we hope to travel in 1-4 weeks. SOOOO right now it looks like our travel window is the end of August to the end of October. I really want to kiss my baby on her first birthday. I would love to have her home but would be thrilled to share her birthday with her in Korea.
The really sad thing about all of this is the families who will not be able to travel this year. I am heartbroken for the families and children who are being hurt by this system. I really hope that things get better. I just don't know how that is going to happen.