Korean Adoption

Big News!

We have some pretty exciting news to share… We are officially a waiting family!!! All of our paperwork (dossier) was sent to Korea today, and we are now waiting to be matched with our sweet baby! We are over the moon excited to finally have our file in Korea. This is a really huge step in the adoption process, and although we know there will be some waiting ahead of us, we know the wait for our baby is going to be so worth it.

Now what? Now we wait. There is no way to predict how long it will take to be matched with our child. Obviously, we hope that it will be a quick wait, but realistically, we are hoping to be matched by the end of summer. That would mean that by the time all of our other paperwork is finished in Korea, we would be brining our child home this time next year. Again, we know there are no guarantees, but that is what we are holding on to right now.

We appreciate all of you prayers so much, and at this point in the process, we ask that you continue to pray for our sweet baby and their birth parents. This is an exciting time for us, but across the world, a family is making a very difficult decision. We pray God lifts them up as they go through the grieving process, and that they find some peace knowing we will love their child with all of our hearts.

We are one HUGE step closer to Bringing Home Baby Stoyk!

Korean Adoption

Humbling Experience

If you know us well, you know that we are not great at asking for help. We are stubborn and try to do everything ourselves. Whether that be hauling tree branches for hours to avoid calling a professional to pushing three boys in the stroller to get a run in instead of getting a babysitter, we aren’t great at asking for help. Well, this process has really forced us to lean on our friends and family, and boy have they shown up when we have needed them!

At the very beginning of this process, we needed someone to watch our kids for an entire day so we could go to Eau Claire for an initial interview. This was very last minute, but our friends stepped in and took care of all three boys for us. My mom has watched the boys while we have done countless hours of paperwork, education hours, and meetings with our social worker. We have had friends write us letters of recommendation, fill out questionnaires about us as a couple and family (more than once), signed off as a witness on our important papers, watch our classes so we could leave early to attend meetings, and prayed for us during this long, hard process.

Of course we have expressed our thanks to these people, but really just saying thank you isn’t enough. These people have all played an important part in our journey to bring Baby Stoyk home, and we will never be able to express how thankful we are for that. So to all of you that have helped, asked how things are going, and are praying for our family, we are so thankful and feel very blessed to have you all in our lives. Thank you for helping us continue to make steps toward bringing home Baby Stoyk.

Home Study

Paperwork Complete!

We drove to Eau Claire this afternoon to get our FINAL piece of paperwork for our home study signed. We had to visit a post adoption center in Eau Claire to see the resources they offer, and they are only open Monday-Thursday from 9-4. We left work a little early, made it there for a quick meeting, and then celebrated having all of our paperwork done and Eric’s birthday (a day early).

This is a BIG deal! We have spent the last 7 months filling out forms, attending meetings, sharing more personal information with strangers than we ever thought possible, and praying we would make it through this first part of the process. God has been with us every step of the way, and we are over the moon excited to mail everything out tomorrow. We are one step closer to bringing home Baby Stoyk!

Adoption, Family, International Adoption, Korean Adoption

Progress… Finally!

We had our FINAL home study visit this week. What a relief! We spent all of Monday night cleaning, and when I say cleaning, I mean under the fridge, the oven, the junk drawer, and inside cabinets. Because she was totally going to look in all of those places right?

I was worried all over again for these two visits (one Tuesday and one Wednesday) because we have a new social worker, since we are now working with Bethany Christian Services. We had only ever spoken to her on the phone one time, and now she was going to come and decide if were were suitable parents for a sweet baby from Korea. I didn’t know how thorough she was going to be, but I was pretty sure she was going to judge me on my socks-with-no-matches basket.

Our first meeting was on Tuesday night after school. Thanks to an awesome coworker, I was able to leave school a little early to make sure everything was ready. The boys came home, and we all played Play-Doh while we waited. Once she arrived, I felt better right away. She was very kind, sympathetic to all we had gone through with our previous agency closing, and has a great connection to Korea. We got right to work on a mountain of paperwork while the boys continued to play. She was here for about 2 1/2hrs. She spent some time talking to Eric and I separately, and interviewed the boys. Gus’ interview didn’t last too long. He won her over right away with his sweet smile and by holding her hand. When you have three boys ages 6, 3, and 1 you never really know what they are going to do or say, but I am happy to say they all did great! She left us with a bunch of paperwork to do, so Eric and I sat down for a few hours after she left and worked on that to be ready for the next day.

Eric and I took half-a-day off on Wednesday morning, and she returned to finish up our last visit. We had a few more things we needed to go over, she needed to check our fire alarms and extinguishers, and she needed to do a walk-through of our house. She left us with more paperwork and some education hours we need to complete before our home study can be completed.

So what is next?

We have 5 additional education hours that we need to get in before our home study can be written up. We have a book to read for that and will be writing up a book report on it. If you know Eric at all, you know he is not the biggest reader, so he is super thrilled about this assignment. ­čÖé

Once we get our education hours done and submit the final paperwork, our social worker will, hopefully, approve us and write up our home study. After she writes up our home study, she will send a copy to our placing agency, AAC, and they will need to approve it. Once the home study is completely approved, we will be ready to get I600 approval (immigration approval). This might take a month or two, but once that is approved we will be ready to submit everything to Korea and wait for a match! It finally feels like we are getting closer to getting to see our baby!

We are so grateful to everyone for your support and prayers. A lot of you have been reaching out and asking to donate to help cover the high cost of agency fees and travel. We so appreciate this, and we are looking in to the best way for people to do this. We are doing everything we can right now to save every penny for this along with working on applying for adoption grants. The cost of adoption is one of the largest reasons people choose not to adopt, and we have said from the beginning that we will not let it be a barrier for our family.

Thank you all again for your love and support. Keep the prayers coming, and I hope to be able to update everyone again soon. We are one step closer to bringing home Baby Stoyk!

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A Bump in the Road

We got an email from our social worker today asking if we could have a conference call with her and her supervisor at 4pm. I immediately had a feeling this wasn’t going to be a good phone call. I called her right away and asked if we could make the phone call a little earlier so we would be able to pick up the boys at 4:15. I asked if I needed to be concerned about this, and she said, “We can just talked about it this afternoon.” Ugh, that was definitely not good.

Eric came down to my classroom right after school and we waited for the phone call. Our social worker (from Lutheran Social Services) started off by saying she had her supervisor on the phone and this was a very difficult call to make. She told us they were discontinuing their international adoption program, so as of January 1st they would no longer be doing home studies for international adoptions. Cue the tears! I knew this was going to be a bad phone call, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine them saying they were going to end the program.

So what does this all mean? Lutheran Social Services (LSS) has been doing our home study, which we were almost done with. They are our home study agency and AAC is our placing agency that works with South Korea. Since our home study was not completed yet, we need to figure out if we will have LSS complete our home study and another agency update it before sending it to Korea, or if we will just scrap what we have done before and start over with another home study agency.

We will continue working with AAC as our placement agency, but there is still a huge question mark on what to do about our home study agency. We want to make sure we are doing things how Korea expects them to do done. We are waiting to hear back now from Bethany Christian services, and we will go from there. Bethany has a really good reputation as a home study agency, so we are hopeful they will make the drive to our small town to help us finish up our home study and do our post placement visits.

Right now it is just a waiting game, which is really hard for us, but we are trusting that God has a plan for us. We believe this was meant to be part of our path and there is still one special child that is meant for us in South Korea. Stay tuned for an update on what happens next. We are still going to attend a two day training next week  for adoptive parents, so that will help us at least feel like we are a step closer to Bringing Home Baby Stoyk.

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Home Visit

My house has literally NEVER been this clean. Our social worker came over for our first home visit today. We were up late last night and early this morning making sure everything in the house was perfect. We dusted, scrubbed, and I even cleaned the top of our cabinets because she would totally climb up on the counters and check them right?

The boys were really excited to meet her and were running around like crazy all morning. We prepared them the best that we could, but knew that Cal was going to want to show off all his cool tricks. Max was crying because he thought she was going to bring us our baby today, and now he is devastated that he has to wait longer. I think the wait might be the hardest on him.

I got up really early this morning, and as I was having a cup of coffee, I was watching a video of a family bringing their baby home from Korea. I was a mess. A sweet baby just like the one in the video, is the reason I cared so much about the house being clean. I am already so in love with our future child that I want everything to be perfect. I can picture them here with their brothers running around like crazy, and it makes me smile just thinking about it.

Our visit went really well, except for the fact that I was still in my pajamas cleaning when our social worker arrived. We had a little misunderstanding about what time she would get here. She was here for about 3 hours, and the boys gave her a tour of the house, told her how excited they were to get a new baby, and showed off all their cool tricks.

Tonight, as I was putting the boys to bed, we prayed for our baby in South Korea. We don’t know if they are born yet, but we already love him/her and are doing everything we can here to get them home as soon as possible.┬áThis child is going to be the missing piece to our family puzzle, and we are now one step closer to Bringing Home Baby Stoyk!

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Psychological Evaluation

Who doesn’t love a psychological evaluation on a Monday? We had our psychological evaluation via FaceTime today. Having a psychological evaluation is a requirement that South Korea has for all prospective families. We were really thankful to be able to get it done before school started, but I am not going to lie, I was super nervous about this one. We heard about this doctor through one of our Korean adoption support groups, and were thankful he could do a FaceTime interview. There are not a lot of psychologists that meet Korea’s requirements in our small town.

The interview was actually very laid back, and the doctor was pretty funny. We spent about an hour on FaceTime with him asking us about our family and relationship history. Have you ever had someone taking notes while you are talking? Well when someone is evaluating your sanity, it sure does feel like they must be thinking you are all kinds of crazy when they are feverishly writing down everything you say.

Now we have to complete two addition paper and pencil tests to send back to him. After he receives those tests, he will write up our results to send to Korea.

Update: We ended up spending about 6 hours completing the tests ┬áhe sent to us, and are ready to send them off to the doctor. Let me tell you… the amount of paperwork that comes a long with an adoption is UNBELIEVABLE! Aside from this pyshc evalutation, we spend at least 2 hours a night working on paperwork for one of our agencies. It does feel really good to be able to check things off the list, and having this evlauation done means we are one step closer to Bringing Home Baby Stoyk!

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Welcome

Thanks for joining me!

Blogging is something I have been thinking about for a long time. When we decided to start the journey of adopting from South Korea, I felt like this would be the best way to share our story with family and friends. 

In May of 2018, we made the decision to add to our family through adoption. I have always dreamed of adopting from South Korea, and now seemed like the best time to completed our family. We are starting this journey with a dream, but not a lot of knowledge about the process. Stay tuned to learn as we do, and follow our journey to Bring Home Baby Stoyk!