On June 8th we headed to Eau Claire for an interview with our home study agency (Lutheran Social Services). We left the boys at the Schmidt’s for the day (so thankful for them) and we were off. I had been doing A LOT of research about the process, cost (scary), and timeline. We were going in to this interview with a lot of excitement, nervousness, and questions. We spent about 3 hours with a social worker talking through their program. We learned that the home study process takes between 3-6 months to complete. During that time we need to have five visits with our social worker, some at our home and some in the office. We will have stacks and stacks of paperwork to fill out, and then we can send our paperwork to Korea to get matched with a child. I have included a timeline for you below, because the process doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you see it.
1. Home Study- we are using Lutheran Social Services (LSS) for this part- 3-6 months
– During the home study we are also working on paperwork for our placing agency (this is the agency that works with South Korea) AAC, completing physicals, psychological evaluations, adoption training, and getting our passports updated.
2. Submit Home Study and get I600a Approval- 3-4 months
– During this time our home study will be looked over and prepared to send to South Korea. We will also be sending something called the I600a which is immigration approval.
3. Send Dossier to South Korea- timeline varies for this
– Once all of our paperwork (know in the adoption world as the Dossier) is sent to South Korea, that is when the waiting really starts. At this point we will just be waiting for a phone call telling us they have found a child that fits with our family.
4. Child Assignment- Match- 4-6 weeks
– Once we accept a child, we will work on the legal paperwork to send back to South Korea to be officially “matched”. At this time we will pay the final agency fees and finish the second part of the I600. This will approve the child we are adopting for immigration.
5. Emigration Permission- 2-4 moths
– This is the first step in the child’s exit process. The timeline is pretty unpredictable, but the average seems to be 2-4 months.
6. Approval by the Korean Family Court 2-4 months
– After emigration permission (EP) is granted, the case will go to Korean Family Court. It typically takes 2-4 months to get a court date after EP is submitted to court.
7. Travel to South Korea for Court Appearance
– We will travel to South Korea for the first time to meet our child (yay!) and appear in court. We will be in South Korea for approximately a week. During that time we will get to spend some time with our child and tour the amazing city of Seoul. We will not be bringing home our child at this time. There will be a final court hearing in South Korea in approximately another month. This will be the hardest wait!
8. Travel to South Korea for Visa Appointment and to Bring Baby Stoyk Home!
– We will travel to South Korea for the final visa interview, which will give us the permission to take our child home. We will be there for about a week, and after our visa interview, the child will officially be ours!
9. Post Adoption 1 year
– Our social worker (from Lutheran Social Services) will be following us for 1 year after the child is home with us to ensure the child is adjusting well.
Did you get all that?
We are still trying to wrap our heads all of this and work on our patience throughout this process. We truly feel called to adopt, and know there is a sweet baby in South Korea that is meant for our family. God’s has a plan for us, and we will keep reminding ourselves of that.
Stay tuned for what happens next in our adventure to bring Baby Stoyk Home!