Category: Red Tape


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EP Eve

After a pitiful past few weeks, K and I have a renewed hope today. We have a high confidence that our (and C’s) wait is nearing its conclusion. Families have started to receive confirmation that they are in the 4th batch of the year, and we think we will be as well. We were matched with C back in April, 2011, and today we have heard of confirmations of families matched in May and June, 2011 who are in this 4th batch. This paperwork is typically processed in the order in which families are matched, so we are all but confirmed for this batch.  We hope tomorrow will be the day that we’ll get confirmation that C’s EP has be submitted.

What does this mean? Since March of this year, one batch of adoption paperwork has been processed by the Korean government per month. When our paperwork is submitted, it will be the first time the Korean government will have heard of us. They’ll confirm that we are fit parents, that C is legally free and clear, and approve a visa, giving us permission to take him back to the US.

It has taken between 4 and 5 weeks for the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare to approve exit permits. We would expect an approval some time near the end of June. After that, the U.S. embassy has to ensure that our I-600 has been properly processed (which says we intend to sponsor C’s citizenship). They recently decided it would be a good idea to limit how quickly they are processing this paperwork. Since they are our government, we plan to get on the phone/email/facebook/carrier pigeon with representatives and see if they can get that change reverted.

Once the embassy has given us the green light, we’ll have a short wait to get a travel call from the Korean adoption agency. We expect that to happen six to seven weeks from now. Once we get that call, we hope to be on a plane within 48-72 hours and meet C for the first time within the week.

Right now it seems like it will be in Korea two years to the month we started this process. It doesn’t seem like it could have really taken this long. We’re so excited to have C home before his second birthday and have over a month to bond with him before family is scheduled to come out to meet him.

K and I have been nuts today – stalking forums, badgering our social worker, having fits of bi-polar. But it seems like it’s really real. This journey is almost finished and the journey we thought would start 6-12 months ago will finally begin.

Prayer Requests-Month #21

It’s April 1st!  So much has happened since our March prayer request post.  Here’s what we are praying for  this month.

  1. The Korean government has started accepting and issuing EPs. This is a huge praise in and of itself. I’m so happy to report that families started to travel to Korea TODAY to pick up their child. I know one day I will be writing that news about our family, too!
  2. Please continue to pray that the Ministry would approve batches of EPs quickly and the batches would be large to accommodate more families and allow for us to travel sooner.  We would still love to have C home by Father’s Day!  (You can continue to check back here to get the latest word on where we stand with our travel estimates).
  3. We are praying for our dear C’s transition into our family. He is turning 19 months old in a few days and he no doubt recognizes us from photos and videos we have sent over for him this past year. We pray these small gift help him become familiar with us.  We pray for his little heart which will have so much to digest in the coming months.
  4. We continue to pray for C’s foster family and the amazing, sacrificial love they have for this child.  They have raised C since he was 2½ months old, and I can’t even begin to imagine parting with him after such a long time. We are and will be forever grateful for his entire foster family who have helped shape him to be the wonderful little boy he is and will continue to become.
  5. I’m very thankful for the adoption community which I have come to know over the past 21 months. The amount of advice, encouragement, and support is really helpful when you are going through a process that is so foreign to so many.

Now let’s bring on the EPs!!!

New batch submitted!

Great news came out of Korea on Thursday.  Not only are people in the first batch beginning to get their travel call, but the second batch of submissions went to the Ministry on Thursday as well. We weren’t really expecting the next submission until the first week of April so I’m so happy the Ministry didn’t wait.

I had hoped the Ministry would accept the rest of January and ALL of February 2011 referrals in this batch, but it appears we go about halfway through the February referrals.  It continues to be difficult to tell what this means for our travel date, but the good news is that things are moving after such a long delay and months of no travel calls, EP submissions, or any good news!

EPs approvals and speculation galore

More great news is coming out of Korea! On Friday, the Ministry of Health and Welfare approved the first round of exit permits (EPs).  This took about three weeks to accomplish which is definitely on the quicker side when looking at long term averages.

I know the next question many family and friends are asking is what this means for us.  The short answer is it’s still really hard to say.  This batch was huge and the latest news from the MPAK blog is the next batch will also be large.  However, it appears that the Ministry will only approve one batch of EPs each month, not two like we were hoping.  That means the April projection for EP  we made in this post  is just not very realistic for us anymore.  The *new* projection is that we will be submitted in June and travel in July. If it’s earlier I’ll take it, but I wouldn’t bet on that.

For those of you who care how we got to this number you can keep reading, but it is full of guesses, mathematical projections, and adoption lingo that is pure speculation at this point.

I have calculated the number of Eastern EPs to be about 821 (a 10% reduction from last year) for 2012. If the Ministry would divide this number by 12, they would give out about 68 referrals per month. But, the ministry missed two months since they started in March. Thus, the first batch was huge to help make up for it.  In order to get caught up the next batch has to be huge, too.

  • March: Approx. 120 ESWS EPS (Dec-mid Jan 2011) were submitted and approved
  • April: Assuming another big batch would probably mean the rest of Jan. 2011 and all of Feb 2011 will be approved. (We should find out this number next week)

The third batch is more than likely going to be back to the normal size (about 68ish EPs). That would mean people with a March 2011 ATK would be submitted in May. Since we are an April 2011 ATK that puts us in the 4th batch. It could very well be the 5th batch since I’m doing a ton of speculation and the way I see it we are right on the line for the fourth batch, but I’m hoping for the 4th. That would be a 15 month wait from the first time we saw C’s face.

EP News

Last Monday, the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare finally began accepting the first batch of files for the children who are waiting to come home in 2012!!! They asked for files from the Korean agencies and after review these children will be issued an exit permit (EP). C needs this before he can get a visa from the US Embassy in Seoul to come home. No one knew how big the batch of referrals the Ministry would accept, but everyone with an acceptance to Korea (ATK) from December 2010 thru January 10th-ish, 2011 was submitted for an EP. While C was not submitted in this initial batch, all of the children who received an ATK before him need to be processed before it will be his turn.

The Ministry may take as little as two weeks or up to 12 weeks (that’s 3 months, people!) to process and grant an EP. We are, of course, hoping for closer to two weeks – the quicker the better. The rumors going around the Internet suggest that the Ministry will expedite the first few batches to try and make up for the lost two months in the beginning of the year when nothing happened. This would mean that the first group of Eps for the year wilwill be issued in the middle of March. In the past, the Ministry has not accepted any new batches from the Korean agencies until they have approved all of the files in the previous batch, but there is talk that they may slowly take individual files as the other previous ones get approved instead of waiting for entire batches. We have no idea how this process will look; this is hard for a Type A like me.

We have crunched these numbers like crazy to *try* and predict when we might have C’s file submitted for an EP! If the Ministry A) accepts batches as large as this one, B) does this twice in March and April, then C) we will probably be submitted by the end of April. Easy, huh!? Getting an EP from the Korean Ministry is the biggest hurdle, and once we have this little piece of paper C it will take another 4-6 weeks until C will finally be able to come home. We’ll keep you posted!

Prayer Requests-Month #20

A new month is here!  Here’s what we are praying for this month.

  1. 1. According to MPAK and recent news from other agencies, EPs (exit permits) will begin to be processed early next week. This is GREAT, SUPER, FANTASTIC news, but because of the delay thus far I have to remain cautiously optimistic to guard my heart. I am, however, praying that EPs do start SOON and that the batches would be HUGE and move QUICKLY through the Ministry in Korea.  Let’s get these kids home!
  2. Our boy is turning 18 months old.  18 months! Seriously, where has the time gone? When we first saw his face he was just 6 months old. We are praying that he continues to be safe, healthy, happy, and learning a lot.
  3. We are praying for C’s transition into our family. My heart breaks for what lies ahead for him, but I pray that God can miraculously start to prepare his heart for this big change in his life.  We have also heard that it is very common for a child to reject one parent (usually the parent he is closer to in Korea). We are praying that C bonds well with both of us.
  4. We love, love, love C’s foster family. They are doing such an amazing, selfless act, and we continue to praise God for their kindness towards our son.
  5. We wanted C home months ago! We are praying that the Ministry would have no further delays once EPs begin and that C can join our family quickly. I know April is no longer a possibility for us, and Mother’s Day probably isn’t realistic either, but it would be great to have him home by Father’s Day. We are praying this will happen for us.

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