A long overdue update

We’re home. We’ve been home for 3 months. We are terrible at updating blogs.

I meant to update after our first trip to Korea. Back in November. It was amazing. I love Seoul. I’d happily move there. The food, the culture, the amazing subway system. I still dream about the bbq place across from the guesthouse. We even had a loyalty card to a mandu shop!

Anyway, my 12 weeks of leave are over and I’m about to go back to work. Grownups! Conversations that don’t involve “Soft touches or kitty will bite you!”

We met Josie 3 times before we appeared in court. We even got to have lunch with her and her fostermom! By the end of that meeting she was calling us Appa and Omma. Court was fine. We were only there for about 10 minutes, the questions were easy “Why do you think your husband/wife is a great parent?” etc.

We got the call on December 2nd that our adoption was final and “can you be in Korea by next Monday?” A 4 hour flight + a 14 hour flight with a 4 yo was probably my biggest worry, but R was amazing and I’d be happy to take him on that long of a flight again. He did great. It probably helped that the flight attendants loved his cute face and kept giving him snacks.

BTW, Korea is COLD in early December. I deeply regret not investing in fleece lined tights while we were there. There was some even going on and almost everything was booked our first night so we ended up at a hotel with a 20 minute walk to the subway. There was much whining from all involved. We were right across from a traditional market (Gwangjang) though, and that was fantastic when we felt like we could leave the hotel room. R saw that they had smoked pigs heads and feet and insisted he needed piggie feet. He told me that it was good for his skin. I wondered what ajumma had been talking to him (for real, there is a belief that foods high in collagen, like pig feet are good for your skin). He LOVED those feet. He kept saying “kamsahamnida” (thank you) and “mashita” (delicious!) to the lady and she kept giving him things like a dish of tiny anchovies and soup. He still asks if we can go back to eat, or go to Gangnam to look for Psy. I think we all desperately miss the food. It was so nice to be able to stuff all of us for under $10, too! Not something that happens back in the US, that’s for sure.

And then we were home again. Jo LOVES Appa. She’s a Daddy’s girl. She’s doing so well adjusting to us, and to her new school she just started 2 weeks ago.  It’s been an adjustment for all of us, but we’re finding our new normal. I’ll try to come back to give more information on all of the awesome things we did in Seoul when I get a chance.

Did you feel that? It’s the weight of a mountain being taken from our shoulders.

Adoption has a lot of perks when you had a maybe not completely miserable, but not at all fun pregnancy. No all-day sickness. Fewer migraines. Not as much weight gain.

But it has a few downsides too. Not knowing when you’ll meet your baby until you’re at the tail-end of your journey.

Once you’re submitted to court you’re randomly assigned to a judge. The judge will then assign you a date… whenever they feel like it. You might hear about your date in two weeks after submission, or like some folks who were submitted in June, you might be sitting here in mid-October wondering why you’re being overlooked and why on earth is it taking so long and is something wrong with your paperwork and omgwhatiftheydon’twantmetobeaparentwhydon’ttheylikeme and and and and…

My snack drawer has taken a beating ever since we were notified that we were submitted. I really need to take advantage of our Y membership more often than I have.

Thankfully, on October 1st the wait came to an end (kind of). We finally got that wonderful email letting us know that we were assigned our court date. For the first week of November. Whomp whomp. I’m still sad that it isn’t earlier – Josie might not be home by the end of the year but we still have everything crossed. On the other hand, the wait is so much more manageable. There is nothing for us to do or wait for until we get home from Korea. Then we wait some more.

 

So, what happens after we return?

Well, first we’ll be so jetlagged that we won’t know our own names for a week or so.

Then we’ll wait some more.

The birth parent has the option to be notified when preliminary approval is given to us by the court.

If they choose not to be notified then our case enters the 14 day provisional period and then at some point the judge signs our approval and Josie is ours. We could theoretically travel back to get her in 4-6 weeks.

If they want to be notified then the court will send them a certified letter when the 14 day period begins. Or before it begins. Depends entirely on the judge. If they sign the notice and it’s returned to the court then all is well and once again, we could travel in 4-6 weeks. However, if the birth parent does NOT return the notice (because they might not want to be found, or they might just miss the mailman while they’re at work) then our case goes to public notice. The judge decides how long is long enough. Some judges don’t send it to public notice, some think a week is enough and some leave it on public notice for 2 months. If this is the case then it is unlikely that Josie will be home by her 2nd birthday in January. For now I’m choosing to be excited about finally meeting my little girl and try to believe we have the really awesome Friday judge who never sends things to public notice.

Things are finally really moving!!!

After that horrible 5 month freeze on EPs, we were finally submitted on July 30th.

And our EP was approved August 14th!!!!!!!

 

Now we wait to be submitted to court (could be 4-8 weeks, but with the speed things are going, I’m going to be sad and irrationally upset if we’re not submitted in the next 2-4 weeks).

 

GUYS. We’re nearing the end of the paperwork part of the journey!!!!

K-Drama

Short for ‘Korean Drama’ which are tv dramas in/from Korea.
‘I love watching KDramas!’
-Urban Dictionary

Which leads us to..

You must know what a Korean Drama is first: A Korean drama is a highly addictive form of serial entertainment that uses rollercoaster-like twists and cliffhanger endings to hook the audience. (In the Korean language, and have Korean actors, but you can find every drama with subs)
– Urban Dictionary

We don’t have cable so I don’t really follow TV shows. I don’t really know what’s on anymore and I’m OK with that. I do follow things like Sherlock, Doctor Who and Venture Bros. That’s about it.

I started watching K-dramas in hopes that I’d pick up some of the language. Which I have, if I ever need to yell “Hey, you!” or “Really, this wench. I’m seriously going crazy.” Kidding on the second one. Kind of. I stuck with it because Korean shows only run one season so I know that things will get wrapped up before it ends. The theme songs are catchy (Almost paaaaaradiiiiiiiise!!!). They’re a refreshing change from things like Grey’s where everyone ends up naked all. the. time. Grey’s started the first episode with nekkid people. With Korean shows you make it to the 10th episode and you’re all “OMG. They’re HOLDING HANDS.” and it’s just super cute.

I’m glad I read all of the Game of Thrones books before watching any K-dramas because the character relationships are just about as complicated, but with a lot less incest and murder. But you still need a spreadsheet for the first few episodes.  Don’t let that deter you though. The plots are intricate, the characters are well-developed and they’re just so addicting. N calls them my soap operas. He’s not a fan.

Right now I’m watching  Come! Jang Bori! or Jang Bo-Ri is Here! You can also become addicted to this by hitting up viki.com. I linked the synopsis from AsianWiki but truthfully I can’t find a decent synopsis anywhere. It took me 5 episodes to figure out what was going on. I’ll try to explain. Go read the Asian Wiki synopsis. Back? Ok.

There will be 50 episodes (I believe) and 30 of them are out right now. Two more episodes come out each weekend.

Family 1 – Owns hanbok company. Grandma (nice), 1st son and daughter in law (nice), second son (tbd), second daughter in law (evil) and their daughter Eun-Bi (adorbs).

Family 2 – Poor widowed woman running from gangsters trying to collect her dead husbands debt. Daughter who would kill her in a heartbeat if it meant she moved up in the world (evil). The mom does everything to help her, even if it means letting the daughter claim she’s an orphan (chaotic neutral?).

And a lot of other characters that you see show up in the next 20 years, like the gangsters and 1st DIL’s nephew.

Without giving too many spoilers, Eun-Bi ends up with family 2 and the evil child from family 2 ends up with family 1. To say there are a lot of misunderstandings and omissions is the understatement of the century.

This isn’t much more informative that the original synopsis, but I think the unknown is a big part of the reason that I love these shows. I have yet to be bored by a Korean show. No formula except everything being mostly fixed in the end. Give it a try – I really need people to talk to about the twists and turns.

One bad apple ruins the bunch.. but one bad banana can be made into bread!

Back in February, you may have seen the news about a little boy named Hyun-Su and the tragic result of his adoption. I don’t think the father was at all prepared for the trauma of adoption and the reality of attachment being a very very very long process. I also wonder (I might have read this somewhere) if PTSD had anything to do with his mental status.

Anyway, when the news broke, Korea stepped in to investigate. Completely understandable that they don’t want to send any of their other kids to crazy people. This froze the adoption process. We were suddenly required to have psych evals (I’m more surprised that they didn’t require them already – a lot of countries do.) and now we’ll have a lot more post-placement visits. Both things we’re cool with. We want the kids to be safe too. Adoption isn’t about us, it’s about the kids. They did not allow emigration permit submissions from February until.. YESTERDAY. 

We are so excited to hear that they’re submitting EPs again! This means we should be submitted soon and we’re still on track to have Little Girl home by Christmas. 

I have never been mistaken for a patient person.

We have been matched for five months now. We were beyond lucky to be matched before our homestudy was finished. I think the wait time now (for a non-waitlist child) is around 6 months. We’re already ahead of people who started their journey around the same time.

Little girl turned 1 in January. We’re sitting at 13.5 months that we will never get back with her. At least with pregnancy you get to know them before they’re out in the world.

Last week we got new pictures – the first since October. Here’s hoping that our last care package made it and the disposable cameras can fill in some of those four months for us. It’s a difficult wait and being snowed in and/or sick all winter isn’t helping things at all.

We got a list of things to do to make the wait easier and honestly I don’t remember most of the ideas. Learn about the culture, learn some of the language, start a scrapbook. Let me tell you, that makes it easier for about a half hour.

On the upside, we’re *THISCLOSE* to sending in our dossier. Only waiting on one more document. When the powers that be decide that our documents are in order we’ll be put in line for an emigration permit for Little Girl. An EP is Korea saying she can go. Simultaneously, the US government will be working on an immigration permit saying she can come here. When all of that is in order we will be told when our court date is. We will go for two weeks, meet Little Girl, appear in court. Then we will come home without her. Depending on how fast her birth mother responds to the court approving of the adoption we could be back in Korea 3-6 weeks later. That time we will take custody, Little Girl will have one last medical inspection for her visa, we wait a few days for the visa and then, HOME.

Sounds like she could be here by Memorial Day, huh? Unfortunately, we’re still going to be lucky if she’s home by Christmas. We just have to hope that everything keeps moving smoothly and cross our fingers that Korea will put another judge on adoptions. Right now there are only two.

We wait for winter to end and summer to arrive because it means that she’s that much closer to coming home. We mail care packages and we wait, not knowing whether or not they ever arrived. We pick through Ikea catalogs and wait for our location to open because they have exactly what I want for R and Little Girl’s room. But we wouldn’t complain a bit if she’s home before they open in the fall. And we keep waiting.