Sunday, September 25, 2011


We have officially encountered Paperwork Mountain #2.

A couple of weeks ago I started our Show Hope application; part of the application is getting reference a letter from Holt stating that we have completed our home study. So Holt sent us a letter in the mail that week and I put it in my Show Hope folder. (I know, I'm a nerd. I love any reason to have a notebook.) Then, a few days later, another letter from Holt came in the mail. I put that one in the Show Hope notebook too. Not sure why, though. I guess in the midst of my busy busy schedule I assumed it was the reference letter we were waiting on. Anyway, last week I sat down to finally organize the notebook and when I opened the two Holt letters I learned that only one was the reference; the other was instructions on how to send our I600a to Korea.


As it turns out, we are now moving forward with Korea, at least on the business end. We still don't have a referral, but the paperwork keeps moving. Korea has our homestudy and we are now only working with the Korea department at Holt. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds official, right?

What is an I600a? The easiest way I know to explain it is it's the pre-approval application for our baby's visa. Once we're matched we will send off the I600, which is the formal visa application. This little 3 page form is very expensive too. $890 expensive. Oh me...
But it is very exciting to know that we are really requesting permission to bring home a baby! I just wish we knew who she was! According to the letter from Holt, once the I600a is submitted we only wait 3-6 months to travel when we're matched. Yay!

Lately I've been a little bummed about the whole process. This summer we had lots of referrals to look at (two of which we pursued), so it kept my mind constantly thinking about our future baby. We've had no progress on the referral front for several weeks, which has made me apathetic. Not good. I hate admitting that because I'm afraid it sounds like I don't want to adopt. I do! I cannot wait to get this going again. It's just that right now everything is so business oriented that I don't get time to think about the actual child.

On a separate note, we are still full force with fundraising. Here is a list of things that are potentially on our to-do list.
1. baked potato or chili lunch at church
2. 5K in March (this one is for sure!)
3. Malerie does your Christmas shopping for you! (this one is also for sure)
4. a dinner and silent auction (with items from Diamond's Direct and such...) in February
5. Scentsy fundraiser
6. t-shirts

If you can or want to help with any of these, just let me know. And if you know someone that has big ticket items they can donate to the dinner-auction send them my way.

Hopefully we will have a baby update soon!

Sending Hugs

Saturday, September 24, 2011

new smelly fundraiser

Are you a Scentsy fan? You know, the wickless candles? Well we have a new friend who has volunteered to give 100% of all money to our adoption. I cannot tell you how humbled I am, seriously. This is from a woman that has never met us (we have a mutual friend), but God has put in on her heart to help in our adoption.

Scentsy is such a great idea for gifts. Now is the time to start thinking about those Christmas gifts!

Go to this website and buy your little hearts out! Pass the word!

Sending Hugs

Sunday, September 18, 2011

join the korean cuties club

I was going to be cute and title this blog "korea kuties klub" until I realized its initials...
I decided to go conventional on y'all instead. :)

A few days ago I read that my friend Sonia and her family would be on their way to pick up their Korean daughter Daria. They left Friday and will be getting Daria Monday night. Wow!! Their wait has been almost a year, and while I'm sure it's been difficult and heart-breaking, the next few days will make it all worth it. Please follow their journey and pray for them with us.

We can't wait to keep expanding our little B'ham Korean Cutie Club. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011


Lately, I have heard whispers of Korea taking longer and longer to release EPs (exit permits) for their adopted children. What does that mean for us? Well, it means that once we do get a referral it will take longer for us to go get her. We planned for our wait time to be about 6 months from the time our referral was official, but it's looking more like closer to 10-12 months. I cannot tell you how sad that makes me. There isn't anything we can do except wait and use that time to study up on toddler adoption, because she will more than likely be close to 2 years old when we get her. It just breaks my heart. Anyway, I'm not much of a questioner, but this has gotten the best of my curiosity. I ran across this blog that offered an easy to understand explanation for the slow EPs. Read and pray with us that these babies will be able to come home soon.

Explanation for the Slow Exit Permits from Korea
I made phone calls last night to talk with an agency and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) representative to find out why there has been noticeable delays in the Exit Permit (EP) granted recently. Normally once an adoption agency files an EP request with MOHW, it usually takes a month or so to get MOHW to clear it. As of today, there are EPs that were submitted in May of this year that have not been approved yet. This has brought a lot of anxiety among the waiting families whether their children will come home or not.

For those of you who are not too familiar with the intercountry adoption (ICA) process, EP is like the last hurdle in the long process where the Korean Government (or MOHW) finally approves that a child may exit the country to be placed overseas. Once an EP has been granted, the parents are notified by an agency when the child will arrive home. The EP requests are made by the agencies when the number of adoption placements by the agency falls within the allotted quota limitation assigned by MOHW. If an assignment of a child is beyond that quota, then the family must wait until the next year to get the child home.

In talking with MOHW, the delays are a deliberate attempt by them to make the adoption agencies comply with their agreement to provide documents related to post adoption placements. To elaborate on this the domestic adoption agencies in Korea (Holt, Eastern, SWS, & KSS) have an agreement to provide post adoption placement reports back to MOHW, and for many years this part of the adoption process has been ignored by both the adoption agencies and MOHW. I say both because the adoption agencies have not been compliant on this agreement and MOHW for not having requested this until this year. So for over 50 years of ICA, MOHW has finally found a clause in the agreement that this portion of the agreement was not being faithfully followed by the agencies. According to MOHW, the post placement service agreement requires the agencies to report on a child until he/she is issued a US citizenship.

This all came about when a question was raised by a government representative in Korea on how they are to know how well the adopted children are coping with their new environment overseas. At this MOHW could not answer, so they turned to the agencies to provide them with an answer on post placement reports of children and whether they knew what percentage of children they have placed have the US citizenship. The agencies didn't know either. So the MOHW has requested the agencies to provide the post placement reports and a data on the number of children that have been issued the US citizenship. In the mean time all the EP requests filed with MOHW would be put on hold until the agencies comply.

I tried to reason with MOHW that granting EPs to the waiting children and the domestic agencies complying with the post placement clause seem to be two separate issues, thus EPs should be allowed so that children will go to their homes. But MOHW stated that they would not be able to release the EPs without the agencies' cooperation on providing post placement reports. They reasoned that for many years the agencies only cared about sending children abroad, but showed no interest in how children are adjusting to their new environment, thus there is no way to substantiate to those questioning on how the adopted children are doing.
MOHW maintained that this is one area that must be cleared by the agencies for them to get the waiting children released for adoption.

After much wrangling between the MOHW and the agencies, I am happy to report that today (as of 7/19/11 blog) that all four agencies have agreed to sit down with the MOHW to show that they do indeed can provide the post placement reports in the hope of getting the EPs cleared. I don't know what will come out of this meeting, most likely a determination by MOHW on requesting additional data until they are satisfied. MOHW has however given some relaxation to agencies as they seem to understand that to gather so may post placement reports at one time is impossible for the agencies. So the MOHW has asked the agencies to provide the post placement service reports on those children that were placed January and February of this year. And that the post placement reports must be provided from now on. Based on MOHW's review of the reports, they may or may not grant EPs, but I am sure the agencies will do all they can to cooperate to resolve this matter as soon as possible.

Please keep on praying for all those involved in the process, that God's wisdom that always advocates for the best interest of children will prevail and that they will all come home soon.

Sending Hugs

Thursday, September 1, 2011

home study 101

What exactly is a home study??

Before our adoption journey began I assumed it was a really scary home visit where the mean and overly critical social worker walked around with a white glove inspecting my baseboards and ceiling fans. Can I just say that, WOW, we would have failed. Also, I'm happy to say that Social Worker Kelly was neither mean nor overly critical. She wasn't the least bit intimidating! Ahhh, Malerie's fears relieved.

I learned that a home study is actually a document written by the social worker after many meetings/interviews with the family, stating his or her recommendation of the couple for adoption.

The interviews are quite in-depth, mostly about your personal life, such as schooling, discipline, childhood memories, family values, strengths and weaknesses as a couple, etc. The questions were not difficult, but very detailed.

Before our first interview I was nervous to get Gia's bedroom started. I just knew that would jinx us. Turns out, we passed!

All our friends assured us that we'd be fine, but until this Type A control freak experienced it, I found those words empty.

Now that our home study is officially complete, we have been moved to the Korea program in Holt. I'm not 100% sure about what that means right now. I'm getting emails only from the Korea coordinators, so that's a change. From what I can gather, we are now working with the people at Holt that are in direct contact with Korea's Holt office. Cool! I'm learning of fee changes and travel expectations....scary and overwhelming, by the way. We also now have access to the Families in Process site. When I have a day where I can sit and breath again (b-u-s-y) I'll check it out more. It seems to be a resource where other adoptive families are networking with one another. Maybe I'll learn some fundraising techniques, Lord knows I need them.

Speaking of, we had to move the first annual Orphan Run 5K (sponsored by Christ City Church) to March 24. Be on the lookout for more information.
I'm thinking of having another yard sale too. The other one was so successful, even if it did almost send us to the looney bin. That won't be until the spring, if we decide to do it.

I'm about to start organizing a Christmas fundraiser that will be awesome. I'm offering my Christmas shopping services for anyone who doesn't like getting out in the holiday traffic. Kevin and I always finish our shopping before December, but we still drive out to the mall late at night just to be part of the hustle and bustle. (Don't you just love using hustle and bustle when referring to Christmas?? It just fits!) I haven't nailed down all the details, but I'll probably be charging 15% of the total receipt. Let me know if you're interested or know someone else that may be.

Oh, and we have ordered more smalls and mediums in our adoption shirts. Let the ordering begin!

Sending Hugs