“Is there any news on the adoption?”
Well...funny you should ask.
On Thursday, June 2nd, we got a letter from our US agency. I'll try to give you the Reader's Digest version of this letter in a way that doesn't cause you to completely glaze over:
The Korean government has established 'quotas' for the number of children placed for international adoptions. Each year they reduce this number by 10%, with the ultimate goal of ending all adoptions (they do not want to be seen as a 'baby export' country, amongst many other reasons but this is not the time or place for that discussion). This year, they've already reached their quota. Most years, they do not reach quota until closer to the end of the year. But apparently in 2011 the number of babies available for adoption was up, and as a result more referrals were made. However, not all of these referrals/children would be granted an Exit Permit because of the quota. No more referrals will be made until Oct/Nov of this year, with travel sometime in January '12 or later. Additionally, there is no guarantee the babies will be under the age of 12 months at the time of referral.
- we may or may not get matched this fall, as originally expected.
- if we do, there may or may not be an exit permit for her to travel in 2012
- it could feasibly be 2013 before we have our baby girl
- she may or may not be an infant under 12 months as originally expected. She might be 14, 18, 22 months old (while the upside to this will be less time dealing w/ diapers - adopting a walking, korean- talking toddler is a whole different bag of tricks)
- it's all a big crap shoot and anyone's guess!
I'll point out again the main reasons why we chose the Korea adoption program:
- it is a stable program that has changed little in 30-50 years
- the program is relatively quick, around 12 months start to finish
- the babies are young (under 12 months) and healthy
- the travel is relatively easy – only a 3 day required trip (hooray this part hasn't changed but maybe I shouldn't say that out loud!)
As you might imagine, this was a pretty big blow. All the reasons we chose Korea for were now null and void.
We've been at this Trying To Add A Second Child thing for literally years now. An uncountable amount of time and mental energy has been devoted to this singular quest. If we weren't actively involved in an adoption (Russia), we were talking, saving, researching, speculating about it (Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal). We've lost thousands of dollars on false starts and back outs. It seemed that no matter what path I followed, a giant road block dropped down just as we neared the destination.
I'll spare you all the details of the emotional downward spiral I went into, but there was stomping and fit throwing and tears and fists shaken at the sky and wine consumption. I allowed myself to wallow in that place for a while. I went into damage control mode and halfheartedly researched other countries as back up plans (this was sadly disappointing, not many other options out there). I imagined quitting all together and remaining a neat, happy family of three.
We then got some encouraging news that we might be among the group of families that gets a referral in the fall and travels sometime in 2012, possibly the early part of '12. Still no guarantees on the age of the children, and as for this part I just slowly got my brain and heart to accept this, even though I was initially adamantly opposed to toddler adoption.
Yes, it really is all speculation and even the agency cannot tell us what might happen. We might NOT get that fall of this year referral. It COULD be 2013 before we have another child, with our paperwork expired and necessitating redoing and repaying for all of it. We COULD wind up with a toddler, who will speak Korean baby talk and suffer serious grieving issues when we tear her apart from her foster family she's come to know and love.
But I started thinking that doesn't that mean there is just as much chance that it will all work out? Why NOT be hopeful? I know, I know, because preparing for the worst protects your heart from breaking to some extent. But it also generates negative energy. It makes you bitter and agitated (and by "you" I mean "me"). And, if you believe in such things, visualizing certain outcomes can cause them to become reality.
So, I decided I'm hopeful. It could be fine and not be too far off from our original expectations. Maybe it will be one of those worst case scenarios but that it will still all work out and be okay.
I had an amazing dream the other night. In the dream, a foreign looking landscape ticked along in choppy movie reel fashion; small bulbous trees flew by outside of a subway window, as we cradled a beautiful tiny girl. She was crying and clinging to me tightly. She settled into my arms as Bek and Brad huddled around us and cooed and consoled her and the landscape changed to enormous modern buildings. I could not tell her age but this did not seem to matter. There was a feeling of contentment and fulfillment, the culmination of a long hard journey.