Monday, November 5, 2012

An International Adoption

Today I am thankful for...

~ Our international adoption.

~ Friends I have met in the adoption world AND in the blog world! 

A few of us will be putting our adoption experiences down on paper each Monday for the month of November.  A different adoption topic each week. 

Maybe these weekly blogs may help someone out there with questions regarding adoption?  We hope so.

Domestic VS International Adoption
     The entire adoption process cannot be a cookie cut out.  Where adoptive parents have similar batches of paperwork to fill out, classes to take, and background checks to be run, the decision to adopt domestically vs internationally is based upon each family's unique needs.  There is no general right or wrong course of action to take but rather some serious soul searching and decision making needing to be done.
     For my family, we chose to go the international route.  At the time, the state we were living in had some very sad stories regarding domestic adoptions that did not work out for the adoptive family.  Having three children who we knew would fall in love with another sibling immediately, we did not want to chance having a baby for a few months before having a birth parent change their mind right before a court date leaving our hearts and arms empty.  We wanted to avoid the possibility of that trauma. 
    Notice I said a baby and not a toddler, pre schooler, or a child even older than that.  We weighed in the fact that we wanted to keep the birth order the way it was.  Our case worker was the one who suggested it after a handful of interviews.  It was great foresight on her part. 
    So the decision to adopt internationally came rather quickly for us.  To be quite honest, the next step was decided on rather quickly as well.  Which country to work with. The facts were:  We know we most likely had to travel abroad; We had three children that would be left home with a caretaker; We could not afford to travel abroad more than once.  We ended up choosing South Korea.
     While looking at South Korea, we wanted to know it was a financially safe program.  We studied the history of international adoptions and soon learned that the first international adoption took place right after the Korean War ended.  It was not only the oldest but safest financially, and you have to address the finances from every angle.  (Even if you aren't comfortable with that.)  You have to go into adoption with eyes wide open from every angle.
     The history, security, and the travel requirements with that particular country fit our family needs completely.   And as I type, I must also state that escort programs are available with some countries like South Korea if you opt to go that route instead of traveling abroad.  We opted to travel, to take photos, to take video, to experience our son's culture as much as we could in order to relive those moments for him through our memories we created. 
The next photos were taken the morning we flew back to the states with our little man.  The woman was his foster mother who took care of him for us while we waited for his travel papers to be issued. She took care of our son for almost six months! 

     Just two days ago, November 3, we celebrated another adoption anniversary day!  Hard to believe it has been six years already.  With South Korea, you do not finalize the adoption over there.  You bring your child home as their "guardian" under the watchful eye of the American adoption agency you work with who partners with a Korean adoption agency.  After six months and a handful of post-placement visits, you are cleared to finalize the adoption.  There are no worries or "what if's" while waiting unless an issue rises on your part.  Each country is different when it comes to the finalization.  Your caseworker will help you with this.

     When we traveled, we left our other children at home.  No, this was not easy to do.  Praise God we were able to find the perfect childcare arrangements for them!  (And we did not have family in the area at the time either.)  We had a large network of friends.  Our son's future godparents were able to stay in our home at night so the children would be in their own beds each night.  That routine and security helped us all during the transition.  It really gave David and I a peace of mind. During the day, fellow home school friends took turns caring for the girls every day.  We were SO blessed by all these friends!  My in-laws were too far away and aging, and my mother was at home taking care of my father who was going through chemotherapy treatments.  They were our prayer warriors!

     The future holds so much for our son, for ALL children who are placed for adoption.  One of the goals we have talked about with our son is to go back to South Korea some day.  We want him to see, smell, and taste his Korean culture.  It is a long way off, but I know he'll get there eventually.  In the meantime, we try to bring it into our home if he wants it.  We celebrate his Gotcha Day (April 9) each year by doing something culturally.  It may be dining out in a real Korean restaurant or site seeing the Korean market in our area.  Once, we took him to visit a Korean Catholic Church.  And we have been quite blessed to have a wonderful neighbor who is from Korea herself!

     The most important thing we can do for the adoption cause is to pray.  Pray for the birth mothers who sacrifice so much.  Pray for the children who are placed for adoption.  Pray for the adoptive families that they may continue to grow daily in their roles.  Pray for the unborn especially.  They need a voice.  Will you be their voice?

     Please stop by my friend's blog... Forever, For Always, No Matter What.  Jen is hosting this great adoption link up each Monday through the month of November.  You will find other families who are sharing their stories each week as well.  If you know someone who is contemplating adoption, either placing or adopting, please direct them to Jen's site.  God bless!

~  Patty  ~


  1. Patty, thank you for sharing this wonderful post. Your experience is sure to help many families and children. Blessings to you and your beautiful family! And I am not surprised that you had such sweet people in your life to care for your girls! : )

  2. Patty, this is a great post, so informative, and I love the pictures!! thanks for sharing your journey!

  3. As I told Gardenia, it's awesome to see all of you great ladies linked up together! This is certainly going to be a powerful series. I look forward to following a long. May the *force* of the Holy Spirit be with you all:)

  4. I never get tired of hearing these stories! It really is best to go into the situation with eyes wide open and yes that does mean looking at the financial piece of the puzzle. South Korea certainly is a wonderful country to adopt from and I am looking forward to taking our girls for a visit some day, we really loved our time there. Thanks for linking up!

  5. Oh, my heart. So beautiful it brings me to tears.


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