I have had lots of questions lately about adoption referrals and how it works to "accept" a baby. I haven't blogged in a month or so, and I thought this might make a good, informative blog to help me pass the time! It starts out pretty basic, so forgive me if you already know this!!


A referral is essentially a family's match with a child. In our case, the match will be made in South Korea by Holt Korea, our international agency. A child comes available, and if we are next on the list and are approved for a child of that age and health status, we will receive a phone call saying we have a referral. Our social worker will tell us over the phone the gender and age, and will send us detailed birth information (if available) and medical information along with pictures by email (most likely). We will have a set number of days to review the file and information and decide whether or not we would like to accept this referral and become parents to that child. Yes, referrals are rejected, most times because of some concerns over medical information. We have repeatedly been told to be "objective" when reviewing a file, in order to make the best choice, but we will see how that goes! It must be hard to be objective when looking at a picture of a child that could become your child! Anyway, if we accept the referral, there is a new set of paperwork that we have to complete, which is the acceptance paperwork. We also have to file a new petition with USCIS (immigration) that gives them the child's specific information, so that we can be approved to adopt THAT child. Our first set of immigration paperwork simply approved us to adopt, period. It is contingent upon the approval of the child's information, when we receive it. (yes there are an inane number of hoops to jump through...I realize that more and more each day...but it will be more than worth it!!) Once the immigration paperwork is completed on this end, it goes through the National Visa Center and on to South Korea. Now the ball is completely in their court. They must schedule a visa interview and a physical exam for the child, and issue a visa for them to come to the United States. Once a visa is issued, we will receive a call letting us know when he/she is coming home! This whole process takes about 3-4 months from referral to homecoming. Gotta love working with the governments of two countries to try and hurry anything along. :)


So questions about the baby....this will not be a newborn baby. We were told when we started the process to expect a referral of a baby that was between 6 and 10 months old. Right now, the referrals coming from South Korea are typically between 5 and 10 months old, and are mostly boys. The referral will absolutely be at least 5 months old, because the South Korean government will not allow a referral of a baby younger than that. So, if you tack on the 3-4 months of paperwork that have to be done before he or she comes home, our baby will be at least 8 months old at homecoming, possibly up to a year old. We knew this going in, and are perfectly accepting and happy!! People always ask what we need, and because we don't know how old or what gender the child will be, we really can't answer that right now. We will not need a lot of things that people need for young infants, but we are definitely going to create a registry when we accept a referral so that people will know at that point. As far as clothing, we are trying not to buy anything, mostly since we don't know if it is a boy or girl for sure. If we see something we just can't live without, we only buy a 12-18 month or an 18 month size. The babies tend to be on the large side as far as size, so even if it is a little big, we can always buy smaller when they come home if need be!! 


Anyway, I thought this would be interesting to people, since a lot of people don't know the full story behind referrals and homecoming. Hope you enjoyed!! 
Amber
9/23/2009

I am sooooo happy that it's finaly getting closer and closer! Power of prayer is all you need! Miss you!

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