Decisions Decisions

Ahggg. Feeling a bit frustrated. It's that nagging feeling you get when something isn't settled. And this adoption process can certainly be unsettling!

Here's the issue: We are working with two agencies--one in the US (Lifelink) and a larger one based in Korea (Eastern). Eastern has run into some troubled times and one huge concern to us is the time frame from referral to placement. It is currently 7-9 months and was recently announced that it will not be decreasing.

This is a change from the previous 4-6 month range.

And there is reason to think that the wait times will continue to increase. The problem is with the Emigration Permits (EPs) that are required to bring children home. Korea issues a limited number to Eastern. From what we can gather, last year Lifelink (or Eastern...this part is unclear) had more adoptions than they did EPs. Families who received referrals in Sept. 2009 finally traveled to Korea and bring home their children in April 2010. Supposedly that means less permits available for 2010, which will affect other families later in the year.

A few other things to consider: Eastern announced a 10% decrease in the the amount of passports they are issuing per year. And they are difficulty keeping foster mothers.

Obviously this is not good news.

So although we like Lifelink, the fact that they only work with Eastern is a problem. I feel like we are at about the 3rd date phase of a new relationship. And do you remember that "uh oh" feeling you got about the 3rd date with someone who wasn't right for you?

Oh sure, they were nice, they took you out to dinner, they made polite conversation. But you just felt like you weren't a match.

We have that feeling--it's starting to be a bit awkward. We love our social worker J. She's been super helpful and enthusiastic. But we aren't so sure about the team behind her.

We just don't have a lot of confidence that things are going to go smoothly. It's a matter of trust. And we don't have a super great foundation on that front yet.

So it's unsettling. We are wondering if staying with our current agency is the right move for us or not. We aren't that far into this relationship. Should we cut our losses and move on?


Doing more research. Stay tuned.


  1. i think this is one of those instances where you need to go w/your gut. However, I do what to just share w/you my perspective based on going through 2 adoptions, each in different countries & each w/different agencies. First, no one wants to wait any longer than absolutely necessary, but I would not switch agencies just b/c right now one is quoting a slightly smaller wait time form referral to travel. one thing i learned going through this twice, is that things in the int'l adoption world constantly change and there are so guarantees or 100% stable programs. Second, I think the most important thing is that you can trust your SW & agency and have a good relationship w/them. If you feel you can find a better relationship somewhere else, I'd definitely switch.

    I know this process is scary and uncertain - I hope whatever you decide you can find some peace w/your choice and trust that even when you experience delays, process changes and setbacks that eventually the child meant for you will be yours.

  2. I agree with Kristen. I have also finalized two adoptions from two different countries with two different agencies. There are uncertainties, surprise policy changes, unexpected slowdowns, and dreaded country closings everywhere. It's very hard to feel secure in your adoption plans. My 2-cents is to make sure you feel comfortable with your agency. Our first agency turned out to be incompetent when we were in country and we had problems. They looked good on paper, but when time came for them to show their stuff... they didn't have anything and we had a rough time dealing with stuff without them. Find the agency that you love and trust and stick with them. In the end, having an agency that knows their stuff and supports you with great pre- and post-adoption services is more important than waiting an extra 2-3 more months for your child.

  3. I'm a little late to this post, but wanted to add my two cents, if that's ok :)
    I know a lot of people are considering not working with agencies who work solely with Eastern, since they've been having so many issues. And, from what I've seen with my friends, it's true - children referred after April of this year will not be coming home until 2011. It makes me worry that the wait for those families (and kids) will become longer and longer, which can be soooo difficult.
    I need to read some more recent posts to see what you've decided, but may I propose a different idea? Both of our girls were "waiting children". They each have special needs, but the one we have home and the one we will be bringing home soon are beautiful, intelligent, capable girls. And as far as timing? We decided to adopt a second child in Dec. of '09, found our daughter in Jan. of 10, officially accepted her referral in March, and we're waiting for our travel call. It's a FAST process. Of course, I would never encourage someone to adopt a child with special needs just for the speed of the process. It has to be something you're fully on board with and ready to deal with. It has not been easy parenting a child with sp. needs, and we can only imagine what it will be like with two, but if your hearts, your minds, and your wallets can handle it, adopting a waiting child is an amazing way to start a family. Feel free to email me if you want to talk more about it! (Plus I'm bad about checking follow-up comments. :) )

  4. Thanks Kristen and Jen for your solid advice! The best part about putting our feelings out there in the blogosphere is being able to get support from people like you guys!

    Our concern isn't so much the specific issue of time between referral and travel call per se. But when you add that, plus several other things together, and it starts to feel like too many checks in the wrong column. At this point it's challenging to know who we feel more comfortable with!


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