The post where everyone finds out how old I am...Like many countries, Korea has an age limit for adoptive parents. There have been a few occasional exceptions and age waivers were granted if parents had previously adopted a Korean child, the other parent was under 45 years old, AND if the child had considerable special needs.
Other than that, the child needs to be home before the oldest parent turns 45.
For us, that date is April 29, 2014. I'm six months older than The Man (and he never lets me forget it) and so on April 29, 2014, we will officially age out of the program.
What's that mean for our adoption?Here is where things get a bit sticky. With all the new rules, no one is sure at what part of the process the age restriction is applied. It's taking much longer to get the kids home after referral since the process now requires court dates and two trips to Korea. The program is also in flux and has been moving extremely slow as new processes are worked out.
And since the adoptions are now completed in the courts, there may be less wiggle room regarding age than before.
We've had many conversations with the director of our U.S. agency, who in turn had many conversations with our Korean agency. They have determined (and hopefully this is the final and correct decision) that we must have our referral and be submitted for our emigration permit (EP) before I turn 45.
So...we just wait for the EP, right?
How long will that take? Get ready, cause this is where is gets really confusing.
The EP quotaEach year the Ministry in Korea sets an EP quota which is 10% less than the quota of the year before. This is part of Korea's effort to eventually phase out international adoptions. The total number of EPs for the year is divided by 12 to get the monthly numbers, which is then divvied up between the agencies.
The number of EPs granted to the agencies are determined by the 2/3 formula. This means the EPs granted each month can only be 2/3 of the total number of domestic adoptions in Korea. So, a slow months of domestic adoptions in Korea = a lower number of EPs for international adoptions granted each month.
This year's EP annual quota is 743, according to this MPAK blog posting, and the blog also says that the Ministry will be working with agencies to come up with a plan should the agencies not meet their monthly targets for domestic adoptions.
The good newsDid you follow all that? Unless you are in process, I doubt it. So here's what it means for us...our timeline was going to be tight.GOING TO BE....because as of September 13, 2013 we were submitted for our EP!
This is amazing. Freaking amazing! I can't tell you how shocking this is because the timelines for many other families going through this process right now has been 4-5 months from referral acceptance to EP submission.
I don't know how (OK, I probably do...thank you Grandma!!) this happened, but it bought us some time.
Plus, remember earlier in the post that the powers that be in Korea said that the EP submission would effectively stop the clock, meaning that even if I turn 45 during this process, we could still complete the adoption.
I am knocking on wood as I type this. As anyone who has been through this process knows, anything can and will change when you least expect it.
But for now, I'm taking this good news and celebrating!