Adoption process: Hard to wait

© Cheese Curds and Kimchi

"Hard to wait," pouts Little Man. "I wish Baby E was here," he says.

I can only nod as he says this, placing a special ornament on the Christmas tree that we just received for Baby Brother. I'm afraid if I try to answer, I'll burst into tears.

It's definitely hard to wait.

I've officially reached the crazy point. Everyone reaches it at a different time. We've been waiting and hoping for 15-months now. But it's these past 3-months that have been driving me slowly to the edge.

When our EP (emigration permit) was submitted to the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, a new director had taken over the agency and EPs were flying out in 4-6 weeks. We were submitted quickly and were flying high on the swift wings of our process. But that feeling has slowly waned as the weeks went by. This week is the 14th week we have been waiting for EP approval.

I'm in a group of about 200 families who are currently in process and we celebrate one another's victories along the journey. A home study completed, a referral, a travel call. It's a way to stay hopeful and know that eventually others will celebrate our good news.

The downside to sharing so much information is knowing that other families processes are moving while we feel ours has stalled. Other families with the same EP submission dates as ours have already been approved. Another family's EP was submitted an entire month later us and was just approved in 24 days, and yet another with similar dates has already received a travel call!

I am so thrilled for these families and moms. Really, I am. Because each of those stories means that another child will soon know the security of being in a family.

But I have to acknowledge that sharp pang of anxiousness.

A little jealousy. OK. Sometimes a lot.

And mostly, the overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

I don't do helpless very well.

So we are taking things one day at a time. Sometimes one hour at a time.

When I feel that fluttering in my stomach and my eyes fill with tears, I take a deep breath and hold fast to the belief that our time is coming. I picture his face and hope he knows how much he is loved. I hope he is being showered with love and kindness as we wait to be together.

I tell myself that when we hold our son and finally bring him home, the heartsick feeling of longing will be forgotten. One day I'll remember this difficult time, but through the softer, foggier lens of life.

I also remind myself that as I experience these feelings while waiting Little Brother to come home, he will likely feel as much loss, longing and sadness when he leaves his foster family in Korea. Which makes my heart hurt even more.

Better to dream about our family's future. I picture us together years from now. Two brothers wrestling with Daddy in the back yard. Beautiful little boys laughing as they explore the woods together. Bunk beds. Bedtime snuggles with a child in each arm.

These thoughts make it a little easier to keep going.

Because boy, is it ever hard to wait.

Please keep the waiting children and families in your heart this holiday season. It really does help!

Also, the ornament seen in the photo was purchased to support the Gift-of-identity.org, a fund to support international adoptees visit the country of their birth. Grants are available to adoptees so that they may travel and explore their native culture and heritage.



  1. I think you've come up with some great ways to help your son through this wait, and you too.Thinking of you as you wait. It is just hard. Period.

  2. Oh I can so sympathize! We started our adoption process over 3 years ago, finally got our referral last January and are still waiting for our EP submission to happen. I think if it weren't for our 3 boys keeping us busy, I'd go completely crazy. Hang in there!

    1. Lisa, there is definitely something to already having one child at home to keep your mind off of things. Or at least temporarily distract you! So sorry that you are still waiting for your EP submission. How exasperating! Are you with Eastern?

    2. Yes, we are with Eastern. We just got updated pictures of her last week which almost makes it harder...although seeing her was such a nice early Christmas present. :)

  3. Waiting is tough. Have you had a referral for 15 months? What is the wait between referral and travel these days? I know it was quite lengthy. Hopefully the changes will speed things up a bit.

    Hang in there.

    1. Hey Heather! We received our referral in August. Timeline between referral/travel really depends on what agency you are with. Eastern/Holt seem to have much longer waits. SWS has the fastest times, but they still vary greatly between one US agency and the next. Average for SWS seems to be somewhere around 8-11 months to bring them home post-referral.


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