Oh my gosh. There really aren't enough words to tell you how different this adoption process is from the first! The only words I can use to really describe it is ROLLER COASTER.
This whole adoption has been filled with long waits, breathless anticipation, feeling like you aren't making progress at all, only to be catapulted forward and have things move so quickly you can hardly catch your breath.
On Wednesday, our social worker emailed (?!) and told us the good news was that we had received preliminary approval from the courts in Korea on 2/7/14 and had officially entered the 14-day waiting period. Yay!
She then followed it with the bad news---the courts had closed and were not processing final adoption decrees or hearing any new cases. The closure was for an unspecified amount of time but we were now on hold, likely not traveling until the middle or end of March.
We were sick. We have spent the past two months living with the unsettling feeling that "any minute now" we'd find out about something--first waiting for our court appearance and now waiting for our return. It's been hard to settle and relax when all we could think about was when are we going? And now, when it seemed that we'd be heading out the door any day, we find out that we still had weeks to wait.
My parents had already begun the 5-day drive to reach Wisconsin. Based on estimates, we figured that our case would be closing on February 24. Of course, no guarantees, but because most families are only given 2-4 days notice before having to return to Korea, we opted to play it safe and have them here. The new timeline meant that they'd be hanging out in Milwaukee, able to enjoy all it's Polar Vortex gloriousness. I called my folks and told them not to hurry.
I cried that night. Felt the lowest I've been throughout this whole 18-month process. I moped around and then slowly started trying to find the bright side of things. We'd have more time to prepare. Maybe Mom and I could sew some curtains for the boys room. I started making lists to help keep me busy for the next few weeks.
And then, we received a huge reminder just how crazy this whole process is. On Thursday, The Man started calling and texting me. CALL ME!! Less than 24-hours after we were told we weren't traveling, we received another email (really, isn't there a better way to notify us than email?!) telling us that we had a visa appointment in Korea and we needed to be there next week.
Of course, the social worker didn't tell us exactly when our visa appointment date was or when we had to be there and we frantically tried calling her. After 30-minutes of busy signals, someone finally answered and told us that our social worker had sent the same email to 7 families and we were all calling. Duh. Not like we've been waiting months on end for this or anything.
I reached out to other families who had court dates the same date as us. Two of them had received the same info on Wednesday, followed by the same shocking announcement on Thursday! One family has a March 6 visa appointment, and the other has a March 10 appointment.
About 4 hours after the email, we had answers. As of February 26, we were officially Little Brother's parents! In addition, we have a March 11 visa appointment and so, need to be in Korea next week. We had a little more notice than some of the families, which is greatly appreciated. But it's definitely not the 2-week notice that our social worker had told us that "every one of their families had been getting". (Thank goodness again, for our networking group. I knew that most families have only received 2-4 days notice, so was fairly sure our social worker was mistaken.)
What was really awesome is that my folks pulled into town just hours after we got all the great news! So....it worked out just great. Thank heavens! We've had a wonderful few days together. Time to wrap up work. Time to take care of details that will make life after we return a little easier. And possibly, a little time to breathe!
We head to Chicago on Wednesday. Fly to Seoul on Thursday morning. Arrive on Friday night. A few days to recover and we'll take custody of him either Monday or Tuesday. And Tuesday afternoon, a visa hearing.
Can't wait to start the next phase of our life. And so very happy to be getting off this roller coaster! We are coming, Little Brother!!