Our home study visits are in 2 weeks! I am really, really hoping we can be completely done with the home study by the end of March. I was already eager to get through it as quickly as possible, but the out-of-state clearances and change of home study company just made it tough. Friday will mark one month since we decided on a country and adoption agency. Today marks two weeks since we were officially approved and accepted into the program by both our agencies here and in South Korea.
So in two weeks, we’ve completed all of the paperwork and appointments and clearances. That’s not too terrible. I’m going to spend the next two weeks finishing up some house projects before our social worker actually visits and finishing a book she recommended about adoption called The Connected Child.
We will need a total of 3 home visits before our social worker can write up our home study. She will need 2 – 3 weeks to assemble it after the visits, and then it will be sent to us and our adoption agency for approval. If everything looks good, it will be sent to South Korea for translation and review. During this time, we will also file for our USCIS pre-approval. If everything goes smoothly, we will receive a referral for a child 1 – 3 months after our packet is sent to South Korea.
Overall, the agencies we talked to estimated 2 – 4 months for the home study process.
So far, our timeline looks like this:
- January 9th: Choose agency & country program. Choose local home study provider.
- January 15th: Mail applications and pre-approval paperwork to agency & home study social worker.
- January 17th: Find out we need to switch home study providers.
- January 19th: Choose new home study provider and submit application.
- January 24th: Officially accepted into South Korea program (clock starts here)
- January 24th: Begin Hague Training
- January 25th: Josh’s medical evaluation
- January 25th: Kids’ medical evaluations
- January 25th: TBI background check
- January 26th: FBI fingerprinting & results
- January 29th: My medical evaluation
- January 30th: Psych evaluation
- January 30th: All documents notarized
- January 31st: Global Entry Interview (not required)
- February 1st: Local background checks
- February 2nd: Finish Hague Training
- February 4th: GA clearance
- February 5th: FL clearance
- February 5th: References all received
- February 5th: Schedule social worker visits
I left a few things out — like getting letters from our bank, josh’s work, etc. But you get the gist. We started doing everything we possibly could as quickly as we could after getting our SK approval.
So now our anticipated (WITH SUCH A GIANT GRAIN OF SALT) timeline looks like:
- Week of February 19th: Receive Psych Report
- February 21st: First home visit
- February 26th: Second home visit
- Early March: Third home visit
- Late March: Home study sent to us and agency
- April: Submitted to South Korea, USCIS part 1
- June – August: Receive and accept referral
- Fall 2018/ Winter 2019: USCIS part 2, EP submission, EP approval, court date
- Spring 2019: Korea trip 1
- Spring – Summer 2019: Korea trip 2 — Officially a family of 5!
Here are a few of the variables that could dramatically impact the timeline (AKA: if you want to throw up an extra prayer for us, here are some things on our mind):
- We are just hoping everything looks great with our home study on the first try!
- We were open to a variety of special needs, which means having doctors look over our referral before acceptance.
- Emigration Permit (EP) approval: This is done in batches on a completely unpredictable basis. Could be 2 months. Could be 4 months. If we submit our dossier the week after a batch of EPs were issued, our paperwork could essentially just sit there for 4 months.
- Court Date: Takes 6 – 8 weeks to get a court date — again this is an estimate, not a promise. At this point in the process, the birth mother will also be notified about the impending adoption and can change her mind and decide to parent the child instead. This isn’t actually a bad thing for the child if the birth mother has had a change in circumstances and is now comfortable parenting. But it would be a huge deal for us as we would inevitably grieve the loss of the child we prepared for and start over at the referral stage.
- Travel: The birth mother is notified between trips. If they can’t find her, they publish a public notice for a set amount of time. So the time between trips can vary based on how current/accurate the birth mother’s contact information is.
- Unknowns: Laws and circumstances can change at any time during the process. Some parents make it all the way to preparing to travel in other countryies and then are informed the program is suspended until further notice. We don’t anticipate anything like that in South Korea as the intercountry adoption relationship is really well established between South Korea and the United States. But. There is absolutely no certainty that things will go as planned.
Whew, this was long! I’d been meaning to write more about the timeline for a while (aside from the abbreviated version in the sidebar that I will keep updated as we go!). Ultimately, our agency told us to anticipate 14 – 18 months start to finish.
I’m trying to keep an up-to-date timeline here.