Saturday, March 10, 2012

Our Road to Ruby

Even before Justin and I were married, we have always known we wanted to adopt a little girl from Asia. After years (literally) of researching, we finally decided that South Korea would be the best program for us. We had contacted Holt International to let them know that we wanted to partner with them as our placing agency and explained to them that I would not be 25 until November 2011 (tiny tot-I know…), but was there anything that we could be doing to speed things up in the mean time? (Typical adoptive parents…not even started yet, but wanting the process to go faster.) At the time, they told us that indeed we would have to wait until my 25th birthday to start the process, but in the meantime, I could read some suggested reading. So, I hit Amazon.

Then, unexpectedly, one day in March, I got an email from Holt telling us this upcoming May (about 6 months before my birthday) to go ahead and apply and we could start working on our Home Study. (They were willing to allow me being 6 months younger than the minimum age requirement to begin!) Our HS just couldn’t be finalized and submitted until November 2nd.

So, we applied to Holt and also applied to Villa Hope (our HS agency) in May and by June 5th, we were accepted into both programs and meeting with our first social worker for the HS paperwork process. It took us two months to gather all of our necessary paperwork to complete our part of the HS. We’re talking birth certificates, marriage certificates, physical examination forms, insurance/tax documents, our dog’s vet records, etc! (We would have been done nearly a month sooner if it hadn’t been for the people in our insurance company having no clue in the world how to provide me with all the necessary documents we needed. It was both frustrating and sad that they don’t deal with adoption enough to know the proper protocol for handling such needs.)

On September 6, Justin hand delivered our HS paperwork to Villa Hope. There was no way I was putting all those precious documents in the hands of our mail carriers! Especially since Tropical Storm Lee had omitted power in so many different homes/buildings in our area.

Our social worker was so swamped (babies coming home-YEAH!), that she wasn’t able to do our Home Study visits until October, but by my birthday on November 2, everything was completed! On November 14th, we got the Home Study to Korea approval and the wait for a referral officially began.

Now, I don’t think the waiting would have been quite so hard except that when we started the process in June, the waiting child program from Korea was running incredibly smooth and quickly. However, the Korean government is trying to go to all domestic adoption, so they are only allowing so many children to leave the country per year. Well, they met that number last October. EP’s (emigration permits) were scheduled to reset on January 1, 2012 and children would begin coming home to families once again. But they didn’t reset. Then, they said Feb 1, and they didn’t. Then they said Feb. 15th and they didn’t, so needless to say, everyone was getting pretty distraught and antsy. Also, the longer this EP crisis went on, the longer the entire adoption process was becoming. See, when EP’s reset (which FINALLY happened on March 5th-Praise the Lord!!!!), Korea has to start back from last October and pick up where they left off. (I hope this is making the teensiest bit of sense.) So, instead of being matched with a baby in just a couple of months and then going to get her about four months later, the matching process was said to take about eight months for a referral, with an additional eight-twelve months wait before we could travel to bring her home. So- to reiterate…the longer EP’s took to start up again, the longer our wait was getting each month we were not matched with our precious Ruby-Grace. Clear as mud? Great!

So…. On February 16th, I had had all I could take. Literally, I was so drained praying and waiting and holding my breath that this might be the day. Honestly, it was just a terrible morning of anxiety and frustration. I got to school, and actually cried a few silent tears. I laid my head on my desk and prayed a prayer of serenity. It had only been a wait of 4 months for a referral, which truly isn’t that long at all in the grand scheme of adoption. The problem? I was trying (stupidly) to control each day (which is truly impossible). So, I vented to my support group on FB, and then I did what I should have done in November. I truly gave it all to God. Knowing that His timing is perfect, I asked Him to help me give it up to Him. To stop worrying and fretting and being disappointed every time I got an email that wasn’t our adoption agency. I wanted to REST (literally) in knowing that He was in control and would bring us to our little girl when HE was ready to.

And honestly, in one of the most profound, movie-esque ways, my burden was literally lifted right then and there. And I had one of the smoothest, calmest, most carefree mornings I had had almost ever. For the first time in a looooong time, I felt truly at peace with the whole she-bang.

School was going good, I had a conference on my break with one of my sweet parents, and as I was walking her to the door, my cell phone rang. I just figured it was Justin. His break ends at 12, and mine begins at 11:55. Normally, we don’t get a chance to talk during the day, but I just figured that maybe he took break a little later and had a chance to chat. I was SO excited to see Holt Adoption pop up on my caller ID!!!! I snatched up my phone and said something to the effect of, “Hey! How are you? (the other person had not even had a chance to say hey, so I had no idea who I was even talking to). It’s so good to see your name on my caller ID! I haven’t talked to anyone from Holt in months!” …I’m sure they thought I was a nut. And honestly, I didn’t even care if they had bad news to tell me. They fact that Holt was calling was excitement and good enough! So, Ms. Palmer and I chatted for a few minutes about nothing really… I still had no clue what was about to happen. Then, she said, “Well, let me get to the point. We have a little girl that we think would be a great match with your family. Would you like to take a look at her file?” Ummmmm, let me think. YES!!! :D

So, trying to shorten up this post since I’m sure I’ve already lost 98% of you by now, Justin and I spent the next two weeks researching and reaching out to all sorts of different medical specialists. Over all, there are still some unknowns to our sweet girl’s case, but that’s where the excitement comes in. OUR SWEET GIRL… OURS!!!! We just knew she was ours. Good, bad, ugly, good. We will help her get through whatever comes her way.

We happily ecstatically accepted this sweet little one and returned our acceptance paperwork, which I overnighted to Holt. Everything should have been submitted to Korea on 3/2. Except, I got a few things mixed up on the paperwork and had to redo a few things, and overnight them for a second time. So, our Acceptance to Korea officially happened yesterday on 3/9. (My Mom and Dad’s 26th anniversary!)

So, when do we get our precious RUBY-GRACE? We are hoping and praying by the end of this year, but our agency is telling us about 8-12 because of the EP delays. We should have our baby girl snuggled and loved in our arms by this time next year!

And…if you are thinking you have just read the most exciting part of this story, just think again. The unimaginable happened this week and I have even MORE exciting news to share. Nope, not a biological sibling and Ruby isn’t a twin. Just wait. It’s SUPER exciting!!! :D

PS- I just had to share... my new little one was actually born in July, which also means her birthstone?  Is a RUBY! :D

6 kind thoughts:

Leisha said...

Ahh Brooke this is amazing news!! So glad to hear after I've been following for a few months. And of course her birthday is in July! God works out those cool little details! :)

Life At 1604 said...

Brooke- I have chills running down my body and tears flowing from my eyes! I'm soooooo happy!!!

Tina said...

Love your story! Ruby is precious.
8-12 months can't get here soon enough!

Thanks for sharing; gives me a boost of hope :)

Christy said...

Isn't it the best - that referral high! :) Just love it! Hugs!!! Hoping things move faster than Holt expects!

Sharon Ankerich said...

Such a beautiful story of your precious Ruby!!! LOVE how God knits it all together just so for us. Blessings sweet friend and can't WAIT to hear more! XOXO

Kayce said...

I am so behind on blogs and look at what I've missed!!!! Congratulations and many prayers for your beautiful Ruby. So very happy for you guys!!

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Our Adoption Timeline

  • June 19, 2011- We are officially "Paper Pregnant!" We have submitted our Waiting Child Application to Holt!
  • July 5, 2011- Submitted our formal Home Study Application to Villa Hope
  • September 6, 2011- Submitted all of our paperwork for our Home Study
  • October 8, 2011- Completed our First Home Visit
  • October 17, 2011- Completed our Second Home Visit
  • November 14, 2011- Home Study Approved
  • December 1, 2011- Filed our I600a
  • February 1, 2012- I600a Approval Letter
 
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