First, the details we can provide. Since our little guy isn't in our custody yet, we can't provide any identifying information (his Korean name, photos - bummer, I know, or any medical information) so here's what we can say:
1. We are planning on naming him Dylan Neil Jensen (and will include his Korean name in his middle name as well). Yes, he is named after Bob Dylan and his grandpa Neil :)
2. He is currently 24 months old.
3. He loves cars, slides and food.
Usually, the adoption process starts with finding an agency, going through the home study process, and waiting for a referral, but we decided to do things a bit differently. We started researching the adoption process in November 2016 and had NO CLUE what we were going to do. Domestic? Infant? Foster to adopt? International- and if so where? Talk about overwhelming...
After long discussions and lots of reading, research, and questions we decided that we would focus on international adoptions and decided to look for a little boy. We didn't necessarily like the idea of an infant (been there, done that) so an older child was on our radar. Basically, we knew that we didn't want to disrupt the current birth order in our home, so he had to be under 5 years old, and that whatever child we committed to couldn't have medical issues any more severe than our current children's medical needs.
|(What's one more?)|
We found Dylan's profile on our agency's website and contacted them right away. We weren't looking for a specific child or country, but Dylan's profile pulled on our heart strings and we met the Korean requirements - which are fairly extensive. After we talked to our adoption case manager we decided to go for it and committed to pursuing his adoption. After that, the paperwork started...
|(And that's only the beginning...)|
So. much. paperwork. And so very many appointments. Korea has some specific requirements, such as a psychological exam, that you won't find with most of the other countries. Honestly, though, our psychologist was amazing and informative, so I'm glad we went through that process (and passed, ha!).
This process was enhanced by the fact that we have four adults living in this household and everyone had to provide background checks from every state they lived in, child abuse clearances, and fingerprints that would go to both the state bureau of investigation and the FBI. Everyone in the household had to get a medical exam (kids included) that would prove we were able to care for our adopted child and, I suppose, not give him any communicable diseases.
|(On our way to get our fingerprints taken.)|
Nick and I also had to provide copies of our passports, which we either didn't have or it was expired (oops). Funny side-note: The employee taking our passport photos teased me pretty hardcore about my previous passport picture. Admittedly, it was truly terrible, but still. When it came time to take our pictures, he told us to "smile modestly" which sounded hilarious and made it very hard for me to actually "smile modestly". Thankfully, that photo still turned out much better than my previous one...
|(Ahh...the post office...)|
At this point, our home study has been approved by the state, we have been accepted to Korea (ATK), and are waiting on US immigration paperwork before we can move on to getting Dylan's exit paperwork started on the Korean side.
Estimates are anywhere from 12 to 18 months before we will bring him home, and, of course, we're hoping it's closer to 12 months. His room (that he will share with Deacon) is already waiting for him...
We went with a desert/New Mexico theme - and I had way more fun putting it all together than I probably should have.
Anyway, most of the rest of this process is waiting for everyone else to do their portion of the paperwork (US, Korea) so for now...we wait...