Dear Diary.... Why Korea? (and other questions we hear.)
Obviously, a natural question people want to know the answer to is "Why did you adopt from Korea?" Sometimes this is followed up with "....because there are so many children in the US that need homes."
Here is my short answer: Because it was what we were MEANT to do.
No one that I have ever met starts on an adoption path with all the answers (or any, for that matter) up front. We looked into all kinds of different adoption plans - open, domestic, infant, private, foster care, international. For us, we had to decide what we could handle and what we felt comfortable with. No one wins if you put yourself in a situation that your gut told you not to get into. So, while I'm not going to list off all the reasons we chose NOT to go down a different path, I will give you some snippets into what got us here.
For reference, I am talking about our adoption of O. Since we are in the middle of another adoption now, I don't think it's a good idea to detail out that journey since we are still in this beginning/waiting portion of it.
When we really felt like Korea was the place we were supposed to pursue, I had more questions and than answers. First of all, I am terrified of flying. Every flight I have ever taken always has a lead up filled with tears, lack of sleep, fearing the worst, and drama. I don't mean for it to be that way, it just is. I am 100% convinced that I'm going to die in a plane crash. So, naturally, my first thought is "God, you know I don't like flying. Why on EARTH would you put me on a plane for 15 hours (two times)?" This is where I needed that no-joke-this-is-what-you-are-called-to-do sign. Something so big that I couldn't mistake it for anything else. And we got that. And I'm so grateful for that. It gave me a sense of peace that I didn't expect. (Not about the flying, though. Still terrified of that part.) There were other questions outside of the flying, obviously. How do we keep his culture in his life? How will it affect him to have white parents? Can we actually do this? Are we even meant to be parents? The list goes on and on. I won't say we answered all of our questions before we said "yes" but we still said yes. While research and fact-finding is important, you can research yourself into or out of anything. You can't over-analyze everything or you'll be back to square one.
Facts about our adoption:
1. Our agency in the US is awesome. Dillon International is who we used and I could not be more thankful. They have been doing international adoption since the 70's and, in my mind, are the #1 experts in the matter. Our case worker is fantastic, the process is smooth (notice, I didn't say easy), and proper expectations are set. In a situation where so much is unknown, knowing what to expect from your agency is key. Our case worker tirelessly answered all my questions, listened to me cry, talked to me about absolutely nothing if I needed it. She is more than just the person who handles our paperwork and that has made all the difference in the world.
2. The agency in Korea is amazing. Eastern Social Welfare Society is who our US agency partners with (I think that's what you call it? Works with?). I could write for days about how great they are. Seriously. But the short version is this: they rock. The workers there are kind, help you so much while you are in Korea, have heartfelt activities you participate in while there, etc. They also are involved with a lot of things in addition to adoption. They help single mothers, children with disabilities, and the list goes on.
3. The foster care system is top notch. I do not know the ins and outs of how it works but the end result is a lot of caring individuals doing wonderful things for these kids while they wait for their forever families. O's foster mom was a jewel. She prepared him for his homecoming. She recognized his intelligence and taught him a lot. She loved him so well. She pours herself into the children she brings to her home and it shows. She was kind and loving when she met us. She was wonderful. Another topic I could write about forever.
I have said this before but it's worth repeating. Our experience was just that; our experience. I know there are people out there who are looking into adoption and are overwhelmed. There are so many ways you can go. It would be nice if you could just magically know what to do. But it's not that way.
The best things I can recommend are this:
1. Research. Look into everything. Talk to people you know who have adopted. Don't assume one way is better than another. Spend the time to learn the processes that are out there.
2. Sit down with your spouse (or if you're single, a trusted person who knows you) and go over your research. Write out a pros and cons list if it helps. Decide what is a deal breaker for you and make sure it truly is a deal breaker.
3. Pray. Think. Trust. Really think about your choices and, for the love, bring God into it. I know God is in everything we do. Daily. But he was so, so, so, in our adoption journey there were times I thought I could reach out and touch him. Once we new our way, we had to trust it. Like most adoptions, we hit some rough patches in the process. But we had to keep trusting that it would be ok. And it was.
If you are looking to adopt, know this. As cliche as it sounds know that it will be hard but it will be so worth it.