We got word yesterday that our EP or Emigration (Exit) Permission was approved! And we also got word that our file had been submitted to court. There is a bit of a story behind how we found out actually.
To begin with through this process I have been able to meet people all over the nation and actually world who are going through the same thing. It is one of those things where this person knows someone who knows someone etc and so through that I’ve built up quite a community of people for support. We cheer each other on at the different stages we reach. Someone had heard on Tuesday that one of the other Korean agencies had gotten EP approval and been submitted to court. Early yesterday morning we began to hear that our Korean agency (who works with 6-8 different agencies in the US) had also gotten approvals and court submits with people who had been submitted to the government the same time we had from people with different US agecies. And so long before our US agency was even open two good friends (Amy and Rachel) at the same stage as myself started sending notes back and forth….”do you think we’ll hear?” and so on. Finally I figured I could stare at my email all morning waiting or go and attempt to be productive. I figured if I went to mow the grass then at least when I finished we would have news. And so I mowed the front (with our push mower) and stopped and checked and nothing. More messages back and forth to Amy and Rachel to confirm they too had not heard anything and were trying to stay occupied as well. And so I mowed the back. And checked again. Still nothing. At this point I had Clint call our agency. I have him call often because I’m afraid of bad news and so I somehow think that it is better if he hears it. Turns out that our SW was out of the office yesterday and no one else had gotten any emails with the news and so one of the other social workers (who I actually went to high school with) told us she would check and get back to us. Funny side note, our social worker was out of the office the day we got our referral and the day we got submitted for EP and then again yesterday. I think I need to get a schedule of when she is going to be gone so that I can know when I’ll hear about the next step. Anyway so I stared at Clint’s phone for the next 5 minutes waiting for it to ring, only to have my phone ring! We got the good news. It only took a few minutes to get confirmation that my friends Amy and Rachel also got news and then we found out that some friends a step ahead of us got word that they got court dates! It was an exciting day.
So where are we at now and what steps do we need to do to get this little guy home? On the list of 11 steps we have made it through step 4. I know, it seems like we should be so much farther 18 months after accepting the referral. The good thing is that the next number of steps often go much quicker than the first 4. Our next step will be to be notified of our court date. The group before us is getting word of their dates, and I think the average is between 40-70 days for that (I’m hoping closer to the 40!). And with that court date we will then plan our travel to Korea for our first trip. During that trip we will meet with Edric and his foster mom a couple of times and appear before the judge. We will then come home and wait for preliminary and final approvals which take 3-8 weeks. Once we have final approval we can plan our return trip, take custody, have his visa interview and fly home. I anticipate assuming things go as they have been going that we will be home sometime in October/November. So that means that the last 7 steps will take 4-5 months while the first 4 have taken 18 months. Again all that is assuming nothing weird happens, and I’ve had friends who have waited 6+ months for court dates and others that have waiting 2 months for final approval, but in general I think we are looking at another 4-5 months. Which doesn’t seem too bad!