Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Car Seats

Yesterday we installed both car seats (one in my Murano and one in Paul's 4-Runner).  Whoever wrote the instructions for those things should be punished.  If the cord is orange, it should not be labeled as yellow in the book. And you should clearly label that you either use the "anchor" or the seat belt.  And don't give us some long obnoxious belt that really isn't needed. 

Thank you goes out to the Aus family for coming over and checking our work. :)

Jae's Mom

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Grandparents and Travel Plans

I don't know how it happened, or when, but my parents just bought a home in Owatonna!  Looks like Jae's Grandparents will be close.  :)

No other Jae news.  One week closer to traveling, which is awesome.  I can't believe a week and a half has went by since we got that wonderful phone call.  We have waited so long for Jae to come home and now time is flying like crazy! 

Our one Korea travel plan is that we are going to request volunteering in the nursery while we are there!  The adoption agency nursery is two floors down from where we are staying and our social worker suggested we volunteer in the nursery for an afternoon.  How cool would that be?  Mostly our job would entail rocking babies to sleep and/or giving them a bottle.  I love it.  The thought of Jae being rocked to sleep by another adoptive mother is very comforting to me and I would like to give that to another adoptive mother. 

Jae's Mom

Friday, May 20, 2011

San Diego

Having fun in San Diego!  So far we have made stops at the USS Midway, San Diego Zoo (which was awesome by the way), Gaslamp Quarter, Petco Park, Broken Yoke (thanks Brad, great recommendation!) etc.  Today we are going to take the ferry over to Coronado island and do some shopping and Sailor watching.  Well, I will be sailor watching, Paul will say "oh boy" and then shake his head and laugh. 

We are talking about Jae a lot these past few days.  We still can't believe he will be home soon.  It is fun to be closer to him both logistically and in a sense of time.  On our first day here, Paul and I were looking out towards Coronado Island and I said "Jae is just on the other side of that island."  Which isn't exactly true, but nice to think of it that way.  And then we are closer to him with every day that passes.  Since we got our wonderful news on Tuesday, two whole days have passed.  I am loving San Diego, but I also love that our time here is going fast.  Jae gets closer and closer.

Jae's Mom

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

4 to 6 weeks!

Yippee!  Jae's paperwork was sent to the Ministry this past Friday!  Finally.  The wait is coming to an end.  I don't think I have any tears left. 

What an emotional roller coaster of a day.  First we think we are getting the call, only to find out of our social worker put in her two week notice (see the below blog entry).  Then about 4 hours later she calls back to tell us she has the news we were hoping for!  Jae's paperwork is in the Ministry.  Whew!  Great news!  This means that Jae's paperwork is being processed for passport and visa approval.  Once he is approved through the Ministry his paperwork moves to the US Embassy in Seoul for final his entrance visa. Once the US Embassy is done, we will get the call to travel to Korea, meet our son, and bring him home.  Which is right where he belongs.

I can't tell you what this news means to us.  Christmas, Easter, Birthdays all rolled into one.  And how do we plan to celebrate?  I am already on my second glass of champagne.  :)  We had one bottle reserved for today and another one is still in the fridge waiting for the travel call.  But we will further celebrate this news while in San Diego the rest of the week.  Knowing we wouldn't be traveling to Korea in the month of May, we decided to burn some Marriott points and head to San Diego.  Padres game, San Diego Zoo, bike ride, beach, etc.  A great way to pass some time and just relax.

Things are good in the Herzog house...and Jae will soon be joining it!

Jae's Mom

God's Mean Joke

I take a quick break from work and look online at the Korean adoption discussion forum. I notice that there is a new post that someone who accepted a referral through our Korean Agency 3 days before we got Jae's referral. This morning they got the call that their child's paperwork had been submitted to the ministry. I get super excited and call Paul on my work phone. As Paul and I are on the phone discussing that it HAS TO BE today my cell phone rings. Its our social worker. I yell at Paul that I have to go because our social worker is calling and immediately the tears come...

And she tells me………………………………….she just gave her notice. Her last day will be the 31st.

What are the odds? That is one mean joke, God.

Jae's Mom

Friday, May 13, 2011

Quota article

Article Posted in the Korea Times that is worth sharing....

Wait becomes longer for foster parents, adoptees

By Kim Tae-jong

The state-imposed annual quota on overseas adoptions is drawing complaints from potential foster parents as they have to wait for as long as one year even after which child they will adopt has been decided on.

During the wait, the children are raised by institutes or parents designated by adoption agencies until a new quota is created. The Ministry of Health and Welfare introduced the quota in 2007 as part of efforts to encourage domestic adoption and reduce the number of children adopted overseas.

Experts say the quota only puts more orphans on the waiting list and causes other negative side-effects, while having no substantial effect on boosting domestic adoption.

Local adoption agencies also argue that the quota deprives orphans of chances of finding new homes at an early age.

“What is actually happening now is that adoptive parents in other countries have to wait longer, up to almost a year, to adopt a child. The quota has simply increased the number of children on the adoption list,” said Hong Mi-kyung, official from Holt Children's Services. “As children waiting for adoption grow older, adoptive parents and children experience more difficulties.”

She suggested that if the government maintains the adoption quota, it should exclude adoptions by Koreans living in other countries.
“I think the quota needs to be lifted for at least Koreans living abroad,” she said.

According to the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHSA), the adoption rate decreased to 27.5 percent in 2008 from 44.5 percent in 2000, with only 2,556 orphans out of 9,284 finding new homes. “The quota hurt the adoption rate, while the domestic adoption rate growth stagnated,” a KIHSA official said.

A Korean housewife living in the U.S., who has been waiting to adopt through a local agency, said abandoned children should be adopted as quickly as possible to help heal their “trauma” and better adjust to a new environment.

“A baby has been chosen for us to adopt, but an adoption agency said but we have to wait for a year just because the overseas quota is full this year. Does that make sense?” she said.

But the health ministry said adoption agencies should not accept applications from adoptive parents overseas when the quota is full to make it work in positive and desired ways.

The ministry also admitted that the quota led to the decrease of the adoption rate in general, but it is more important to find children a new home in their own country.

“The underlying issue is we believe babies should be preferably raised in their mother country,” said Lee Kyung-eun, an official from the health ministry. “We also think it is a transition period to increase domestic and reduce international adoptions, and it is consequently producing undesirable results. But we will try our best to increase the overall adoption rate and help children find new homes here.”

Celebrating Adoption Day, which falls on May 11, the ministry is running a campaign to encourage Korean families to adopt a child and plans to come up with more supportive measures.

The nation had a notorious reputation as an “orphan exporter” as thousands of abandoned children here were adopted by foreigners, mostly Americans and Europeans. From 1953 through 2006, a total of 160,242 children were adopted overseas.

To rectify the situation authorities have reduced the quota for overseas adoptions by 10 percent every year and offered incentives to domestic adoptive parents such as exemption of adoption commission and subsidized childcare fees.

Statically, the measures have worked out well.

The number of domestic adoptions surpassed that of overseas adoptions for the first time in 2007, recording 1,388 and 1,264 respectively. Meanwhile, the number of domestic adoptions has shown no marked change ― 1,462 in 2010, 1,314 in 2009, and 1,306 in 2008.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


No phone call today, but that was not a surprise as we think our Korean agency was closed in celebration of Buddha's birthday.

Last night we started making lists of gifts to bring to Korea with us.  We already have the necklace and jewelry box for Foster Mom but needed to get some other gifts for people that have assisted us with the adoption.  Bath and Body Works gift sets, gourmet cookies and possibly some trail mix for our Korean agency workers.  Towels for Foster Mom's family.  A simple thank you card and cash for our driver.  It is hard to come up with gifts for people you have never met.  Paul's right, we are never going to find items that have the person touch we are hopeful for.

Not too much else.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait for a phone call.  Wait for the agency weekly update.  Wait for the storm warnings to pass so they can get back to showing Glee. 

Jae's Mom

Friday, May 6, 2011

No Update

Normally, every Monday afternoon, our agency posts a general update of activity from the prior week.  All week long we were waiting for the post, and finally we just assumed they forgot.  It turns out our Korean specialist took a quick 4 day trip to Korea for some meetings and was unavailable to post the previous weeks' information.  And side note - - a quick 4 day trip to Korea??!?  Any time you have to make an 18 hour flight one way a short trip it does not make.

The agency never posted the stuff they usually do, like number of referrals, number of travel calls, average wait time, etc.  It was more long-term Korean adoption updates that our specialist learned of during her meetings.  Not exactly surprising, but there will be a reduction in referrals for 2011 when compared to 2010.  This doesn't affect our current adoption, but may effect ones in the future.  Also the wait time to travel for anyone that received their referral December 2010 or later may now have up to a 14 month wait vs. our up to11 month wait.  Bummer.  My heart goes out to all those families that accepted a referral in December.  It sounds like they will not travel until 2012 based on the new referral/visa quota.

So no, my phone did not ring this week.  Paul was right (there is a first time for everything).  Hopefully our social worker will call next week with the news that Jae's paperwork made its way over to the Korean Ministry.

Jae's Mom

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

This One is For Ann

Okay Ann.  I got the hint.  :)

We are very anxiously awaiting the phone to ring these days.  Based on what we have seen on some Korean Adoption discussion forums, we think Jae's paperwork will be sent to the Korean Ministry this week or next.  Paul is betting on next week, but me, oh how I am the eternal optimist, I think this week.  Regardless, Jae's paperwork being sent to the ministry is one of the final stages of visa and passport approval.  We are getting close.  We can feel it.

Since we think we are in the final weeks, we have been doing a lot of last minute stuff:  Replacing broken light fixtures, cleaning the carpet, repainting the kitchen (which wasn't necessary, but I was just ready for a change), getting our second Hepatitis A shot (ouch).  We also made our first perishable purchase last night...baby food.  Just a few small containers.  Based on the updates we got, we know Jae likes bananas and sweet potatoes so that is what we bought.  It is getting exciting again.  It was really overwhelming and exciting those first few months, and then the wait settled in, and now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is exciting again. 

As soon as we hear from our social worker that Jae's paperwork is in the Ministry, I will blog.  I promise.

Jae's Mom