The first question we always get once we tell people our news is "When can you go get him?!" To which we answer "We're not really sure, but we hope to travel in June." Now, that's not because we are looking for cheap airfare, or the best season to travel in... believe me! There's actually several things that have to happen, all which have variable time frames making it hard to zero in on an exact date. And as those in the adoption world know... even if the time frames were fixed... you still never know.
So here's an outline of our next steps, and what they entail... as best as I could deduce. (Those of you who have BTDT, please correct me if I'm wrong! And a special thanks to one of the board members who sent me all of this to help understand everything...)
1. Legals - It seems that these can arrive anywhere from two weeks to two months from referral, with the average being a month. Being that we weren't able to immediately accept our referral, we're counting from our acceptance date. (And we're hoping for somewhere around a month wait.)
2. I-600 - Once we have our legals, we'll send them along with our I-600 application to the local USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) office. (Some of you may remember when we did the I-600A last summer. This is the follow-up to that.) I hear we have one of the quicker USCIS offices, so I'm hoping we get I-600 approval quickly. (We should also be aided by the fact that we already have I-600A approval.) Let's say this takes 3-4 weeks.
3. NVC - Once the I-600 is approved, the local USCIS office sends it to the National Visa Center (NVC) in New Hampshire where it gets logged in and logged out. NVC sends the visa application to the embassy in Seoul, and issues an SEO reference number. This step tends to happen about 10-14 days after I-600 approval... but again, there seems to be a large window of time - so who knows.
4. DC - This is where my Type-A personality will kick into high gear. Once we get that SEO number, we can call the Visa Info line in Washington and track when our visa application packet arrives in Korea at the embassy, when it gets forwarded to the agency, and when our Visa Interview is scheduled (and by ours, I mean his).
4.5 Behind the curtain - While all those above steps are happening over here in the US, over in Korea our child's agency will be applying for an Emmigration Permit (EP) for them. We won't have any insight on this, and there's really no way to track how long this takes since it all seems to happen "backstage." But, we can't move onto the next step without this happening.
5. Visa - Once all of the above is completed, the Visa will be issued (VI) and our child will be "officially" ready to travel.
6. Travel Call - Then we get the call from our agency telling us to pack our bags and get on a plane!!
So as you can see, a bunch of steps happening, and not a lot of clarity on timing. People have asked me if it's frustrating. It's actually the farthest thing from frustrating. At least during this wait, there seems to be a bunch of things happening, as opposed to other waits where it was just silence. I'm sure there will be good days and bad, jast as there were with the other waits... but that's what makes this process the journey that it is.
Adoption News: waiting for legals.