We're leaving on a jet plane…

Soon. Sooner than I am actually prepared for.

Don't get me wrong… one part of me is ready to get on that plane… like yesterday. But the other part of me—the planner part—is still a little overwhelmed and shell-shocked. And wishing we had the 4-6 weeks lead time that some families get.

Our flights and hotel are booked. Our bags are being packed. (Note: It's slightly absurd how much you need when traveling in winter with a child. If I wasn't laughing, I'd be crying.) Our gifts have been purchased and/or made. (Well, one of them I am in a mad scramble to finish. Knitting the foster parents and social workers scarves was a wonderful idea when I still had months to wait…) Our sightseeing itinerary is loosely constructed. And some of the very important meetings are on the calendar. Things are getting checked off my list instead of being added at a frantic pace. This makes me very happy.

So what's happening next?! Good question. Here's how the next phase seems to be lining up for us...

This trip is solely for meeting our child, and going through the court process. Originally, we were planning to stay for the duration. Doug had approval to work remotely from Seoul, and Spencer and I were going to sightsee and absorb as much of the culture as we could. But then the call actually came. And we found ourselves with less than two weeks to plan one of the most important trips of our lives, during one of the busiest seasons of the year… and, well, hard decisions had to be made. So we will actually be making two trips—the court trip and the visa trip.

We will have two meetings with our second son on this trip. Our first meeting with Milo will be the day after we arrive in Seoul. (Please don't let the jet lag kick in until after that meeting!) This meeting will take place at the foster family's home and should last about an hour. The timing is such that we meet our child initially, take family photos, and then a report of the meeting and the photos are prepared for our court date. The social workers request 4 business days for that to happen, which is what dictates the length of time we need to be in-country on this trip. Then we will have a few days on our own, and our second meeting will be two days before court. This second meeting will occur at the agency… and most likely will be spent without the foster parents in the room. This is so that we can all see how we adjust to each other. I'm really, really hoping that there is no trauma involved since this will be the last time we see our son this trip. When we say goodbye at the end of this meeting, it will be goodbye until we get back to Korea for the second trip. That goodbye is going to be rough.

After our meetings, we will attend court. It seems as though they do "batches" of families so we will head over as an agency group, but will have separate hearings. At this court hearing, the judge will ask us some questions about our meeting with our child, our home study, and our plans and intentions to raising this child. Everyone who has gone before us says that it's not surprising what they ask, but it is specific. We have a list of potential questions that may be asked. We've reviewed these and feel confident that we can answer them all. The real wild card for us will be the behavior of our first child while we are there. Let's hope he's having a good day, shall we?! Rumor has it that court lasts about ten minutes, and then we are done! We will wait for preliminary approval which then kicks off the waiting period involved with the adoption court process.

We leave Korea the next morning. Due to the holidays, we have a lot of "extra" (aka non-business) days added in, and we're trying to be very conscientious of Doug's PTO. Hopefully, while we are traveling home, we will receive preliminary approval… and the countdown to the next trip begins! We have no idea how long that will take. Some families have been called to return for the visa appointment less than a week after they returned home … some families have waited almost three weeks for that call. Only time will tell what happens for us! That trip will probably have even shorter notice, but also doesn't require us to be in-country for as long.

{We had hoped to visit with Spencer's foster mother while we were there but, unfortunately, that won't happen. She has moved too far from the city (as in hours and hours) for it to work. We've been good about sending photos and update over the years, so we are bringing another installment of those, as well as a small gift Spencer made. We also hope to have a short video of him saying hello to her so that she still gets to "see" him.}

I'm hoping to post at least a couple of times while we are there… but I'm trying to keep my expectations low since it's a very busy trip, halfway around the world, with a five-year-old. {EEEK!!!}

PS - A very, very heartfelt THANK YOU for all the emails, texts, and messages. I haven't had time to respond individually, but know that each one meant the world to us.