It was surprising news to hear that some families have been summoned by the Family Court after the court cancelled the summons earlier. It so happened that a judge, who was not part of the first group of three judges that cancelled the summons, decided to have the parents come and stand before him. This has caught everyone by surprise.
The agencies are waiting to hear what the other three judges will do. Surely
they can't go against their initial decision to forego the summons (about a
dozen cases) as it would not look good on them. For now, nobody knows whether
the judges will summon or forego the future cases. There has been no official
announcement concerning which way they would go. One of the adoption experts I
talked with stated that for now it is more like case by case.
The travel requirement of 3 - 4 weeks is apparently less stressful for
European families as they get longer time off on their leaves,
but more difficult for the families in the US. The expert I spoke with
stated that the parents may have to go twice if a long stay is difficult in
Korea. The scenario would be that a couple would be in Korea and get an
adoption approval from a judge. This can be done within one week. Then the
14-day grace period begins. During this time one of the couple or both may
leave Korea and then return after two weeks to pick up their child after the
grace period is over. Or that one may stay during this period while the other
goes back to the States to tend to their business.
It appears that both the husband and the wife must be present at the first
meeting with a judge. But only one needs to be present to pick up the child. So
for a family with a very limited time, one can return to his/her home after a
week in Korea while the other remains in Korea during the grace period. Once
this waiting is over he/she can pick up the child and go home, pending the
birthmother decided not to take the child back.
The first case of intercountry adoption under this new system has
already been accomplished by a couple from Sweden. They got the nod from a
judge, and they waited two weeks. The birthmother still did not want the child,
so the couple took the child home. The whole process took 19 days (from the
time they arrived in Korea to the time they left). However, I understand that
this couple was prepared ahead by the agency due to their special circumstance,
and wound up going to the Family Court right after they arrived.
But for most people, it will not be this quick as it will take about a week
to process the paper works and stand before a judge. So if things go smoothly
under this scenario, the parents can expect to be in Korea a little over 21
days. Remember, only one of the couple needs to stay in Korea after the first
week, unless there is need for both to return for a while.
Under this adoption, the child will be issued an IR-3 visa, where the child
will get the US citizenship automatically on the day of his entry into the US.
This is the advantage of adoption through the Family Court. If not, the child
will be issued an IR-4 visa if no court appearance was involved. In this case
the parents become the legal guardian of the child
until the child gets officially adopted domestically in
the US. For most families this is done around 6 months after the arrival of the
child. When his adoption is finalized in the US, the child will get a
Again, I stress to you that nothing has been decided yet in terms of the court summons, and I think it may be case by case. It remains to be seen as the court is trying to find its way in the complex maze of adoption, and this new experiment with the new law has been very painful for all, especially the waiting children and all the waiting parents that are eager to embrace them and shed the tears of joy. May that day come for all of you soon.
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