I made phone calls last night to talk with an agency and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) representative to find out why there has been noticeable delays in the Exit Permit (EP) granted recently. Normally once an adoption agency files an EP request with MOHW, it usually takes a month or so to get MOHW to clear it. As of today, there are EPs that were submitted in May of this year that have not been approved yet. This has brought a lot of anxiety among the waiting families whether their children will come home or not.
For those of you who are not too familiar with the intercountry adoption (ICA) process, EP is like the last hurdle in the long process where the Korean Government (or MOHW) finally approves that a child may exit the country to be placed overseas. Once an EP has been granted, the parents are notified by an agency when the child will arrive home. The EP requests are made by the agencies when the number of adoption placements by the agency falls within the allotted quota limitation assigned by MOHW. If an assignment of a child is beyond that quota, then the family must wait until the next year to get the child home.
In talking with MOHW, the delays are a deliberate attempt by them to make the adoption agencies comply with their agreement to provide documents related to post adoption placements. To elaborate on this the domestic adoption agencies in Korea (Holt, Eastern, SWS, & KSS) have an agreement to provide post adoption placement reports back to MOHW, and for many years this part of the adoption process has been ignored by both the adoption agencies and MOHW. I say both because the adoption agencies have not been compliant on this agreement and MOHW for not having requested this until this year. So for over 50 years of ICA, MOHW has finally found a clause in the agreement that this portion of the agreement was not being faithfully followed by the agencies. According to MOHW, the post placement service agreement requires the agencies to report on a child until he/she is issued a US citizenship.
This all came about when a question was raised by a government representative in Korea on how they are to know how well the adopted children are coping with their new environment overseas. At this MOHW could not answer, so they turned to the agencies to provide them with an answer on post placement reports of children and whether they knew what percentage of children they have placed have the US citizenship. The agencies didn't know either. So the MOHW has requested the agencies to provide the post placement reports and a data on the number of children that have been issued the US citizenship. In the mean time all the EP requests filed with MOHW would be put on hold until the agencies comply.
I tried to reason with MOHW that granting EPs to the waiting children and the domestic agencies complying with the post placement clause seem to be two separate issues, thus EPs should be allowed so that children will go to their homes. But MOHW stated that they would not be able to release the EPs without the agencies' cooperation on providing post placement reports. They reasoned that for many years the agencies only cared about sending children abroad, but showed no interest in how children are adjusting to their new environment, thus there is no way to substantiate to those questioning on how the adopted children are doing.
MOHW maintained that this is one area that must be cleared by the agencies for them to get the waiting children released for adoption.
After much wrangling between the MOHW and the agencies, I am happy to report that today (as of 7/19/11 blog) that all four agencies have agreed to sit down with the MOHW to show that they do indeed can provide the post placement reports in the hope of getting the EPs cleared. I don't know what will come out of this meeting, most likely a determination by MOHW on requesting additional data until they are satisfied. MOHW has however given some relaxation to agencies as they seem to understand that to gather so may post placement reports at one time is impossible for the agencies. So the MOHW has asked the agencies to provide the post placement service reports on those children that were placed January and February of this year. And that the post placement reports must be provided from now on. Based on MOHW's review of the reports, they may or may not grant EPs, but I am sure the agencies will do all they can to cooperate to resolve this matter as soon as possible.
Please keep on praying for all those involved in the process, that God's wisdom that always advocates for the best interest of children will prevail and that they will all come home soon.
This is really interesting. We have adopted 3 times from Korea, the most recent being in February of this year. With all three adoptions (through KSS) we provided three post placement reports, including photos to KSS. One at one month home, one at 3 months home, and one at 6 months home. At the 6 month mark, we are able to finalize the adoption. At that moment, our children are US citizens, so it is sensible, according to the statement "According to MOHW, the post placement service agreement requires the agencies to report on a child until he/she is issued a US citizenship." that post placement reports would stop after the 6 month mark. Do they want monthly reports until finalization? Do they want reports post finalization? I am sure that all the other US agencies also do at least 3 post placement reports so I'm wondering how the agencies don't have this information.ReplyDelete
I know the US agencies do well in providing the post placement service and reporting on the visits. I think there was an oversight by the four domestic adoption agencies to keep track of these reports and report back to MOHW. So this will be a real lessons learned by the agencies in Korea and will strengthen the process in the future.ReplyDelete
We're one of the families waiting for EP. I know that we too were also told that we would be having to submit 3 post placements and a copy of our child's COC after completion. This isn't something new that Holt requires because it was in their paperwork as a requirement at least a year ago. Sounds like more ministry foot dragging to me.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing this. I wish that news like this was shared more openly and honestly - it certainly would do a lot to alliviate much of the fear, uncertainty, and doubt many families are feeling because of the polishsed news that we are often limited to.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this information. We are currently a family waiting on a sibling adoption that is hung up in this EP situation. We have 2 other adoptions through Holt, 2002 and 2005. All of our post placement reports were done in a timely manner and I know of no other adoptive friend that has not complied. Praying this all gets cleared up, as I can only imagine the havoc it is creating in overwhelming the system. Thank you again for this information.ReplyDelete
We are one of the May families submitted for EP right now. Thank you SO much for delving into this issue and reporting what you found out. At least now we know what is going on. I also wish this news could be shared more openly and honestly. It would help me to trust the process more instead of always wondering what we aren't being told.ReplyDelete
This is a fabulous post! Well researched, well written. Thanks so much. We brought our son home in May, and although the EP issue doesn't affect us, we are concerned about the state of the process for others right now. More communication is definitely important and I hope that the powers that be are able to continue moving forward.ReplyDelete
Steve you are such a vital part to relaying accurate information on this front. Thank you for taking the time to investigate and inform us. You are such a blessing!ReplyDelete
This is exactly what needs to be shared with every family who is stuck in this EP mess (including us!!). We are on the brink of being submitted for EP, and if we miss it this year, it will be by a few days (I'm guessing). It's been misery of everyone, trying to make sense of the delays and getting so much mixed information. You have no idea how wonderful it is to read a concise, easy-to-understand explanation.
Praying for YOU as you continue to advocate for Korean adoption!
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Thank you so very much! We are also one of the May families waiting on EP. It helps so much to have some understanding of the cause of this delay. I would like to link to your post on my blog if that is okay.ReplyDelete
As someone who does work in Taiwan, I can say that more than likely the agencies were doing their job as they have pressure from the USA side. Alot depends on the person in gov't in the country of the children. In Taiwan we have an unwed mother's hom and cpc, in one year we had 4 different gov't people over us, all had their own take on the rules:-)....I will be praying that the talk goes quickly and these babies get into their parents arms QUICKLY!!ReplyDelete
Hi Steve. Thank you so much for this post. I'm wondering if you have heard any news or new information? As of today, August 8th, there still has not been any new information given out by U.S. agencies regarding EPs. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I sent this info to my SW and she said:ReplyDelete
We have always provided post placement reports to Eastern. We have also always provided original adoption decrees when the adoption finalizes to show that the child is adopted and a U.S. citizen. I've never heard of a Korean agency that doesn't require this.
This is frustrating
It feels great to drop by here on your site. Lots of information i have gathered here. Thanks for providing!ReplyDelete