Tuesday, February 28, 2012

EP - The Long Awaited News


A Great News!
Indeed, a long awaited news.

Just called an agency in Korea, and subsequently called MOHW to verify the information. 
The agencies will start submitting the EP requests to MOHW next week.
It could be anywhere between Monday, March 5th and Friday the 9th.

When I asked MOHW whether they were able to sort through all the regulations regarding adoption laws and other regulations and policies, they said they were not finished, but said that it will be an ongoing process.  Regardless, they do want to move on with issuing the EPs.

I  would like to think that all of you have contributed in some ways to make this happen.
Thanks to all of you for waiting patiently all these months.

Your prayers have been answered.
As for me, I just had to thank the Lord.

Steve Morrison

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Prayers for Children


Melissa Carbone-Wong, a waiting mother posted the following image below to lift up all the children and the parents in prayer.  Starting Sunday, February 26, 2012, there will be nightly prayer vigils at 7PM Eastern Standard Time, which would be 4PM Pacific Standard Time.  Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whether you drive or whether you are working, spend a minute or two to pray for all the children that need to come home.  Pray for all the anxious parents that they will trust God, and find peace in their hearts and certainty that their children will come home soon. 

I would like to thank Melissa for providing the image below.

To start off, here is my prayer...

Dear Heavenly Father,
May your name be praised.
You are the maker of heaven and earth,
and your glory is displayed everywhere.

We lift up to you the children you have given to us,
Those children not of wombs but of our hearts,
Not of near but across the ocean,
May your wings carry them all towards the waiting homes.

May you bless all the waiting mothers and fathers,
As they count day by day,
As they behold the pictures of their beloved children,
May you hear their cries and waiting that seems eternity.

May they have faith in your providence,
May they have faith in themselves,
That no amount of turbulence and waves will shake their resolve,
That those who don't know you will come to trust you.

You are the God who created the universe at your command,
We believe you can move the hearts of those in authority in Korea,
That they will hear the voices of those children that need to come home,
That they will hear the cries of waiting parents that have anguished so long.

That their hearts will see duties beyond their daily affairs,
That they would make the right decisions on behalf of the voiceless children.
That they will bring joyful union of families with children,
And let the people witness the faithfulness of the Lord and give thanks.

In the precious name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MOHW Response Received

This is the response from MOHW last night.  I was surprised at how quickly they responded to me this time.  However, MOHW was very careful not to reveal the date when they might start issuing the EPs, but their response should help all of you to understand what is going on, at least to a certain extent.  The recommendations have been made and they are waiting for an approval from the higher up.
"...Currently, we have submitted our recommendations for the direction of issuing EPs and determination process and other issues for this year.  I wish to express my regrets in the delays in the EP process due to the impending impacts by the new adoption laws that will go into effect this year.
For all the concerned and waiting parents, it is our hope that in the future something could be worked out between the agencies to shorten the waiting periods between the time of referral and the time of granting EPs. 
Also starting this August, all adoptions will be handled through the Adoption Court, and there will be greater scrutiny in determining the qualification of adoptive parents. (See Steve’s Note 1 below)
 There is also an issue of adoptive parents’ responsibility in the US on obtaining the US Citizenships for their adopted children, and please explain to the parents how important this procedure is. (See Steve’s Note 2 below)
Even the US State Department got involved with the issue of long wait period and the issue of some adoptees not getting the US citizenships.  We are keenly aware of these problems and it is our hope to resolve them as soon as possible.
I thank you for your interest in adoption and your continued assistance to us."
 Steve’s Note 1:  This does not apply to parents of intercountry adoption since there is already a thorough screening process in place through the adoption agencies in the US.  What MOHW means here by ‘greater scrutiny’ is that there are thousands (between 3000 – 5000) of ‘unofficial’ adoptions taking place within Korea with no home studies nor proper adoption process.  Often a verbal agreement is all that is needed to adopt, and this practice has resulted in very high number of adoption disruptions in Korea (i.e. 700 disruptions in a given year).  However, the domestic adoptions that have gone through the proper adoption process through Holt, Eastern, SWS and other smaller agencies, the disruption rate is less than 1%.   MOHW is now going to require all adoptive parents go through proper screening process to adopt children.
Steve’s Note 2:  Some adoptive parents either forget or ignore to apply for the US citizenship for their children.  There are some adult adoptees that have grown up in the US, only to find out later that they are not US citizens.  Some adult adoptees have run into the laws, and once these adoptees were reported to the immigration authority, they were deported to Korea.  MOHW is trying to stop this happening in the future.  Unfortunately, there are some adoptees living in Korea that were deported have joined anti-adoption organization and have spoken against intercountry adoption.  Parent, please do your thing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Voice of a Waiting Mom - A Cry to Korea


I have just sent another letter to MOHW - A cry letter.

I sent a letter to let the people at MOHW know what is going through the hearts of all the parents that are waiting for their children to come home soon.  I used an example from a mail sent to me yesterday by one of the waiting mothers, and I felt that she captured the hearts of all those who are waiting, and I strongly felt that Korea needs to hear the voices of those waiting.

Of course, I translated the message into Korean and sent it.


.... I don't think anyone over in Korea understands what it means to fall in love with a picture and know, in your soul, that child was meant for you.  I think they see us as desperate people who just want ANY baby.  That's not the case.  I look at the pictures of my son and in my heart, he is our son.  I couldn't love him more than if I gave birth to him.  If you understood.....I mean REALLY got it...there's no way you would make these parents wait even one more day.  Do you understand the thousands of adoptive parents out there who literally wake up thinking of their children?  Do you know that we wonder what our children are doing?  We look at what time it is in Seoul & HOPE today is the day MOHW will begin processing the EPs.  It is as if our lives are held hostages through this experience....
Please keep on praying.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

EP Restart - In February, Not Mid-February


I must apologize for a slight misunderstanding in my understanding of Korean.  When I inquired a few weeks ago to MOHW about the EP restart (see my Feb 1 posting) , I was told that it will be in "ewol-joong" (meaning in February).  I misunderstood this to mean mid-February, as "joong" usually means "middle".  However, I forgot that it could also mean all inclusive February. 

Today, I got a reply from the MOHW in response to my inquiry several days ago, and that their intention was to restart the EP process anytime in February, not mid-February as I originally understood.  So my sincere apology to you all for not having properly understood the initial message from the MOHW and gave you folks a false hope. 

"Ewol-joong" means "in February". So as of now, the MOHW plans to begin the EP process in February, and that leaves about ten days left to go for them to restart.  I really really hope they will start in "ewol-joong", meaning they will restart the EP process before the March arrives.  Like all of you, I am crossing my fingers.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

EP Situation - Sorry No News Yet - Another Inquiry Made to MOHW


Thank you for being patient.  I made another inquiry to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) yesterday.  I called a couple of agencies in Korea two nights ago and they haven't heard anything.  But I strongly believe the EPs will be issued soon.  If the MOHW restarts the EP process, I am sure the agencies will be the first to hear about it.  If I do hear from MOHW, I will certainly let you all know.

Many have written to me saying that they have waited over 15 months, and this experience has been very trying and hard. My heart is with you all.  But most of all, my heart goes out to all the children that have waited long and have grown attached to their foster mothers taking care of them, and to separate the children from them when they leave Korea - that will be extremely hard for the children and the foster mothers as well.

That is why it is so important that children come home when they are in their single digit months. Something needs to change in Korea between the government and the agencies to avoid this from happening.  There is no reason why a child referred must wait 15 months to go home.  This is really not right.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My EP Dream Last Night

You might find this a little humorous.

I actually had a dream last night that MOHW started to issue EP permission.
In my dream, I received an email from a couple thanking me as they got an EP news from an agency.
While I haven't done much to warrant such an email from the couple that I didn't know, it was still nice to hear that they got the EP and the EP process started to flow again.

Like many of you, the EP process flow has been a burden in my heart for a very long time and has had a haunting effect on me.  So much so that it would show up in my dream.

I am praying that this dream will become a reality any moment and that your sons and daughters will all come home soon.

Steve Morrison

Friday, February 10, 2012

Honest Questions and Answers - by Adoptees

This dialogue exchange is found in the recently created facebook page for Voice of Love campaign.  This is found in http://www.facebook.com/groups/320976787942626/.  I post it for all the adoptive parents so that they will be aware of some of the questions or concerns that their children my someday ask, and be able to help them out in their search for who they are and where they came from.
An adoptee named Jenna remarked: 
The wall seems to be closed. This campaign has been greatly discussed and debated with many Korean adoptees on various forums. I've read mostly mixed reactions to it. I just want to clarify, some are outraged, some are confused, some are on... the fence. What seems to be the unofficial consensus is that this campaign has it's good intentions but leaves out the Korean adoptee's full experience. We understand positive stories about being adopted would promote the campaign, however many believe it should be with caution. Because it's just not realistic to say adoptions is all sunshine and rainbows. And in my personal opinon, THAT IS OK that there are bad that comes with the good. If you really want to promote this more efficiently, you have to mention that adopting a child (domestically OR internationally) comes with it's amazing benefits and also possible issues along the way. What I am referring to is #1, most likely when we become teenagers, everyone starts asking "who am i?' Korean adoptees have to deal with the fact that they don't know what their biological parents look like, act like.. etc. #2 they have to deal with another layer of being an interracial family. These two things should not be ignored. And every child reacts differently to these two main issues. I think it's great to promote international adoption, but promoting a healthy adoptive parent - adoptee relationship is even more vital. Parents need to learn about ALL consequences and learn how to deal with them properly. I can't stress how important it is to be 110% supportive of your child / teenager / adult adoptee if they become curious to find their bio parents. This can make or break your relationship. Sorry if this is not the right place to say it, but I wanted to stress this.
Steve Morrison replied:
Jenna, your comments are perfectly valid. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion. I think the agencies nowadays are a lot more familiar with the issues related to adoptees as their many babies have grown up to express their experiences and voice opinion. The agencies are now requiring education for potential parents and these issues are starting to be discussed. As an adoptee myself, and now an adoptive father, I am on the opinion that while it is good to make the adoptive parents be aware of the potential issues, when you look at the homeless children, they need homes. They need to grow up in loving family environment where they will have equal chance of being loved, educated, and have opportunity to be who they can become. This opportunity is significantly reduced if children don't get adopted and grow up in institutions. I lived in an institution for eight years before being adopted at 14, and still remember wanting to loved and have my own family, and longed to be adopted. Recently we also adopted an older boy from an orpahange in Korea, and he has expressed the same sentiment. Most of the adoptees have not gone through the experience of living in institutions and they seem to be far removed from the feelings and longings of 20,000 children that are living in the 280 institutions in Korea. I would strongly recommend that many adoptees visit or do some volunteer works in many orphanages to get a dose of reality of not being adopted. It is true that adoptees will go through some cultural/racial/identity issues, some more than others, and you are absolutely right that adoption is not all sunshine and rainbows. But we cannot let these fears deter from providing homes for children whether they be adopted domestic or international. Our job is to provide a voice for these children to have homes of their own. This is the reason for the Voice of Love movement. Thanks for the honest discussion.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Naleigh Moon - by Josh Kelly

I had to share this incredibly beautiful and a moving music video by singer Josh Kelley, who sings of his love for his adopted daughter Naleigh.  Josh is the husband of the actress Katherine Heigl, and their adoption story is widely known. 

I want to sincerely thank Josh Kelley for making this video, as his story is not unique to just to him and Katherine, but is shared and echoed by all those wonderful non-Korean couples that have adopted children from Korea, that they too feel the same love and joy expressed by Josh Kelley and Katherine Heigl.

  "Naleigh Moon"
I know the kind of guy I am
A bit too much and to myself
Not much left for someone else
And I'm sure I cause my share of pain
But all that changed
When you first touched my face

Halfway around my little world
You had no idea that you were my girl
You found my arms not a moment too soon
I couldn't see past me till I saw you
My sweet Naleigh Moon

I love the man you're makin' me
Yeah, everyday, I wanna prove
There's nothin' I won't do for you
Just to see you in your mama's arms
Is more than enough
To bring me to my knees

Halfway around my little world
You had no idea that you were my girl
You found my arms not a moment too soon
I couldn't see past me till I saw you
My sweet Naleigh Moon

I can't imagine life without my
Naleigh Moon

Halfway around my little world
You had no idea that you were my girl
You found my arms not a moment too soon
I couldn't see past me till I saw you
I couldn't see past me till I saw you
Naleigh Moon
My sweet Naleigh Moon

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

EP is Expected to Flow Again by Mid-February

Many have written to me inquiring on the status of the EP process.
I have been informed that the EP process should start again by mid-February.

As for the priority service for Korean-heritage couples, this is still being reviewed by the Ministry as they try to come up with some ways to be fair for non-Korean-heritage families, and at the same time come up with some meaningful ways to serve Korean-heritage families. 

But the good news is that the EP process is expected to flow again by mid-February.
This is indeed a very good news for all the families that have waited so long.
Let's hope that there will be no more delays.