Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Some Questions You Can Expect from the Judges

These are some of the questions you can expect to be asked during the court appearance.  It is advised that each family answer all the questions clearly and honestly. At the end of the court appearance, the judge will ask if the family has any comments for the Court.  This is when you can speak respectfully and indicate that you are completely prepared and ready to have your child be placed with your family as soon as possible.

These are some sample questions, and the judges are not going to ask you all the questions listed, but will vary from judge to judge.  Often it is more of a spontaneous questions and answers that gets a dialogue going to enable the judges to get to know you better.  So this list of questions does not cover all the questions.

·         Are you (full name of each adoptive parent)?

·         Where do you live?

·         When did you arrive in Korea?

·         When are you leaving Korea?

·         Why did you decide to adopt from Korea?

·         How many times have you met with the child?

·         How was the meeting with your child?

·         How did you react when you saw the child?

·         What did you think of the child?

·         What challenges do you think you might have with the child/due to a trans-racial adoption?

·         What training have you received in regards to cultural issues and post-adoptively searching for parents?

·         What time in his/her life do you think he/she will deal with these post-adoptive search questions?

·         How do the children already in your home feel about adopting a child from Korea?

·         Do you still want to adopt the child after seeing the child?

·         When did you start to plan this adoption?

·         Are you going to allow religious freedom for your adopted child?

·         (To siblings in Court), How do you feel about your new sibling?

·         What are your thoughts about raising a child of a different culture?

·         Are you going to raise the adopted child the same way you are raising your other children in the home?

·         What is your job? Could you give more a specific explanation about your job?

·         What is your annual income?

·         (If both of parents are working) what is your parenting plan after going back home with the child?

·         (For families with a few children) could you specify your financial plans to parent your children?

·         (If the family has a young child in care), why do you want to adopt a child even though you are already raising a child?

·         Have there been any changes since your original home study? (The answer would be that there have been no changes since the last update.)

·         What were the best part /the most interesting part in the adoption education and training?

·         (For parent/parents being on medication), what medication are you taking? Since when have you taken that medication? What is your current condition with that medication?

·         What type of visa do you want to be issued for your child? (IR3/IR4..the answer should be IR3)

·         With the final court approval, you will become the only parents to the child as the relationship between the child and the birth parents will be cut and you cannot reverse this court approval. Are you fully aware of this?

·         Do you have any questions or statement for the Court?

When the judges were recently asked to respond to the necessity for the Court appearance, they explained that even though they are fully aware that the applicants have already been assessed to be eligible as adoptive parents per the pertinent laws in their respective countries, it is very difficult for the Korean judges to determine the suitability of the adoptive parents based on documents alone.

Just recently, there was a ruling in a domestic adoption case, where a parent had an incident of a past drunken behavior that resulted in his arrest many years ago.  A judge told him to “Do your best to raise the children you already have.” And he declined to approve the adoption. 

Is there an advantage of the One Trip Option versus the Two-Trip Option? It may be cheaper and easier on your time if you take a two trip option.  Because on the second trip only one person is required to go back to pick up the child. This option makes most sense if you have other children at home to consider, and limited in time to travel.

To date, it has been observed that the final adjudication is issued by the Court in a timelier manner for families who have indicated to the Court that they are staying in Korea for the duration of the process. The Court asks for a specific return date and for families who have indicated this.
The Final Adjudication has been issued in enough time for these families to leave according to plan. Families' stays have ranged from 4 - 6 weeks.


  1. Steve,
    Thanks for this information. Very helpful to think through this.
    A couple of questions to see what you may be hearing from your contacts.
    1. Do you foresee any adjustments in the timeliness for those children on the "Waiting Child List" so that the process may be expedited? Seems like the kids with medical conditions would eventually be granted some type of faster process so that they don't languish in the system.
    2. Do you have any insight into the mechanics of the contact with the birth parents? How are these people approached? How are the case workers being trained to do this? It would seem that those conversations would be carefully nuanced so as not to come across as pressuring the birth parents to change their minds.

    1. LF27,
      I think the timeliness issue is handled by the agencies. Some, if not all give higher priority for medical needs children, but I don't know how much faster.
      The agencies have been contacting birth parents before or during EP submission, and of course the family court contacts them with mails. In the earlier months they tried to personally contact and meet with every single birthmothers, but this has backfired as most of the birthmothers did not wish to be contacted. Nowadays they are notified by mails, and not pressured at all. To my knowledge, during the 14-day waiting period after the family court ruling, no birthmothers have reclaimed their biological children.

    2. Hi Steve,

      Thank you for posting these questions. It will be very helpful when we go to court. We just received our court date today :). We are set to go on September 13th. I can't believe after 3 years of waiting we are going to bring our son home :)

    3. Congratulations! Have a great travel and a happy union with your son.

    4. Congratulations Cindy!
      If you don't mind me asking, how long did the EP process take for your son once his paperwork was submitted to the Ministry? And then after his EP was approved, how long did you wait until you heard about making travel plans for your September court date?

    5. Hi LF27,

      We received our referral on January 9th, 2013. Then we received an email from our agency in the beginning of June that our son received his EP. And then just yesterday we were notified of our court date for September 13th. We are still in shock from the news, but we are very excited and grateful that we get to bring our son who will turn 2 on August 30th home, finally :). We are planning to stay they entire time, but would like to know from other families how they booked their flights and where they stayed. We are looking into for our accommodations because its much more affordable than a hotel, and we are not sure about which airlines to book our tickets because it seems no airlines offer open ended tickets anymore. I guess we'll just eat the cost of the changing fee if we need to :)

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  3. Like many others here, I’ve been reading and hoping to glean some information as to how long the wait will be. We just brought our little girl home so in keeping with the information on the court, I’d like to put our timeline out there.

    We were matched with our daughter at 6 months of age in December 2011. We had our EP submitted in December 2012. We were one of the very last groups for 2012. In March our EP had been processed. We were given a court date of in mid June. We bought our tickets through Travelocity via Singapore air and it cost about $2800. We stayed at a business travelers hotel in Myongdong for a 5 day visit. We saw our daughter twice at Eastern during that time.

    The court date was very relaxed and the judge was very personable. He asked us very easy questions. Why do you want to adopt from Korea? How will you provide care since you both work. What did you think when you learned of the delay in the adoption process? After answering all their questions through a translator, he issued provisional approval. We left the following day back home.

    14 business days later we got word everything was done and we could come get our daughter. We waited about another 2 weeks to travel for work. We booked our tickets through a travel agent this time because we needed a one way child ticket who sat with us. That couldn’t be done through Travelocity. The cost was approx. $3600 for this flight. We stayed at the adoption agency this time.

    The visa appointment took about 45 minutes because no one else was there. They issued an IR3 visa. We left the following day. Immigration and customs was very straightforward on both the Korean side and the US side. Basically we gave the papers they asked for, waited about 10 minutes then went on with our travels.

    Our daughter, now 27 months, is home with us. She had a rough trip, but otherwise is doing just fine. Sleep is tough, but otherwise she’s doing all the normal things a precocious 2 year old should be doing and showing no signs of any problems.

    Hopefully this story gives the rest of those out there some frame of reference for their own waits. I was told by the adoption agency over there that our wait will be longer than those who follow us now that the power that be have got the process established.

    1. Dear Chris Marci,
      Thanks for this great information and experience.
      May I post this in a main body of the blog as all the readers could benefit from your experience and timeline.


  4. Please feel free to repost. Thank you for all you do.