Thanks to all of you for patiently waiting for my updated report from Korea regarding the EP situation and the effect of the new adoption laws in the intercountry adoption process.
Many of you have emailed me or responded to the previous blogs with questions on wanting to know what the latest development is. I'm sorry that I got delayed in answering your requests. For the month of September, there were MPAK and my work related travels every single week. For instance, for the past two weeks I was in Denver for my work-related travels.
So here is the update.
Based on my interviews with two different sources in Korea, I found out that the intercountry adoption process is going very slow, but for a legitimate reason (of course there is really never a right and legitimate reason to delay a process of uniting a child with parents).
As I have mentioned on my previous blog where I said that this year Korea has already expedited 90% of the quota level (number of children allowed to leave Korea in a year) before August, at which time the new adoption laws kicked in. I also mentioned that this was done to expedite all the children that need to go home, and the remaining 10% cases (from Aug – Dec, or 5 remaining months) would be processed under the new adoption laws to serve as a learn-as-you-go type of processes for the agencies, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), and the Family Court that will be the final place of approving authority.
Unfortunately the learn-as-you-go process for the remaining 10% has been going very slowly, and this has not only affected intercountry adoption but also the domestic adoption process as well. To date, there have not been any new EPs issued for intercountry adoption, and in the case of domestic adoption, there have only been one approval by the Family Court to date. So whether inter country or domestic, the process is going very slowly for the remaining cases. For those of you waiting overseas, rest assured that the delays in your cases are temporary as Korea tries to find a right process not only for intercountry, but domestic adoption as well.
One of the reasons for the delay is that all the agencies, MOHW, and the Family Court need to have the new processes and all the appropriate paper works that are understood and accepted by all parties. So working on the new processes and creating new forms of documentation is taking a lot of time. Undoubtly there are many reviews, rejections, reworks and revisions that are being made, but this is a natural pain in the new process that cannot be avoided.
Another reason for the delay is that MOHW is undergoing their annual audit conducted by the government, and this has stalled all the work related to adoption. I am told that this should be over by next week. Also, I am also told that additional EP requests have been made to MOHW under the new laws, and once these are approved, the agencies would hand the cases over to the Family Court for the final approvals.
I don’t know how long it would take for the Family Court to approve the intercountry cases, but I was told that in the one domestic adoption case just approved, the Family Court took one month to process it. I predict that it will be a bit longer for intercountry adoption. But I also believe that once they go through a number of these, I think it will set the rhythm for the remaining processes and should become quicker as they get ready to process the new quotas waiting in the year 2013.
I plan to visit Korea in three weeks to attend MPAK’s national conference to promote domestic adoption, and while there I will try to make another updates to the blog to inform the latest happenings. Please stay tuned, and thanks for your patience.