Today, we received the formal "Korean Adoption Process" information. Wowzer!! I knew we were getting ourselves in deep, but man, this is complicated!
And, anyone who knows me well, knows I don't always do complicated well ;)
Anyhow, here is a look at the process from our standpoint if you are interested. I think this will help many of our loved ones understand the process much better.
Your Holt International Children’s Services branch office (HICS) will begin your
adoption study. If you live outside of our branch states, HICS will send an official request
and guidelines to your direct service agency for them to begin your adoption study.
While some Cooperating Agencies wait for Holt’s “Referral Letter” to initiate a family’s
home study, others will begin the process before this letter arrives. Call your
Cooperating Agency for clarification.
You will be invoiced for your Homestudy fee before you begin the Homestudy process.
To adopt a child from another country, you must first complete an adoption Home Study.
As a part of this process, you will also need to complete parent preparation training
provided to you by your Branch Office or Cooperating Agency. When your adoption
study is complete it will be sent to the Director of Services of the Korea Program in the
HICS Eugene office where it will be reviewed and approved by a Holt social worker.
Once the home study has been completed and received approval, you need to complete
the I-600A, which will begin the process of applying for an immigration visa from US
Citizenship & Immigration Services. This is the first part of the USCIS process, the
second part (I-600) will come after you have a specific child referral. See the USCIS
section of this guidebook for instructions on how to proceed with this application (I-600A
Form). It is important to also speak with your branch office or cooperating agency about
this, as they will have advice on filing within your particular state and how to fill out the
Once you have received your I-600A approval (also called I-171H) please forward a copy
to both your branch/Cooperating Agency and Holt Eugene Office.
Once your homestudy has been approved, it will be entered on Holt International’s wait
strip. Currently, we are holding the study until such time as needed by Holt Korea. This
in no way changes the process of waiting for an assignment. Once we send the study to
Korea it will be entered on their wait strip with the same date as Holt’s. Families are
generally assigned a child in the order they are added to the wait strip, although since
there are more children being released with medical conditions, some families may be
skipped over when trying to match a specific child with a family who is open to the needs
a child has. This is why it is important to inform us of the medical conditions your
family is open to, so Holt Korea can match you with a child who best fits your family and
as quickly as possible.
Wait for Referral: Wait time will vary based on the gender and medical conditions your
family is open to. Since the number of child referrals from Korea is decreasing each
year, we are anticipating a lengthening of the time families wait for referral. The best
way to stay informed of current timeframes is to read the Korea program’s monthly email
update. If you are unsure you are receiving this, please call or email the Korea program
(Note: The time involved can change from one month to the next depending upon a variety
of factors: government changes, the number of children needing families, the number of
families who are currently in process to adopt, and the profile of child requested to adopt.)
As soon as we receive an assignment for you, we will contact your social worker and
branch office or agency. Your social worker or branch office will contact you to show
you the child material and to discuss the child with you. If they are unable to contact
you, the Eugene Office staff will contact you directly.
You will have an opportunity to review the child material thoroughly. Holt highly
recommends you consult a pediatrician familiar with international adoption to review the
child’s medical and social history. If you, or your doctor have questions about the child
material, please contact Holt Eugene staff and we will work with Holt Korea to obtain
answers to any questions you have about the child material. Typically, families are able
to verbally notify Holt of their acceptance within a week, so not to delay the family and
Upon your acceptance of the child referral, you will be provided with a packet of
acceptance paperwork and forms to complete to make your acceptance formal. If you
have questions about how to complete these forms, please contact the Eugene Office for
You will be invoiced for the Program Fee, Post Placement Fee, and Travel Fee at the time
of acceptance. Please submit these fees along with the completed acceptance paperwork.
We are unable to forward your acceptance paperwork to start the legal process in Korea
until your fees are paid.
Approximately 1-2 months after the release of the child, you will receive the child’s legal
documents. With these legal documents, you will need to file the second part of the
USCIS process I600.
Once your acceptance paperwork is received in Korea, the legal process will begin. This
process can take anywhere from 4-6 months before the child is ready to travel.
The first step of the Overseas Adoption Process includes Holt Korea staff presenting your
homestudy and acceptance papers to the Ministry of Health and Welfare to obtain an
Emmigration Permit (EP) for the child. You will be notified by Holt Eugene Office when
the EP is issued.
Once the EP is received, the following need to be completed (but in no certain order):
Blood testing (Hep B & HIV), Visa Physical, and Travel Certificate (passport).
Once all three steps are completed, Holt Korea Staff contacts the US Embassy to set up a
Visa Interview with the child present to apply for Visa Approval (your local USCIS
office sends the approval-I600-to Seoul).
Once the child’s visa is issued, you will receive notice the child is ready to travel. You
will be contacted by Holt Eugene Travel Coordinator, who will assist you in making all
the needed travel arrangements, whether you are traveling to pick up your child or having
your child escorted.
After your child arrives home from Korea, you will be contacted by your social worker
who did your homestudy to set up post placement visits. The number of visits and
reports required are dependent upon the requirement of the state you live. Korea requires
at least three post placement reports. It is important to please send updated photos of
your child with each Post Placement Reports, as it means a lot to the foster family who
cared for your child prior to the child’s arrival into your home. We also ask families to
write and include a letter to the Foster Family along with the first post placement report
to give an update on the child.
After the final post placement report is received by Holt, the Eugene Staff will issue a
Consent for Adoption. With this consent, your family needs to finalize the adoption in
your state of residence. Your direct social worker/agency will assist you in the process of
finalization as legal requirements vary from state to state. If you have questions about
finalization or citizenship, please contact the Eugene Office for assistance.
Please send a copy of the child’s adoption decree to Holt Eugene Office, who will
forward a copy to Holt Korea. The finalization is very important, as it takes the child off
Korea’s citizenship roster, and protect and provide for the child all rights of a US citizen.
Congratulations, your adoption is complete!
We hope this summary helps to provide you with an overview of the process. However,
more detail on each step is contained in each section of this book.
Kamsahamnida! (“Thank you” in Korean)
WHEEEWWWW! If you read all of that, bless you!
For real though, I am a little scared and overwhelmed. But, we shall continue this process. And, meanwhile, I keep picturing a precious, crescent-eyed bundle of chubbiness in my arms :) I don't live in la-la land, and I know it won't all be easy. But, I also know it won't all be difficult.