Korea

4 Ways to Celebrate Lunar New Year!

Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays for Chinese families and is also celebrated by other East Asian countries like Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan. This year is the 25th anniversary of Spence-Chapin’s China international adoption program and over 40 years of international adoption. Lunar New Year is a chance to wish family and friends a lucky and prosperous new year. Here are some ways you can celebrate the year of the Rooster: Enjoy Time with Family Holidays are a great way to get together with family. New Year’s Eve dinner is called “reunion dinner” and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Yum!

Decorate Red is the main color of Lunar New Year and is believed to be lucky. Bring your family good fortune by filling your home with red décor.

Attend a Cultural Event Festivals, parades, and fairs are arranged in many cities and towns both nationally and internationally. At these events, families can see traditional dragon dances and other performances. Organizers might even hand out traditional Chinese products and snacks. Check out what’s happening in NYC on Lunar New Year: http://betterchinatown.com/upcoming-events/

Eat Lucky Foods Certain foods bring symbolic meaning. The Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for surplus. It is believed that eating fish will bring a lucrative new year.

We hope that you and your family have a happy and healthy 2017 and we wish all of our families that celebrate Lunar New Year Gong Xi Fa Cai/Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo!

To learn more about our post-adoption services for adoptive families and adoptees, visit our website: www.modernfamilycenter.org/adoption-support.

Reflections of Korea Roots Tour, 2013

A Spence-Chapin adoptive family shares their experiences of their homeland roots tour to Korea.

Post-Travel Reflections: Part II

This is the follow-up to the first part of this family's story.  The second part of this narrative discusses the dynamic between James and his siblings and how they have continued to adjust to one another. "We were surprised that James was fine as we went down the elevator, during the taxi ride, and during our walk to our hotel room.  About 5 minutes after we arrived at our hotel room, James began to cry quietly.  It was also his nap time and he was tired.  I got him to take a nap and I put him in a portable crib provided by the hotel.  He slept well even though his foster mother had slept with him on a floor mattress during their time together.  The foster mother had told us how much James liked the Korean character Pororo.  In preparation, we had purchased Pororo toys and downloaded Pororo shows on our iPad while in Korea.  They were very helpful during our time in Korea whenever he began to cry as well as on our long flight back to the States.

James is doing well.  We were pleasantly surprised how quickly he adjusted to our family and living in the United States.  We arrived home on a Friday evening and our daughters were very excited to meet him.  Our older daughter Ellen, who recently turned 8, and James have bonded very quickly.  The first few nights, James woke up frequently and I held him until he returned to sleep.  Fortunately, he did not resist being held.  By Monday evening, he began slowly sleeping in our time zone.

We were fortunate that my mom stayed with us for almost a month after our arrival.  Having her with us allowed us time to bond with James as well as reassure our younger daughter Chloe, who recently turned 3 and was having a difficult time with having another child in our family.  Chloe is very fond of James now and tells everyone that he is her brother and that he is now part of our family.  However, she still gets annoyed when James follows her around or chases her when she attempts to run away.  Overall, we believe that having two young children has helped James feel more comfortable at our home.  We feel very blessed to be together with James."

Continue to check back to the Spence-Chapin blog for more narratives from adoptive families.

SWS Commemorative Photo Book

Our Korean partner agency, Social Welfare Society, Inc. (SWS) has just released a commemorative photo book.  The book includes photographs from the last ten years of an ongoing photo exhibition that has been a powerful advocacy tool for SWS and raised awareness of their mission and work for children in Korea.  The book includes photographs and stories of many babies who have come through the Baby Reception Center at SWS. The babies are photographed with Korean celebrities who have been strong voices in promoting awareness around social welfare issues in Korean society.

The 250-page book is available for sale via the SWS website.  Please visit this link to learn more.  There are a very limited number of copies so if you are interested in purchasing one, act quickly.  All proceeds will go towards supporting the babies in the care of SWS.

SWS book

 

Post-Travel Reflections: Part I

The following is another contribution from one of our adoptive families.  This narrative speaks to not only the way their trip to Korea was structured, but also highlights the attentiveness of the social workers in Korea as well as the sorrow felt by the foster families as they say goodbye to the children who have been in their care for so long. We received the call to travel to Korea about three months after our official acceptance.  We felt overwhelmed.  In less than a week, we had to reschedule my husband's work; make arrangements for child care for our two daughters during the week we would be in Korea; make hotel and air reservations; purchase gifts for the foster family and SWS staff; and make sure that we had everything we needed for our son when we went to Korea.  However, we felt most overwhelmed by the prospect of finally meeting James after waiting for so long.  We began the adoption process more than a year and half ago.  We told our children about the adoption once we received the referral and made our official acceptance.  We thought we had at least four months before going to Korea to finally meet our son.  We were not emotionally ready at the time we received the call to travel.  In retrospect, we were fortunate that we were able to go to Korea prior to the four months.  James had turned 15 months when we brought him home.  A month later, James seems to have jumped to the next developmental stage.  He is more aware of his surroundings and more expressive.

We arrived in Korea on a Saturday evening.  We met James and his foster parents the following Monday at his foster family's home with our social worker.  He was shy but very comfortable at his home and very playful.  We met James again the following morning at one of the SWS offices.  The office had a bunch of toys and we sat with James (without the foster mother or the social worker) playing with different toys.  The social worker, who was very familiar with James, came into the room occasionally to encourage James to interact with us.  At one time, he sat on my lap, which surprised me.  Later, he sat on David's lap.  It was a great feeling.  Even though we met for only half an hour, we felt that this time was significant in giving us an opportunity to get to know each other at a place familiar to James but not at the foster parent's home and without the foster mother, who was sitting just outside the office.  Further, meeting James both on Monday and Tuesday prior to taking him home on Wednesday, seemed to make the transition a lot smoother.

That Wednesday, while the social worker gave us the documents for our travels, James and his foster mother were meeting with the pediatrician on the first floor of the SWS building.  Once the appointment was over, James came up with his foster parents and their son.  Their older daughter was in school.  At the adoption offices, the foster mother showed us the things she brought for us - James' hanbok, several of his favorite toys, and his clothing, much of which were new.  She had wrapped each item carefully and lovingly in plastic bags.  Shortly thereafter, the social worker called a taxi for us and told us that we would depart first and that we would say our goodbyes at the elevator.  As we were waiting for the elevator to come up, the foster mother was so sad and began to cry softly.  James had been with his foster family for over a year and it was clear that he had bonded with the entire family, especially the foster mother.

Part II will be published next week.  It discusses the dynamic between James and his siblings and how they have continued to adjust to one another.

Summer Programs in Korea Now Accepting Applicants!

Spence-Chapin is proud to offer several opportunities for adult adoptees and adoptive families to visit Korea. The programs available for adult adoptees include language study, volunteerism, and an exploratory immersion trip through SWS.  Each of these programs provides a chance for adult adoptees to experience various aspects of Korean society and its unique cultural makeup.

Adoptive families can reserve their place on this summer’s Roots Tour, which takes adoptive families to three of Korea’s major cities as well as several beautiful historical landmarks along the way.  The Roots Tour is a wonderful way for adoptive families to experience Korea with their children as it is a comprehensive tour of Korea’s most famous destinations.  Families will also have the opportunity to visit SWS and meet with their staff.  The chance to visit SWS helps to provide adoptees with an additional piece of the framework through which to understand their adoption.

If you are interested in learning more about the 2013 summer programs available through Spence-Chapin, visit us online.

The Adjustment Process: One Family’s Story from Korea – Part II

Korean AdoptionThis is the second part of a reflective piece that was written by a mother who recently returned from Korea to meet her child.  She shares about how she personally reconciled and dealt with some of the difficulties adoptive parents can face in the period of adjustment. Our social worker came for her first visit and noticed that he was refusing to make eye contact with us, but especially with me.  For about a month after we returned home he still preferred my husband.  She told us from the start that I needed to be the main caregiver during the bonding process, but that I really needed to step up my game now.  While bottle feeding, I would offer toys by putting them in front of my eyes to encourage eye contact. I would also raise treats to my eyes before offering then to him when feeding. At bath time when I would rub lotion on him I would let him rub lotion on my arms too.  All these things were to try to get him to bond with me.  As soon as we came home, we put an air mattress in his room and slept with him at night.  I enjoyed rocking him before bed and singing to him, especially when he would start singing, “up above the world so high” from Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  I at least knew he was listening.

Four months later people ask us if we are adjusted.  My answer is always “no.”  I look back and feel like we have made progress, but I also know that we have a way to go.  Our son has substituted the face rubbing for rubbing our arms.  He has to do this when he falls asleep at night and wakes up several times a night moaning/crying and reaches through the bars of his crib for my arm.  I am still in his room after four months.  Our social worker said this could take a year or so for him to be fully adjusted.  She said he is bonded, but he has a fear that we are going to leave, so he wakes up making sure we are there.  This breaks my heart that my toddler, while asleep, wakes up to makes sure that we are still there and haven’t left him!!!  He now looks us both in the eyes and he will play alone longer than he used to.  There are still times when he cries and throws a fit to be held or to grab our arm.  The difficult part is distinguishing between when he is just being a toddler and when is he dealing with loss?

After three months of being at home with him, my husband and I have both started back to work and are now dropping him off at a friend’s house three days a week.  This transition has went well for him.  He usually cries a little when I leave, but she said by the time I reach my car, he stops.  When my husband picks him up, he will greet him but then go back to playing so we know he is comfortable there.

Overall, I am very pleased with how things have gone. We are so happy that our son had such a loving foster mother who cared for him so well for a year.  When you think about it, our four months is a fraction of what four months means to him.  He is very smart and is learning words, sign language and interacts well with others.  He is attached to us, he just has a fear that we will leave him. As parents, this is a fear that we must understand is our responsibility to alleviate.

Laurie Toth Cleveland, OH tothadoptionjourney.blogspot.com

Check back for future posts of stories and reflections shared by Spence-Chapin families.

The Adjustment Process: One Family's Story from Korea - Part I

We are fortunate to have contributions from an adoptive parent in which she writes about her family's personal experiences returning from their trip to Korea.  Her piece reflects the difficulties in forming the bond between adoptive parent and child, and the need for parents to be patient and empathetic as they absorb the fear and uncertainty their child is feeling.

In June of 2012 we made our trip across the world to meet our son in Korea.  He was 16 months old and had spent just over a year with his foster mother.  She was in her sixties with grown children, so from what we gather, it was just the two of them most of the time.  When we arrived for our first meeting at her home, she met us at the van with our son on her back in a carrier.  Although he had a huge smile on his face, and continued to look back at us and smile as we walked to her house, I know he had no clue how his world was about to change!

Our social worker warned us the closer he was to his foster mother, the better for us in the long run regarding attachment, but the harder our first month was going to be at home.  As we sat in the foster mother’s home and watched their interaction, those words circled my mind.  He sat completely content on her lap, and was hesitant to make any connection with us, although having our 8 year old son helped break the ice a bit.  He eventually came over and sat on our son’s and my husband’s lap for a quick second, but returned to his foster mom just as fast.  When she went to the kitchen to prepare a snack, he moaned and followed.  When I finally did get him to sit on my lap, he slightly cried as he was trying to grab something off the table, and his foster mom quickly swooped him up.  This showed us that their bond was very strong and we were going to have some work ahead of us.

On our “Family Day” when we returned back to our room at SWS it seemed the grieving started immediately.  He was very lethargic, although some of this was due to a cold, but he was only comforted by my husband.  If I even looked at him, he would cry.  This broke my heart, but inside I knew that he was not trying to replace his mom; he didn’t need another woman in his life.  In order to comfort himself, he would rub my husband’s face, usually until falling asleep.  This lasted for at least a month with both of us.  We thought that he was bonding with my husband until we were at the airport on our way home and he tried to go to any other Caucasian male, even when there were other Korean males around.

Once we were home we spent the first couple weeks waking up in the middle of the night with him crying inconsolably for his foster mom for about 3 hours each night. He would be screaming out her name and thrashing his body and no matter what we tried to do, nothing was comforting him.  At this point, all we could do for him was be there and make sure he was safe assuring him we weren’t going anywhere.

Laurie Toth Cleveland, OH tothadoptionjourney.blogspot.com

Part 2 will be published early next week.  It discusses the post placement period and the ways in which she worked to build a bond between herself and her child.

Korea Society Salutes Dr.David Kim

The Korea Society has invited families and members of  Spence-Chapin Services to their upcoming Korean program with Dr. David Kim of Holt International. The event will take place this Thursday, September 13th.

The program features Dr. David Kim, the first employee hired by Harry Holt upon his arrival in Korea in 1956. David pioneered inter-country adoption in the modern era. It was Dr. Kim's knowledge of Korea and his unwavering tenacity that helped Holt maneuver uncharted bureaucratic and procedural waters. More than 55 years later, Kim remains an eloquent champion for homeless and abandoned children worldwide. Please join us for an hour's discussion with Dr. David Kim.

EVENT Thursday, September 13, 2012 5:30 PM | Registration & Reception 6:00 PM | Discussion   Tickets: Families and members of Spence-Chapin can attend at the $10 member rate by just typing in "AKA" as the organization name when purchasing the tickets. Buy your tickets here.

 

The Tradition of Dance

Yusun Kang and Hosun Kang are set to perform authentic dance pieces learned from treasured master teachers from Korea. Both are active performers and have danced on professional stages around the world for more than 20 years.

The American debut of the HwaSunMu, opening on  Saturday, September 8th @ 7:00pm at Flushing Town Hall, is inspired by the famous “PungRyuDo” painting from Chosun period (17c). The dance portrays the elegant contemplation of noble artists, and embodies the beauty of ancient Korean culture, creating a picturesque and artistic interpretation. We're sure you'll appreciate the exquisite artistry and authentic beauty of Korean culture in the  form of traditional dance.

Yusn Kang is the dance director of the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Institute of NY (KTMDI) and Hosun Kang is an instructor at KTMDI 
source:KoreanCulture

General admission tickets are priced at $25 per person For more information, please call KTMDI at 718–961-9255/917-536-8188.

Watch a performance of the HwaSunMu on YouTube

Korea Update - May 2012

April was a wonderful month here at Spence-Chapin, and we hope May is just as bountiful. We received four travel visas last month, enabling four children to join their forever families! Congratulations to all of the families, we share your happiness and wish you the best. Currently, the wait for a referral is 15 months. This April, we received one referral for a 14-month-old child. As mentioned in the April update, due to the slowdown of referrals and travel, the age requirement for Korea program has changed. Families need to submit their registration packet to Spence-Chapin before they are 40 ½ years of age, and must submit their full dossier to Korea, including the I-600 approval, before their 41st birthday. This new requirement went into effect February 14, 2012. For families applying to Spence-Chapin after this date, are subject to this new age requirement. Families who are currently in process, or who applied to Spence-Chapin before February 14, 2012 must submit their dossiers before they are 43 years of age.

Korea is working towards finalizing the adoption process in-country and hopes to have this transition in place by August of this year.  It is yet to be determined how this will affect the timeline and paperwork for adoptive parents. As soon as we are notified by the ministry, we will prepare our families to finalize.

Korea Program Update April 2012

PROGRAM UPDATE The current wait for referral is 15 months. We received two referrals in March and the children were 13 and 14 months old. We received one travel visa in March and three in April.

As mentioned in the March update, due to the slowdown of referrals and travel, the age requirement for the Korea program has changed. Families need to submit their registration packet to Spence-Chapin no later than 40 ½ years old and must submit their full dossier to Korea, including the I-600a approval, before their 41st birthday. This went into effect on February 14, 2012 and for families applying to S-C after this time will be under this new age requirement.  Families currently in process (those who have applied to Spence-Chapin before February 14, 2012) must submit their dossier before their 43rd birthday. Please consult with your social worker to expedite your case if you are currently in between 41 and 43 years of age.

Korea is working towards finalizing the adoption in country by August of this year. It is yet to be determined how this is going to affect the timeline and paperwork for adoptive parents. As soon as we are notified by the ministry, we will prepare our families to finalize their adoption in country appropriately.

 

My Spence-Chapin Korea Internship Experience

  My experience this past summer in Naju, Korea was truly an amazing and wonderful opportunity that I never thought that I would never get the chance to do, but I know now that after participating in the Korean Internship program, it is something that I will never forget. I am so honored to have received this scholarship and been given the chance to take care of all the babies and children in the SWS baby center in Naju.

Before I went, I was extremely nervous and I had no idea what to expect. I was lucky to have had friends who were also given the scholarship so I was given a lot of extra information and I had a better idea of what to expect when I arrived in Naju. When I stepped off the KTX train from Seoul to Naju, I knew that this was it. We were greeted by Sun, who was one of the workers at the baby’s reception center. She brought us to the Baby Center where the rest of the staff and the director of the center further greeted us. Alex Miller, another Korean Intern from Spence-Chapin, and I presented our gifts that we had brought for the children and babies, and they were all extremely grateful. After that we were given a tour of the grounds and introduced to some of the children that we would be taking care of.

When we were finished meeting the children I was given the chance to relax and get settled. Alex was staying in the main building and I was staying in the “little moms house”.  I really enjoyed staying with the little moms. Although they were shy at first, and there was a big language barrier between us they were still welcoming and very nice to me. The little moms are the girls who are pregnant and staying in the house until they give birth and the others have already given birth and are recovering and staying there until they can return to their homes. I really enjoyed staying with the little moms, we all would hangout and watch television or play games on our lap tops or have ice cream parties and eat pizza and snacks. A lot of times, I would watch the little moms make toys and clothing for their babies. It was important to them to know that they were sending their baby away with something that was from them, one of the girls told me that it was her way of leaving a part of her with her baby. Some of the little moms also kept journals with photos of their sonograms and wrote letters to their babies saying they were sorry they had to give them up, but it was because they loved them very much and only wanted the best for them and that they deserved a much better life than they could give them. It was extremely emotional and the little moms always took pride in what they made for their babies and most of the girls who had already given birth would show me photos of their baby.

On my first day, I was both nervous and excited to see all of the little babies, the caretakers were so nice and I spent the day helping in each room feeding, changing and playing with the babies. It took a few days but I was able to adapt to the schedules of all the babies and I knew when they would be eating and napping. Although there were so many rooms and so many babies to help out with, I always found myself in one room where I had developed a special bond with the babies that were there. One of my favorite things was taking the children with the caretakers on special outings. Over the course of my stay in Naju, we went on field trips to a few different locations that were absolutely beautiful and a lot of fun. I really enjoyed taking the older children out because it was nice to see them having a good time and getting to spend some extra time with them. Some of the places that we went to were a bamboo forest, a green tea field and my favorite was the rose garden trip. The Rose garden was beautiful and had several different types of rose bushes everywhere and there was also a huge fountain that you could run through and cool off. I took one of the kids through and he loved it and did not mind at all getting wet. At the end of each trip we always got ice cream with the kids. They always looked forward to it and it made me realize how much I was given as a child, it is the littlest things that you take for granted, like going to the grocery store or getting a small toy, or even ice cream. These kids do not usually leave the orphanage unless it’s for a special trip or to go to the doctors, so for them going out and even getting ice cream was a big deal for them.

Everyday was a new adventure for me, we had a schedule of events and things that were happening for each week, but the schedule usually changed almost everyday. Some of the other activities that I was able to experience was making Korean food, there was a day that I made kimbop and another day I made a spicy radish. There were even certain days where the little moms would help and we would all do a project together. On one of the days we all made cakes, I love to bake and I found that it was interesting that even though I had no idea what was being said, I knew from baking so much what I was supposed to do. One of my favorite cultural experiences that I was able to participate in was a traditional tea ceremony. Alex and I dressed up in the hanbok clothing and were given lessons on how toKorean hanbok costume bow, and how to drink tea at a traditional ceremony. On another day we were taken to this conference and asked to speak about our lives and what it was like to be adopted. I think that it was really important to talk about where we were from and especially to share our story with people who are Korean. It gives them the chance to see that kids who are sent out of the county still live very happy and normal lives with several opportunities. I am so grateful for the life that I live and for all of the things that I have been given.

Usually on the weekends if we did not have a trip we were given down time, the staff at the baby center, always made sure that we were taken care of and they even took the time out of their busy schedules to take Alex and myself on outings or in to town to do some shopping. We were even taken out to a special restaurant for lunch so we could have a special soup Naju was known for. They always asked us if there was anything special that we wanted to do. Before I knew it, we were getting near the end of our stay in Naju. In the last week, Alex and I were taken out by the staff and treated to a delicious dinner at a restaurant that was in the same home where we had our traditional tea ceremony. They also gave us a wonderful going away dinner. The staff, the little moms, and the caretakers were all there. Alex and I again shared our adoption stories with everyone. After dinner we also had a karaoke party and sang and danced, it was definitely an amazing night.

On the day that we were leaving, I knew that I would be emotional, after spending a month with these little babies and children and forming close bonds with some of them, it was very difficult to say good bye to them. I had secretly wished that they would let me take one of the babies home with me, but I knew that that would not be possible. I was able to hold and say good-bye to my favorite baby, HeeBi as well as some of the caretakers that I had gotten close to. The little moms made me a poster that said “Good-bye Jennine” and they all wrote something on the poster, some wrote things in Korean and some even wrote things to me in English. One of the things that I know I will remember is that I was told that the little moms would look at Alex and myself and have hope and believe that their babies would turn out like us, and be given a wonderful life like we had. It was hard to leave but I was also ready to go back to Seoul at the same time. This experience that I was given is one that I know I will never forget. I am so honored to have received the scholarship from Spence-Chapin. This trip was truthfully the best experience of my life. I never thought that I would ever do anything like this. But getting to go back to Korea, and retrace my roots and be in the same town that my birth mother was from and was also living in was something that was very significant to me. Although I was not able to make contact with her, I know that I have closure knowing she is married and living her own life, and I know that in her heart she is happy that I am doing the same. I will always remember all the children and babies that were there and all of the photos that I have are priceless memories that will last forever for me. When I wake up I wonder if they are about to sleep and at night I know they are starting their day or sometimes eating lunch. I know that I will think about them every day and hope that they will be adopted and have a chance to live a life like I have. I will never forget this summer in Korea, I hope that I can visit the baby center in Naju in the future.

- Jennine Cusimano, Summer 2011.

Korea Country Program March 2012 Update

The current wait for referral is 15 months. We received three referrals in February and the children were 12 months old. Children will be 12-18 months at the time of referral for future referrals and the age at the time of home coming will be up to 24 months old. There were no travel visas issued in the month of February from the Ministry of Health and Welfare from Korea. This is due to reviewing/revising of adoption policies within the ministry. We are hopeful that the travel will begin in March.  

Due to the slowdown of referrals and travel, the age requirement for the Korea program has changed. Families need to submit their registration packet to Spence-Chapin no later than 40 ½ years old and must submit their full dossier to Korea, including the I-600a approval, before their 41st birthday. This is effective immediately for all new applicants. Families currently in process (at least approved through Spence-Chapin registration phase) must submit their dossier before their 43rd birthday. Please consult with your social worker to expedite your case if you are currently in between 41 and 43 years of age.

 

Korea is working towards finalizing the adoption in country by August of this year. It is yet to be determined how this is going to affect the timeline and paperwork for adoptive parents. As soon as we are notified by the ministry, we will prepare our families to finalize their adoption in country appropriately.

Korea Roots Family Tour 2012

We will be hosting our Roots Family Tour on July 3 – July 15, 2012.  This 13-day tour is specially designed for children and young adults of Korean heritage to visit the country of their birth with their adoptive families. The goal of experiencing first-hand the history and culture of Korea is of vital importance to many Korean adoptees.  We are partnering with FCA in Connecticut and AIAA in Michigan for this tour.  This is a worthwhile trip to keep in mind for the future! Click here to download a copy of the registration form. Click here to download a copy of the information brochure.

To learn more about other Korea summer programs, click here.

 

Korea History and Culture

The March First Movement, or the Samil Movement, was one of the earliest displays of Korean independence movements during the Japanese occupation of Korea. The name refers to an event that occurred on March 1st 1919, hence the movement's name (literally meaning "Three-One Movement" in Korean). This is one of the holidays that is largely remembered and celebrated throughout the nation on March 1st. Tapgol Park is historically important as the site of the origin of the March 1st Movement in 1919, an important part of the Korean independence movement as the first location for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. There are many statues and monuments in the park. It is a great place to visit and learn about the history of Korea.

Korea Program Update - February 2012

Families currently in the process of adopting a child from Korea can anticipate a 14-15 month wait for child referral. We received two in December and both were children who were 11 months old. Though no referrals were issued January, we expect that future ones will be of children ages 10-18 months. Therefore, when your child comes home, he or she will be approximately 15-24 months old.

With that, your home study will need to reflect your openness to a child up to 24-months old at the time of placement. If you are already awaiting a referral, please speak with your worker to update or amend your home study right away. And please send a copy of the updated or amended home study to Spence-Chapin along with an amended I-600A approval which should reflect the child approved age to 24 months.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea did not issue any travel visas in January. Due in part to a typical slowdown as they approach the New Year and reviewing/revising of adoption policies within the ministry.

Update: As a reminder, families adopting from Korea must meet all the eligibility requirements set by Korea and SWS throughout their adoption process.

Korea Program January 2012 Update

The wait for referral continues to be 12-15 months. We received three referrals in November and the children were 11 months, 12 months, and 13 months old.  We continue to expect that the children will be 10-18 months at the time of referral for future referrals. Therefore, children coming home will be approximately 15-24 months old. Please note that your home study will now need to reflect your openness to a child up to 24-months old at the time of placement. If you are already awaiting a referral, please speak with your worker to update or amend your home study right away. And please send a copy of the updated or amended home study to Spence-Chapin along with an amended I-600A approval which should reflect the child approved age to 24 months.

Upcoming Program Workshops - The next Korea Program Workshop – introducing the Korean adoption process, partner agency in Korea, and overview of the Korea program – required for those adopting from Korea, is being held on January 23rd from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm at our New York City office. Contact Namyi Min for more information.

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Cultural Events

Korean New Year, commonly known as Seollal is the first day of the lunar Korean calendar and falls on January 23rd his year. It is the most important of the traditional Korean holidays and consists of 3 days of celebrations.  Korean New Year is typically a holiday for the whole family. Many Koreans dress up in colorful hanbok, the traditional Korean clothing, and perform ancestral rituals in the morning. Tteok guk, soup with rice cakes, is commonly served during this holiday.

Sebae is a traditional practice of paying respect to parents and grandparents on Korean New Year. Children visit their parents and wish them a happy new year by doing a deep traditional bow for them. This is accompanied by the words saehae bok manhi badeuseyo which literally means receive a lot a new year’s luck. Parents reward this by giving their children New Year’s money and offering words of wisdom.

Folk games: Many Koreans play the traditional family board game, Yut. Men fly kites and play jaegi chagi, a game where a light object is wrapped in some paper or cloth, and then kicked in a hackisack manner. Women play nurtwigi, which is a game of jumping on a seesaw.

Events:

To learn more Korean traditions, head to the day long family event on January 21st at the Korea Society.

The Korean Cultural Service NY also offers a full calendar of events.

For those of you interested in the modern Korean offering, APAP is hosting JANYA at Drom on Friday January 6, 9pm.

Lunar New Year Festival: Join the Flushing Library  in celebrating the Year of the Dragon, January 28. Chinese and Korean Culinary Arts and Crafts, food preparation, and traditional song and dance round out this day.