Preparing for Travel: Quarantine

While we are waiting for a judge and assigned court date in Seoul, we are very anxiously and excitedly preparing for our trip to Korea! We will be traveling to Korea sometime in the next 6-12 weeks (for one 6-7 week trip) to quarantine (10 days), meet our sweet boy, go to court, take custody, and fly home! More details about our timeline here.

a cup of coffee on 2 stacks of printed paperwork


When we started the adoption process in late 2019, there was no sign of a pandemic in the United States and we were hopeful that we’d be traveling home with our child sometime in early 2021. We all know that a couple months later the world changed… and so did our timeline/overall process for court and custody in Korea.

Quarantine in Korea

Almost 2 years later and Korea is still mandating inbound travelers to quarantine upon arrival (regardless of vaccination status). There was a brief period of time (August-early December 2021) during which adoptive families like ours could request a quarantine exemption and forgo the government-run quarantine, shortening and reducing the cost of the trip. We are hopeful this exemption will be reinstated before we travel, but we cannot plan on it.

So, What Does this Mean?

I’ll do my best to summarize the process/what we can expect, but because we haven’t gone through it ourselves, these are highlights of the process from our agency/other families who have recently gone through the quarantine experience:

  • Get a covid test AND results within 48 hours of departure.
  • Land in Korea and go through various covid-related checkpoints/customs/etc. If one of us has a fever (anything over 37C) when we land, we are immediately sent for another covid test and will quarantine separately.
  • Get on a bus that will take us to our quarantine hotel. The bus assignments are random. The government has contracted with 8 hotels in Korea where inbound travelers quarantine. We do NOT get to choose where we quarantine and it will be a surprise until we get on the bus.
  • Covid test upon arrival at the quarantine facility.
  • Quarantine for 10 days. If we arrive at the quarantine facility past a specific time, we’ll have to stay for 11 nights.
  • Grant and I plan on being able to stay together in the quarantine room, but we are advised to pack as if we will be separated (and need to bring several copies of our marriage license to plead our case to stay together).
  • Upon arrival at our room, we will not be able to open any doors or windows, roam the halls, or go outside.
  • Reports from recent travelers indicate an overall tough quarantine experience.
  • We expect 1 set of sheets, 1 towel, and not much else to be in our room when we arrive. We cannot have any external deliveries of groceries/personal care products/etc.
  • 3 meals will be delivered each day (a bell rings when we can open the door for food). Trash can be placed outside our door in the evenings when the trash bell rings.
  • Receive a covid test on the 6th/7th day of quarantine and again upon check out.
  • If one of us tests positive for covid during quarantine, I *believe* we have to start the process all over again. Let’s hope we don’t have to cross this bridge!

Quarantine Cost

Our agency has advised us to plan on $150/person/day (so $3,000 total) as well as to bring several additional suitcases filled with cleaning supplies, paper towels, sheets, towels, hot plates, food, and camping essentials (that all add up quickly).

OF COURSE this is all absolutely worth it to bring our sweet boy home and I wish we could have left weeks ago – it is simply part of the process and we are trying to very positively roll with it. And, personally, I want to document this process to look back on years from now and remember all of the craziness we went through to bring our little guy home!!!

Next Steps

Make a packing list, organize paperwork, and begin ordering what we need to take with us for quarantine. At this point, I am planning to pack 4 extra bags for quarantine (smaller duffles): 2 for Grant and 2 for me (in case we are separated). 1 for each of us will be filled with nonperishables (paper towel, cleaning supplies, towels, sheets, food, etc.) and the other will be filled with clothes/toiletries/flip flops (can’t forget the flip flops!!) that we can just toss when the 10 days are up. And to think we *just* cleaned out our closets!

My hope is to keep quarantine items and our post-quarantine items in completely separate suitcases so we don’t have to unpack everything. Simplify simplify simplify!

I’m planning to share our packing lists, so stay tuned 😉

We can’t thank you enough for your continued prayers, good vibes, and positive thoughts. We are so excited to welcome our son to the family – let the countdown begin!!!

All adoption posts here.