Thomas, the epics and stories that you add to JIRA Portfolio are not "real" in JIRA Agile until you select the option to create them. We use this feature a lot when we are sitting with our architects and planning out a new feature. We use Portfolio a lot as our white board planning tool. We start by putting everything into Portfolio in the proper hierarchical view and then once everyone is satisfied that we've captured all of the epics and stories for that feature to be at least an MVP we select the option at the highest level of our feature to create the objects in JIRA Agile. You'll know that you've created JIRA tickets when you see the Issue Link field populated.
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