Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making progress ...,

My dossier is currently in country awaiting translation.  I'm scrambling to pull together the initial fee required for translation.  The weather this winter has resulted in higher heating costs than expected so I haven't been able to set aside as much as I anticipated. The funds available via Reece's Rainbow will be available for adoption costs once I receive the travel invitation.  That can't come until the translation of my dossier is complete.   Our family has a gofundme site for donations and all of those made to that site will be accessible immediately and will help to cover the initial $2,000.  The in-country agency has been so patient as we waited for the new home study. The original home study was for a non-Hague country and the requirements are different for the new nation, so I had to start over. 

Oksana's adoption costs included the initial agency fees ($7,000), the home study fee ($2250), and all of the miscellaneous document fees for marriage and divorce certificates, birth certificates, medical exams, fingerprinting and background clearances, and then apostille fees to verify notary validity.  The apostille fees for Russia were about $800 total. The foreign program fee was $15,500 and travel costs were about $3000 for the first trip.  Immigration approval was about $900. All of those costs were covered by savings, fundraising, yard sales, selling furniture out of my house, and  donations.  Some of the initial agency fees were credited to my new adoption, but all of the documentation had to be replaced. Most of it remained in Russia and was sealed for that nation. Those for which I had maintained copies required recertification as if they had never been done.  The new home study was also not covered by any of the previous fees.  Because the new country requires Hague approval, we had to request immigration approval again with a different form and another $900 check.  

We are in the home stretch of this adoption! When I receive the travel invitation, we will visit with the boys, spend time getting to know them, and accomplish in-country business required to facilitate the adoption.   After my return home, the court process will be managed by the agency. As soon as that is done, we will receive permission to return to pick the boys up and bring them home.   The older boy is aware that a family is coming for him. He must be on pins and needles waiting to see if it is really true. His heart has already been broken by family members unable to care for him.  He is eleven years old and desperately wants to belong to a family.  The sooner I can get there and show him that there are people who love him and people he can trust, the sooner we can begin to establish a bond that builds confidence and eases transition. 

How brave are these older children who hold so much hope that they are willing commit to trust a stranger enough to move across the world to an unknown future in which the possibilities are endless? I know adults who aren't brave enough to venture from their home towns.  I am amazed and so proud of this boy for being willing to trust me to keep my word. 

Here is the link to our gofundme site. http://funds.gofundme.com/index.php?route=fundmanager

Please consider donating to the translation costs. It is the main delay in scheduling travel. 

If you prefer, a tax deductible donation can be made to our Reece's Rainbow account and will help to cover the remaining $9,000 in foreign fees and travel costs for my first trip and then trip two for the boys to come home! 

Please help by praying for us as we complete this adoption and the transition period that follows. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Getting closer!!

It has been a while since my last adoption update. I have been steadily unpacking our belongings in the new house and preparing a place for each of the boys. This has involved setting up bunk beds, armoires, and closet shelves all around, as well as organizing the rest of the home to accommodate our needs.  

During the settling in there have also been visits with the social worker to complete my updated home study.  The final clearance arrived tonight and all that remains is receipt of the approval from USCIS (immigration) before I can travel. Well, that and the remaining funding required.  

In other related news, I heard from an AWANA leader in an English-speaking church in the boys' home country. I had been looking for translated resources in hopes that I could find an AWANA book to share with the older boy when I go to visit.  We are very involved in AWANA at home and thought it would be fun to share a little of what we do here with them.   The Baptist church in the capital city has three Sparks books and the first of the T&T books translated and printed. They will have them for me when I arrive there. What a great day this has been in the adoption world!  It is starting to feel a little more real again. I am finding it is much like a second pregnancy- remembering along the way little milestones I had forgotten, suddenly facing what is the exciting and scary reality that I am about to be a mother to two new children. I think, "oh, yes! I remember this now! I thought I would never feel that way again."

But, here I am, waiting on The Lord as each step approaches in His time.

I have made friends over the last year or so who didn't get to follow along with Oksana's adoption. Many have asked about the cost breakdown for the adoption and what more I am required to raise.  I thought I would share the cost list here for anyone interested.  

The foreign fee is $11,000.  Before I began the adoption process with Oksana, I thought the foreign fee went to the country. It actually goes to the agency in the country where the children live and covers the translation of all of my documents, transportation in country, the fees for the translator to accompany me for visits and business and the filing of all of my court documents. The best news is that the $11,000-fee covers both children.  In addition to that, the fee to USCIS to file my approval is $895. Unfortunately, because Russia is not a Hague convention country, the approval I received previously is not acceptable. Apparently it requires a different form.  Lastly, a plane ticket and visa to Eastern Europe and hotel costs remain ($2500-3500).  Currently, my adoption account stands at $6,000.  To make my first trip to meet the boys and take care of the adoption business I must have those fees.  Remaining fees due for trip two include another $2500-3000 for my travel, a plane ticket for each of the boys (approx. $2000) and their passports and visas.   

Will you commit to pray for our family and the boys as they wait?  Pray for the Baptist church in their country. They are too far from where the boys are to do much directly with them, but the resources they are providing to me are invaluable. Pray for their work and ministry to their community.  Pray that God will lead the right people to provide the needed funds in accordance with His timing and that our hearts will wait patiently for it all to come together as He wills. 

Thank you for hanging in on this journey. It has been a long one with many unexpected turns. I appreciate that you are still with me and look forward to sharing with you the remainder of this chapter of our adoption journey. 

Anyone interested in following the fund-raising progress may do so.  There is an account tally on the Reece's Rainbow website. If you or someone you know is interested in making a donation, it may be done at the following link:  http://reecesrainbow.org/30039/sponsorjohnson-2