While we thought that 2012 was ending on the somber note of having to pay and redo our USCIS paperwork, it actually ended with a glimmer of hope. After applying for 9 grants (I counted to make sure), all of which gave unfavorable replies due to lack of funds, we were unsure of how to proceed.
After seeing our run of unsuccessful assistance, our agency suggested a credit union that they work with sometimes. They offer low interest adoption loans to families who are running out of options. Yep, that was us - snag after snag and nowhere else to turn. Our agency needed our next portion of fees, and we just didn't have it. KC had just started a new job because his old one wasn't providing as it had in the past. We. Were. Stuck.
We have been debt free since I lost my job when I was preggers with Oliver. We own both our vehicles, we rent our house, and other than a few small medical bills, we have no payments save utilities. So, as far as credit goes, I’m sure we were sub-par. That made us a bit nervous about even trying. But, we decided to give it a shot.
We gave them a call and gave them all the necessary preliminary information. Well, the holidays came and went, and we hadn't heard back from them. KC and I assumed were weren't eligible. But I convinced KC to call them one last time. I wanted to at least know for sure.
KC called me back on Monday the 31st and said we were approved! We were so excited! But then, we realized it was “pending account membership”. Well, we've never worked with a credit union before, so we didn't know if the rules were different. So, we sent in all the paperwork and sent up a few prayers. Wednesday night we got a call from our loan officer – Miss M. She had a few questions about the paperwork so I gave her the information she needed. Then, this conversation went on:
Me: Is there anything else you need?
Miss M: No, that should be it! I’ll work on getting this processed.
Me: Great, so do you have an idea of when we’ll know anything?
Miss M: …… Know what?
Me: About when we’ll know whether or not we got the loan.
Miss M: Oh! You were approved for the loan.
Me: *starting to freak out but reigned it back in* Right, pending account membership. When do we find out about that?
Miss M: Oh – I am so sincerely sorry. I should have made it more clear. You were approved for the loan and your membership was processed and approved today.
Me: …… Seriously. Seriously!!!
Miss M: *laughing* Yes, I’m so sorry I didn't realize you didn't know that.
Me: So we got it!?
Miss M: Yes, you got the loan.
Me: KC! We got it! Oh, man. Oh my goodness, thank you SO much! I’m about to cry! (then I proceeded to babble... I'm not quite sure what else I said. Haha)
Miss M: *laughing* Congratulations. I’m glad I could be of help! Now, I’m processing this today and tomorrow and they should be able to get a cashier’s check cut on Friday and mailed to you. Does that sound okay?
Me: (still in shock mind you) Um, yes, yes that would be fantastic!
Miss M: Great! You should get it sometime next week.
Yeah, I seriously said that. I would've hugged her through the phone if I could have.
Now, I've not done this in the past because people will use any excuse to bad-mouth adoption and adoption agencies, but I’m going to break down what our fees have been and what we have left to give you an idea of where it goes. I want you all to keep in mind that there are real live people out there helping us bring our daughter home – on both ends. They have families and have to make a living too. No, adoption isn't cheap, but there are a lot of people and procedures out there to help keep it as ethical as possible – no matter if you’re adopting domestically or internationally (and don't forget how big the medical bill is after giving birth, you're just lucky that insurance helps cut that cost down for you).
I’m not going into deep detail, but I’ll give you an idea of what’s been done and what is left. So many of you have helped us in the past, and we want you to see how much you have helped us in our journey. It really does take a village. :))
Agency fees: $8,800
Country fees: $9,000
Third party fees (USCIS, visas, etc): 1720
+ 890 to re-file our USCIS Immigration approval
This number does not include all the documents we had to pay for at the beginning to even start the process: multiple certified copies of birth certificates and marriage license, passports, 10 hours of online training classes, books to read, physicals, psychologist evaluation for me (it’s official, I’m NOT crazy. Haha!), etc.
Estimated Travel costs: $6,980-$11,600
The travel costs depend on a variety of factors: travel visas, airline tickets, the size of room we want at the guesthouse our agency uses, transportation in-country, etc. When we researched tickets, most airlines had them at $1,200+. However, we've heard of a few tricks to use and even of a travel agency that specializes in adoption travel. Tickets through them were closer to $900. And after much discussion, we don’t need more than a small room for sleeping at the guesthouse or our own personal bathroom - we're fine with using the Jack and Jill type one adjoining 2 of the rooms. We’ll be out and about most of the time anyway. :)
We have paid well over 7,000 in our official fees (plus all the other extras) and have just about $12,000 in fees left.
Our loan is for $10,000. Seriously amazing right? Now, we continue to save the other little bit and travel costs. The other good news is, since we own both our vehicles, we can take out another small loan to help with travel costs! Even more amazing eh?
We also talked to our social worker on Friday, since KC started his new job, we're supposed to wait until he's been in the position for 3-6 months before getting a letter from his new employer so we can re-file our USCIS paperwork. They do that so they make sure he is out of his orientation period. We were a bit bummed at the idea of waiting another 6 months! But we found out our agency will send the letter to JB Hunt at the beginning of March! Only after 3 months instead of the normal 6. Why? Because they know we've been waiting SO long and have hit so many setbacks. Haha! So that was definitely another blessing. If everything goes right, we could get our Dossier sent to Ethiopia in late April or early May..... we will officially be waiting for a referral. *cue ridiculous amount of squealing on my part and maybe yours too!*
This is it guys. This is the LAST step before waiting to see a picture of her. This beautiful year is turning out to be amazing! Maybe, just maybe this is the year.....