Thursday, February 28, 2019

Worth every penny

Nikolai and Viktor have been home more than 4 months now, and I have finally got round to going through all of the receipts etc from our adoption.

  I hope this will be useful to families considering adoption, in some way !

Initial expenses - $11,979.50

Holt International (home study) - $3600
Reece's Rainbow - $275
Hand of Help in Adoption (Facilitation) - $900
CCAI (Hague Oversight/Primary Provider) - $3900
Fingerprints/Background Checks - $514.50
Apostilles for Dossier Documents - $875.00
Marriage/Birth Certificates - $224
Medical (Physicals/labs - co-pays) - $335
USCIS - $1030 
Postage - $155.75
Misc (Books, printer paper/ink etc) - $170

First Trip - July 2018 (7 nights) - $17,989

Flights for 3 (From Sioux Falls, SD - Kiev) - $2913
Facilitation team ($8500 plus $2500 for 2nd child) - $11,000
Food - $227
Accommodation - $465
Facilitator/Driver - $250
Trains (to and from Kiev/Zaporizhia) - $200
Misc - $42
Flights for 3 (from Kiev - Sioux Falls) - $2892

Second Trip - August 2018 (5 nights) - $5202

Flights for 2 (from Sioux Falls - Dnipro) - $2270
Food - $93.00
Accommodation - $266.00
Facilitator/driver - $179.00
Misc - $36.00
Flights (from Zaporizhia - Sioux Falls) - $2358

Third Trip - Sept/Oct 2018 - (23 nights) - $9837

Flights for 2 (Minneapolis to Dnipro) - $2158
Food $370
Accommodation - $906
Facilitator/driver - $484
Train (Zap - Kiev) - $91
Misc - $71
Passports x 2 - $1000
Medicals x 2 - $460
Embassy (i600 for 2nd child plus 2 x visas) - $1425
Flights for 4 (Kiev - Minneapolis) - $2872

Adoption Total - $45,007.50

They were worth every single penny !!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

5 months ago....

I appear to have been very negligent in keeping up this blog - so sorry !   Once we got our travel dates, I posted all the updates in a "secret" Facebook group, and am just now realizing I should get back to blogging !  SO, here goes :)

FIVE months ago - on July 5th 2018 - we walked into an institution in Ukraine, to meet "Vijay" and "Athens".  I honestly can't tell you what I was thinking that day, it is all a blur at this point - I remember walking into the building and going to the director's office; I remember her gushing and telling us what a wonderful place it was; I remember the doctor coming in and reading the medical files to us; I remember them asking "do you want to go and meet them now?".   

The director told us she would give us a little tour of the place, so we walked outside.  Our 15 year old, Newt, was with us, so took most of the pictures and video for us :)

We walked along the walkway a little, then stopped where a group of children were hanging out in the shade under some trees.  Some were in strollers,  some were on a swing, others on little camp beds.  There were also a couple laying on an airbed - and it took me a couple of glances before I realized they were our boys !!!

It was a very strange first meeting - but thankfully, I was prepared, and knew that there would be several people standing around watching our first interactions, to see if we would be suitable parents (including Newt LOL) 

Eventually, our observers mostly left, and after about an hour, our facilitator, Alex, came back and asked if we were sure, now we had met them, that we wanted to adopt them.  We of course said YES, so he went back to the director to set the adoption wheels in motion.

Now, here we are, five months later.

They have been home with us 8 weeks - they are now Nikolai Alexey (Athens) and Viktor Joseph (Vijay) - just look at them now !!

In future blogs I will tell more about our trips to meet them, have court, and bring them home, but I just wanted to mark our 5 month "metcha" anniversary today :)  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

We have a date !!

I work in a school, our last day was June 1st, so I have been enjoying lazing around at home for a few days now !!   As always happens, it takes me a little time to get out of the habit of waking up early - so last Friday, waking up at around 8:30am was a luxury !!  When I got up, I wandered around, got some breakfast, then glanced - without my reading glasses - at my cell phone, to see if I had missed anything - only to see a blurry text, and a couple more notifications I couldn't read - other than thinking I could see the name "Nancy".

Nancy is one of the most important people in our adoption process !!
Nancy is with Hand of Help inAdoption - she helps us through every single step of the adoption process, and without her I don't think this would have even been possible !!

Oh - and Nancy is the one who calls you to tell you your travel dates.

Yes - the travel dates we have been waiting for.

Yes, she called me  - and I was asleep ! 

Once I'd found my glasses, I saw that she had messaged me, called me, and left a voice mail - to which I immediately responded (once my hands had stopped shaking and my vision had cleared LOL)


Yes - we have an appointment at the adoption office in our boys country on

JULY 3RD AT 10AM  !!!!!

Once I had recovered from the excitement, and let my husband know, I contacted a couple of travel agencies who offer humanitarian rates for adoptive families.  The advantage of this is that the rates are cheaper, they have the ability to get/change flights at short notice, and there is an increased baggage allowance !  I contacted two agencies - Golden Rule and Adoption Airfares.  I had already read a little about them both, and know families who had used both, so I knew they were both reputable and easy to work with.

I told them our dates - I was hoping to travel on my birthday, June 30th, but flights were cheaper by several hundred the following day, so we will fly out on July 1st !

Another issue with adoption flights is that once we are in country, the time line is uncertain - we don't know how long we'll be there, as everything will be out of our hands - so we have to book one way flights. 

 For this trip, our 15 year old son Newt will be traveling with us - so for 3 one way flights it is costing us $2913.  Thankfully, because we have a grant with Reece's Rainbow,  the travel agency was able to bill them directly, which made things easier ! :)  

We will arrive in country on the afternoon of July 2nd, and will have our appointment the following morning - this is when we will, all being well, be able to view Vijay and Athens' files at the adoption office - and tell them that yes, we want to go and meet them !   

There is a possibility that they will give us the OK the same day - if this happens, we will jump on an overnight train to their region (they are quite a long way from the capital city) - and get to meet them the following day - July 4th !!!

We're not sure how long we will be there - different orphanages have different rules as to how often you need to visit before you can say YES - so we'll just have to play it by ear.

Once we do say YES, there will be some paperwork to deal with, then we will fly home, and wait for news of the court date, which will be trip # 2.

I just cannot wait to see our boys !!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Boys we Left Behind.

I thought I should update, even though there isn't really much to say !  We are still waiting to be invited over to meet the boys - I am anticipating getting travel dates within the next 10 days - and think we will probably have our appointment at the adoption office in the first week of July (this will be the first of three trips).

Of course, this is all speculation - it is all out of our hands right now, and I am estimating our dates by seeing where those just ahead of us in the process are at !   

So many things could happen to affect our timeline, though - after following so many adoption stories over the years, I have learned that nothing goes the way you expect it to - so we are trying to prepare for anything and everything - as we found out when we lost Sealey.

So - while we wait, I would like to share some children with you.

These are the boys who made the short list, when we were trying to choose our new son.  I went through every child on Reece's Rainbow who met our criteria, and came up with 15 boys.  I showed just their pictures, separately, to both my husband and our 14 year old son - and asked them to pick out 5 boys each.

I then compared their lists.

THREE boys were on both lists !




As you know, we chose Vijay - at the time, we were only planning on adopting one boy.  I cannot tell you how incredibly hard it was, knowing that, while we will be bringing Vijay home, we will be leaving the others behind - I have a lot of guilt about the ones we did NOT choose.

The other boys on our short list are shown below.
Please see them - they are all just as deserving of a family as Vijay and Athens - they ALL need a family to show that what life is truly about.

PLEASE see them - share them - let's get them seen and get them found !!!











Brody and Auggie (brothers)

Of course, Athens was also on the list !

These boys are all so so worthy - and so so desperate for a family.
They are the least likely to be chosen - they are older, they are disabled, and they are boys - they have a triple whammy against them.

Please, please, please - see them - share them - adopt them ??

You can click on their name to see their profile on Reece's Rainbow - so you can share them all or just one or two of them !!