The Impossible Adoption

It has been a long and difficult road for my wife Luciane and I. Though I named our adoption the Impossible Adoption, we are so excited that we have overcome all the incredible hurdles that were thrown at us and this impossibility is no longer. We are happy to announce that we will soon be adopting two beautiful sisters from Brazil, Aged 7 and 9. We are finalizing the adoption after a 10 year journey of trying to have our own children, and then starting the adoption process 5 years ago.

Our path up to this point was not an easy one and it seemed like everything was conspiring against us. We pursued fertility treatment unsuccessfully. Then we started down the adoption path. We had to change agencies, stop the process multiple times due to problems outside of our control, we had one agency forget to file paperwork on time forcing us to refile and pay additional fees, and had a huge recent financial loss just as our last adoption payments were due resulting in us struggling to pay. We were hoping to get maternity/paternity leave through at least one of our employers but now it is clear that will not happen for either of us.

I always dreamed of having children of my own and thought that their childhood might look like through my experiences growing up. Even though I only have one sister, we have a great deal of family both here and abroad. We would often spend our summers running around at our grandparent's home with hoards of little cousins. Most of my cousins now have children of their own and it has been difficult to watch their kids grow as we were struggling.

Whenever Luciane is around children, her face lights up. She has this way of interacting with babies and children that I have always admired; they bond with her instantly. I know she is going to make an amazing mom as she has so much love to give.

Our Referral
At the end of April 2018 we finally got the referral we were awaiting to receive. A group of 4 children were up for adoption by either one family, or two separate families. If the children were separated, the youngest and the eldest would go to one family, and the middle children to another. Our homestudy qualified us for the middle children, 7 and 9 years old. So we immediately requested more information and tried to find out as much information as we were able. We quickly started falling in love with these two beautiful girls as we found out about them, and the long journey that led them to us.

Once we approved the referral by writing an official letter to the judge, our referral was promptly approved and the girls were told about us and the adoption. We soon got a short little silent video of the two waving at us and blowing kisses, clearly a little dazed by the news, excited and nervous. The youngest immediately asked the social worker when her new parents would be picking them up, excited at the thought of having brand new parents.

We got in touch with the other family who lives on the west coast and are keeping in contact to ensure that things will go well. One of the conditions of the adoptions is that we allow the children to stay in contact and see each other occasionally. Looks like our daughters will also gain a new uncle and aunt, and we will have two new nieces :0)

Over the next few weeks and months we started getting paperwork in order, notifying work and immediate family, and always paperwork and more filings. Meanwhile we have been communicating with the girls by sending little videos, and pictures back and forth. We sent them a little care package with two little stuffed animal key chains, coloring books and pencils, socks, and a little book of pictures about our house, their new mom and dad, the neighborhood, school, and local parks. They opened up the packages and we got to see their excitement as they discovered hints of their new lives.

We finally notified all our extended family and some friends. Due to all the problems we have had until now, we have been cautious of announcing the news as we were terrified that something could go wrong. We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

First Contact
Two weeks ago we did a video call for the first time and it went really well. We showed them the house, their room, the kitchen, bathrooms, and they watched with curiosity and intent. They were excited to see their room and we showed them a bunch of teddy bears that we collected over the years and their eyes lit up. We explained that we were still organizing the room and would have it ready before they arrive.

Last weekend they met their grandparents (my parents) for the first time as we did a video chat from their house. The girls were really shy at first but eventually started to talk and ask questions. They told us they recognized my parents from the little book of pictures we had sent and described the photo. The youngest asked again when were were coming so we went over the calendar and the dates. They counted the days and with excitement, told us that we would be there in 19 days.

After talking for an hour and a quarter, we started saying goodbye but they had no interest in hanging up so we continued for another thirty minutes. We will be talking to them once a week until we leave for Brazil. We hope to be back in the US for Christmas so we can all celebrate with the entire family this amazing blessing.

Thank you all for taking the time to read about our journey and share our joy.

Sebastien and Luciane

Additional Info
Please note that we have omitted the names of the girls and any photographs since the adoption is not yet finalized. After all this time, we don't want to do anything that could jeopardize the adoption.

We hope to use this money to cover our salaries while we are away and pay some of the adoption costs and expenses if anything remains. While we will be in Brazil, we hope to put together a blog of our journey to keep everyone updated. Everyone is excited at the prospect of finalizing the adoption and starting our new life together.

We also will accept offline donations that we will keep track of here; this will avoid the fee that is charged by gofundme.

Costs to Date
The following is a list of costs we have uncured throughout our journey. It was an interesting exercise compiling this list since we had no idea we had spent this much.

Costs to date: $45,000

$15,000 Approximate cost of fertility treatment.

$30,000 Approximate cost of first phase of adoption process. Includes two adoption agencies, our home study agency and social worker, all the paperwork that needed to be notarized, authenticated, inspected by various agencies, states, federal government, and the consulate, postage, Dr visits, various clearances (Child abuse, police, FBI), etc.

New Costs: $40,110 (Approximate)

$16,360 Final payment to adoption agency
$450   TB test for girls (new requirement by US)
$1500 One way ticket to Brazil for two        
$1300 House rental for 37 days (for adoption cohabitation period)                  
$2500 Car rentals and taxis                           
$400 Flight to Rio for four one way                        
$3000 Return tickets for 4                        
$600   Hotel for 3 nights in Florianapolis (to get passports)      
$3500 Hotel or Airbnb in Rio for 14 days (to get US visas)   
$3000 Meals and food (we plan to save money by cooking when we have a kitchen)   
$1500 US court and attorney fees to do US adoption       
$4000 Post placement studies (required)      
$2000 Unexpected costs

Approximate amount we will have spent when done: $85,000

Welcoming two beautiful girls into our lives (plus 2 additional nieces): Priceless
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Sebastien Guilmard 
Washington D.C., DC

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