...and then I woke up.
I have dreamt about the boys before, but I've never had a "going to pick up the boys" dream before. I had lots of dreams before our court date of things going wrong (family members going to the orphanage to pick up the boys, paperwork being forgotten, the judge not granting an adoption order, etc.). Those dreams all ended with me waking up terrified that they might come true. But not this dream. This time the dream was good. This time Jellybean came running to me when he saw me and wrapped his arms around my neck (Peanut needed a little more coaxing, so he went to ask the nanny if I really was his mommy). This time I woke up and started to ache when I realized the dream was not real. I wasn't in Ghana, and I have not met my boys.
This morning I also woke up to some disheartening news from Anita. She has been trying to find ways for us to get to Ghana ASAP to pick up our boys. We've passed court, but the court documents aren't printed yet. We can't file our I-600 until we have the court documents. But, where to file the I-600 is causing us great angst. You see, we could file it in Ghana, but no one can guarantee how long it will take to process there. Surely it will process faster in Ghana than here in our local USCIS office, but perhaps not fast enough for us to get I-600 approval AND the boys' visas within 2 weeks (which is about the longest we can stay in Ghana). We can file the I-600 in our local office and wait for approval, then wait for the approval to go to the National Visa Center and then to Ghana, but that will add AT LEAST 2 months onto our wait (one month for local USCIS to process the I-600, and another month for approval to finally reach Ghana). We were hoping that we would hear that our agency could file the I-600 for us in Ghana, or that we could mail the I-600 to the office in Ghana for processing. But, we heard this morning that the agency cannot file for us. Our next option is for us to either travel to Ghana twice (once to file the I-600 and then to pick up the boys when all is done) or to travel to Ghana to file the I-600 and then have the boys escorted home. Either of these options will get the boys home sooner than filing the I-600 here.
The problem? Money.
Traveling twice will cost extra money. Granted, one of us could travel alone the first time to file the I-600, but it will still cost a considerable amount to buy airfare, stay in hotels, pay for transportation, food, etc. while in Ghana. And, this option means that only one of us will meet the boys on this trip. We've both had a kind of romantic notion of meeting the boys at the same time...that we would all become a family of four together. But, both of us traveling both times would be very cost prohibitive. We're estimating that the plane tickets alone will cost at least $1500 per person (though we may be able to find cheaper tickets, at least for the first trip over). If we both travel on the first trip, and then have the boys escorted, we will have to come up with the cost of escort ($5000). Yikes!
It seems strange to be at this point and have to start worrying about money. We've been hemorrhaging money during this whole process....a few hundred dollars here....a few thousand dollars there. But the truth is, we're getting to the point where we HAVE to pinch these last bits left and save as much as we can. We have the money we need to travel to get our boys, but we don't have the extra to travel twice or to travel and have the boys escorted.
It is heartbreaking to think that we might not be able to meet our boys for an additional two months (or more) because we can't come up with the extra $5000 it will take to either travel a second time or have the boys escorted. But, that's where we are.
I'm having one of those days where my heart is just aching for those two little boys.