My husband Claus and I adopted our children from China as special needs toddlers. Shortly thereafter came the economic troubles in the US, which we were not immune to. Add to that additional unexpected family emergencies, and we found ourselves with our finances drained and our house on the market.
Ming Qiao and Kai Dong are now 11 and 13. In 2016 we used the last of our family funds to relocate from the US to Austria (where my Claus is from) so that the children would have access to better educational opportunities and our family a more affordable cost of living and a better overall quality of life here in the countryside of Austria. Despite further economic hardship caused by our car being part of VW's dieselgate (long ugly story), we've persevered, and with the support of family and friends we made it through a very rough transition. Still we struggle to meet basic expenses, buy groceries, pay school fees - but we somehow manage.
Now, we've just been given the welcome news that both children are approved for citizenship, which is a fantastic thing! As children they can hold both US and Austrian citizenships. However, because they are both adopted and not our natural born children, they are not eligible for the nominal fee of around €100 that is the usual case. Instead, we were shocked to find that the fee is over €1,000.00. Why there is such a huge difference between citizenship for natural born children and adopted, we do not know, but it is critical that we raise these funds ASAP, as the Austrian government requires immediate payment. Another factor is that Kai Dong is turning 14 on December 20, and we've read that this creates a further deadline for Kai, at his birthday. We are working to find out more in this regard.
We appreciate any small amount that can be offered and we are grateful for the assistance that you offer to our children.
With our current financial situation, we cannot meet this expense. In addition, because the citizenship application processing went past the expiration of their residency permits, we were required to pay the residency fee as well. Our total goal for this fundraiser is for all fees for the children's residency and citizenship, including application fees, fundraising fees, as well as the final fee for the citizenship*.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read our plea.
Cherie, Claus, Kai Dong and Ming Qiao Siebert
*NOTE - should the total somehow exceed the goal, all proceeds will go towards critical family expenses. Thank you! *