“I DIDN’T BE­LIEVE THIS KIND OF MIR­A­CLE COULD HAP­PEN. I CAN’T DE­SCRIBE HOW FULL OF JOY I WAS, HOW HIGHLY LOVED I FELT.”

Red Eye Chicago - - News -

— Bayo Ji­nadu, a Nige­rian im­mi­grant work­ing to bring his chil­dren to the U.S.

Ji­nadu ap­plied in March 2015 for his chil­dren to come to the United States, a process that cost al­most $1,700. He re­ceived the green light from U.S. Cit­i­zen and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices in Jan­uary to be­gin the im­mi­grant visa ap­pli­ca­tion process, which would cost an ad­di­tional $1,300.

The ex­penses in­volved were too high for Ji­nadu, who be­came a U.S. cit­i­zen this month, to pay on his own. But af­ter he heard Ji­nadu’s story, Lic­cardi leaped at the chance to as­sist.

“He asked if I would help him be­cause I was the only per­son he con­sid­ered him­self close to,” Lic­cardi said. “I im­me­di­ately said yes.”

Lic­cardi’s girl­friend sug­gested that he cre­ate a GoFundMe page, and word cir­cu­lated through­out the agency. The cam­paign was posted March 2 with a goal of $5,000 to cover the pa­per­work and plane tick­ets for Ji­nadu’s chil­dren.

The morn­ing af­ter Lic­cardi posted the cam­paign, he found it had al­ready re­ceived $250 in do­na­tions. By the next day, March 4, that num­ber had sky­rock­eted to $3,000.

Af­ter learn­ing they had reached their goal, Lic­cardi im­me­di­ately called Ji­nadu to tell him the news. The fa­ther of four was over­come with emo­tion.

“I couldn’t un­der­stand what he was say­ing,” Lic­cardi said. “But tears are univer­sal.”

The GoFundMe is now closed, with the fi­nal amount stand­ing at $8,870.

“I didn’t be­lieve this kind of mir­a­cle could hap­pen,” Ji­nadu said. “I can’t de­scribe how full of joy I was, how highly loved I felt.”

He wasted no time in fil­ing the pa­per­work to bring his chil­dren here, though it may be a few months un­til their re­union. He hopes to fi­nally see them again come Au­gust or Septem­ber. Ji­nadu is work­ing with an im­mi­gra­tion agent, Pa­tri­cia Soto of the Erie Neigh­bor­hood House Im­mi­gra­tion Cen­ter, to make the process as smooth as pos­si­ble.

“He’s been work­ing so hard since he ar­rived in the United States to be able to bring his fam­ily over,” Soto said. “I’m struck by how hum­ble he is. I’m so im­pressed by his de­ter­mi­na­tion.”

Soto also ad­mires Ji­nadu’s per­se­ver­ance. He still has a few months be­fore the Na­tional Visa Cen­ter pro­cesses the pa­per­work, but once his chil­dren ar­rive, he plans to start them in school im­me­di­ately.

“This is my life­long dream for them,” he said. “My whole life’s am­bi­tion is al­ways to help them build on their ed­u­ca­tion, to get an Amer­i­can ed­u­ca­tion.”

His chil­dren are well aware of the sac­ri­fices he’s made. Al­though they’ll miss their mother, from whom Ji­nadu sep­a­rated in 2005, their sad­ness is as­suaged in know­ing she’ll be able to visit and by their ex­cite­ment at be­gin­ning school in Chicago. Elvira Ji­nadu has al­ready looked into col­leges in the U.S.; she stud­ies mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy at Joseph Ayo Ba­balola Univer­sity near La­gos.

“I prom­ise I’ll do very well and make him proud,” she said. “I won’t make him re­gret do­ing all he did for me and my sib­lings. I promised him we’ll work

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