“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.”
— 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