Wednesday, August 23, 2017

There Are Six Citizens Sitting at My Dinner Table Tonight

Today was a pretty special day for our family.  After waiting over 14 months, we finally got word that K and L would FINALLY be getting their Certificate of Citizenship.

Some of you might be asking what the heck is that and do I need one?

When a child is adopted from overseas they don't automatically become a citizen of the United States. But sometimes they do.  When G came home from China, both Brian and I traveled to China and met her before she was officially "adopted". Because we met her before the court order making her our daughter the moment we stepped off the plane in the United States, she became a citizen and they mailed us her Certificate of Citizen ship within about a month.

When H came home, only Brian traveled to DRCongo to pick him up.  Since only one parent was present he did not automatically become a citizen.  He came home on a "green" card as a "permanent legal resident".  We quickly filled out the paperwork to get him official and after about 6 months his certificate finally arrived.

I and J were a very weird case.  Brian and I both traveled to bring the boys home, but changes in law were happening while we were in Congo so although we thought they were automatically going to be citizens, that didn't happen.  We also were not able to do their name changes while in Congo.  So about a year after coming home they became citizens, but we also had to go to court in our home state to get their names changed.  Which meant their Certificates of Citizenship had the wrong names.  We had to apply for new certificates with corrected names, which cost over $300 EACH and took over six months to get.

PHEWWWWW!  And finally to the girls.  They did not come home as citizens.  We had to apply once we got them home, but this time we decided to wait until after they had their legal name changes in our state.  So back to a US court, name changes, and then.....well by then quite frankly we were out of money.  It was going to cost over $1000 more to get their Certificates of Citizenship and it didn't seem that urgent at that moment, so we just waited.  .

But then rumors started to circulate that the prices to get these certificates were going to increase by double or more.  So we bit the bullet (or the credit card) and started the paperwork.  We officially applied in June 2016.  And waited.  And waited. And waited.  And people we knew from around the country got their Certificates.  And people who applied much later than we did got their certificates.

Then we got a new president.  So what has that got to do with anything?  Well, this particular new president didn't seem to think too highly of immigrants.  And I had a bunch of them living in my house.  So the wait seemed to feel even longer and heavier.  But I did find out that the particular field office that handled our particular case was the busiest office in the country.  So I did my best to just put it out of my head.

Then last week our notice to appear at the official office of immigration came in the mail.  And today we got our OFFICIAL Certificates of Citizenship.  All the names are spelled correctly, dates are right, and we have 6 OFFICIAL citizens sitting at our dinner table tonight.

You probably heard my sigh of relief all the way up in Alaska!

Just to add to the excitement, G threw up in the car on the way to the offices.  It was a very long drive in very bad traffic and road construction and her little car sick self didn't quite make it.  It's not an event if someone doesn't throw up!

Next, I have to take a trip to the Social Security offices and get their cards updated with their new status. Before December.  Ugg!  More lines.  But this time its free :)

For tonight, we celebrate with spaghetti and Yahtzee!

Hope you and all your little citizens have a great night, too!
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