I am really thrilled to report that Kembe received his official American status this morning, upgrading him from “legal refugee” status to “certified citizen”. Of course, he had no idea what was going on, since I didn’t think he needed to be privy to the stress and annoyance of this process over the last three years. It reminded me of Jafta’s official adoption day that happened 3 years after it should have – yet another stressful process we shielded from the kids, so that when adoption day finally rolled around he was like, “Huh? Didn’t this happen already?” We wish, kid. We wish.
We’re grateful that this symbolizes the end of our adoption journey – no more paperwork, no more government offices and attorneys and internet searches and frustrating delays. It’s all done. I think I may have to have a dossier-burning party to celebrate.
He did get this nice letter from none other than the president himself, which is a bonus.
While we are glad for this process to be over, it was definitely a reminder of the challenges that immigrants face in our country. Kembe’s should have been a quick process – he had the rights to citizenship the minute he was adopted in the US three years ago, and yet it took years of applying, being denied, sending money, filling out forms, making appointments, and eventually hiring an attorney to get it done. I can’t imagine how daunting it must be for someone not fluent in English or without the education or resources we have. I have a new-found empathy for those who come to our country and struggle to gain legal citizenship.
I know there are other families who were in our situation and still waiting on citizenship for their kids – especially those of you who adopted after the earthquake in Haiti. I’m going to work on a post outlining how we got this done because I know that confusion abounds and hopefully I can shed some light on the process. But first, I’m going to pick up my new American from school and take him for ice cream,