Did you know that Haiti threatened to not stamp my passport because they could not understand why I had a Haitian passport? They believed I should have a US passport and according to their records, being adopted by US parents meant I was a US citizen. “Where is your US passport?” they would ask me in Creole/French. It is hard to explain everything I feel and how much I don’t understand the answer to their question. There was no time to explain. I just needed my passport stamped so that I could proceed with my daughter’s adoption.
I’m not looking for pity, I’m looking for change.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve lived with an American family. Both of my parents are American Citizens and I was adopted from an orphanage in Haiti.
With adoption comes the responsibilities that follow; physical, spiritual, physiological and emotional care are all part of what keep a person alive. But what allows a person to be successful, and able to pursue life, liberty and happiness, is making sure they have the same rights as you have.
My US citizen parents did not get US citizenship for me and thus I’ve had to navigate on a US visa. I’m blessed to be able to have a US visa and many people would give up materialistic things to be able to have that important stamp in their passport.
I am also extremely blessed to have been given the kind of life that affords me certain luxuries that may not have been available to me had I not been united in this fashion. I am thankful to the force that keeps everything moving forward for me and my family. I am just thankful in general!
But I believe I should not be one of those “lucky” people who got the stamp. I should be one of those people who has the opportunity to work for the US government; approving the stamps for those who apply, qualify and want to see more of the world. I want to be a consular official on the other side of the desk saying “you are approved!” In order to do this, I need that US passport. I should have received citizenship as a legally adopted child of US citizens.
Many of you reading may not know what it is like to stand for many hours waiting to be approved to a country you should have citizenship for. Many reading, have not experienced denial of a visa to a country you wish to explore. Some of you reading will not ever feel your stomach churning, your heart racing, and then tears filling your eyes when hearing “your visa is denied” for the 4th, 5th and even 6th time. I’m fortunate that I have never been denied a US visa. But I’ve been denied visas to different parts of the world due to my not having a US passport. I’ve been denied visas to countries my adoptive family have traveled to for Christmas and thus, left behind. I’ve been required to get a visa for the country I resided in for over 20 years.
And many of you may know how it feels to experience all of the above. Even more of a reason to extend a helping hand to those who are placed incorrectly into the system.
It has not been easy, and many times I was considered “inadmissible” because of the passport I hold. I missed family gatherings, and have been questioned numerous times as to why I was not a US citizen and I could never answer the “why”.
I’ve been blessed though because even though I have been denied entry into many places, having a US visa allows me to be granted visas to other places. But that too comes with a cost. I have traveled to different parts of the world. But as a foreigner, I must use visahq , my trusted site to let me know where I need a visa and how much it costs. Visa requirements for Haitian citizens can be found on Wikipedia and other helpful sites. If you visit the link you will notice that Haitians can travel visa free or visa-on-arrival to 40-45 countries. Some countries allow for travel if the Haitian passport has a EU, Canadian, or US visa. Some countries require prior authorization in order to travel. According to the passport index this ranks Haiti as the 77th passport in the World. This does not sound good. The UK and the US passports are ranked as # 1. To view your passport ranking visit here .
I don’t know the why to the question, I just know that for some reason, the US did not consider me one of them. Was it an oversight of the US government? Was it lack of interest of my US adoptive parents? I won’t ever know. But I believe a combination of the two equals a case such as this.
This indeed is my personal story but I know I am not alone.
There are children adopted by US citizens, and living in the US who are subject to deportation at this very moment. They are being treated like Aliens in a country they were raised in. This is not fair and I want to see this treatment end, not just for me but for everyone involved.
Without US citizenship we don’t have equal rights:
1. we are unable to work without special authorization
2. we are unable to open our own business unless we employ US citizens
3. we are unable to attend school without authorization and/or a special visa
4. traveling to different countries is brutally difficult as many times we are asked to pay extra for visas ahead of time and even denied at times.
5. we are unable to easily get medical care or health insurance
6. we are unable to vote
7. our social security card says “not valid for employment”
8. we are never seen as belonging to the US, when we should.
9. we are always under suspicion.
10. we are aliens
11. we may pass on the same legacy to our children
There are more restrictions to not having a US passport but I just listed a few.
There is currently a petition on Facebook asking to grant equality to foreign adopted children whose adoptive parents failed to acquire U.S. citizenship before 18 years old. It would be great to have more and more people sign this petition and help financially. You can also read stories about other children/adults who have suffered the consequences of their parents not fulfilling their duties and the government failing to grant equality.
I believe something needs to be done. If the government can’t right their wrong, I think they should at least help with the expenses associated with “starting over”. If there is not a fast track to solving this problem, I think a law must be put into place stating that American Citizens can not adopt children overseas unless they plan to completely fulfill their commitment and obligation to their foreign born adopted children. There may be requirements in order to make sure the foreign born child becomes a citizen. PLEASE comply with the requirements, even if it makes you uncomfortable. You may be asked to move to the US for a short period of time (for those living internationally). PLEASE do so to establish residency for your child.
Regardless of fault (US government, or US parents), the wrong needs to be righted. And I will stop at nothing to make sure justice prevails!
I am married to a US citizen and my daughter and I are currently visiting her in the US but we would like to Adjust Status. Of course we would not have to adjust status if I were already a citizen but life must go on and this is where we are. I really want to be able to live in the United States with my spouse and daughter. I really would also like to have more of a voice in this issue and I believe I can do this more efficiently if I am a permanent resident.
So let me tell you about the fees. Everything is so expensive and because I have a daughter, they are practically doubled. In order for us to begin the process we need to fill out certain forms that need to be approved by USCIS.
Here is a general breakdown in US dollars for adoptees (and their kids) who are having to start the process over. I am using my family as an example:
1. I-130:Petition for Alien Relative (spouse fills out for me and my daughter )-420 each=840.00
2. G-325a:Biography (I file one, my spouse files one)-0 but if filing from the US, which we are, there is a fee but not sure what it is.
3. I-864:Affidavit of Support (My spouse fills out)-0 but if filing from the US, which we are, there is a fee but not sure what it is.
4. I-693: Medical-fees vary by civil surgeon-(around 300.00 per person I believe)
5. I-485:adjustment of Status-1,070.00
6. I-765:Work Authorization -465.00
7. I-131: advanced parole, or permission to leave the US and return (2 just in case there is an emergency)-805.00 if filed separately from the original petition. We will make sure to file it together so as not to be charged.
And then there are lawyer/attorney Fees.
8. Attorney fees ranges from 2200-3900 dollars.
This is our story and we thank you for listening. If you would like to support us and organizations who are trying to help us get equality, please sign the petition and support an adoptee by donating on the gofundme site.