Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pledging Allegiance!

Today a friend re-posted a blog that I’d posted exactly one year ago.  I read the first line of the blog and it was something akin to “we’re getting ready to go back to Sierra Leone!!”  I could start this blog the exact same way.  Whoda thunk. 

But here we are! Getting ready to back…..again. J  The last thing we were waiting for before we left was to get Marie’s citizenship.  And we got it!!  The significance was pretty lost on her.  While she and I were waiting for her interview at the immigration office, Peter, my mom and Ben went for a walk outside.  Marie repeatedly said that she really wished she was outside on the walk with Nana instead of  here in this boring office.  Sorry, not happening chica.

I was pretty nervous for the interview, just because it was the culmination of months of gathering paperwork….and really, years in the making.  I was formulating what my “plan B” was going to be if, for some reason they said no.  My mind was whirling, I felt slightly nauseated and my hands had a little shake to them.  Marie just wanted to go on a walk.

In the end it was pretty painless.  The officer had already gone through the mountain of paperwork I’d sent in, so I just had to verify that it was all true. We’d had an awkward interaction with the judge during Marie’s adoption in which she’d started giggling every time the lawyer answered the judge with “yes, my lady.”  I’d tried to explain that it was because that’s what princesses and queens are referred to in her movies, but it didn’t seem to translate very well.   I was praying we’d be able to skip that kind of awkwardness this time. 

I stood and swore my oath, spent some time going over the facts of the case…..and then it was done.  I was ecstatic.  Marie was glad she could go find Nana. 

Marie finally got to go on her walk with Nana

We had to kill some time until we could pick up the certificate of citizenship so we went for a celebratory hot chocolate.  Marie started to get into the spirit of things when she told the barista that she was now a “u…nisyn” (US citizen).  The barista got all excited and made a big deal about it. 

Marie's celebratory "tea"
When it was time to go pick up the certificate, Marie wrote her name at the top of the certificate.  They went to adhere her picture to the certificate and I cringed.  I stopped the woman.

“Wait. This is the picture you’re going to put on the certificate? It’s going to be there forever?”

You see, the picture that she was attaching to the certificate was a passport picture that I’d sent in.  And it was not good. The day we’d had the picture taken was one of “those” days.  I had quite a few things that just happened to need to be done the same day and I was just barely treading water.  I’d taken Marie’s hair out but hadn’t had time to fix it again so it was…..a little wild.  And she must have been feeling my stress because my amazingly photogenic child could give me nothing but her “constipated smile.”  We teased her about that smile for weeks afterward….and now they wanted to make it part of her permanent file.  I’ve sent in probably 1,000 passport photos in my day and I’ve never seen one again.  Now they want to make this one a permanent one. 

The woman graciously told me I could use another one if I had one, which I just so happen to have….a cute one with her hair all braided and beaded and her thousand watt smile lighting up her face.  I ran out to my car to get it and the crisis was averted. 

And now we’re headed back! Marie’s citizenship was the last box that needed to be checked off before we can go back. Our tickets are confirmed….July 25th we’re out of here!! 

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