Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Passports and Citizenship

Yesterday we received Melanie's US Passport in the mail.  She is official!  Of course the very impressive looking Certificate of Citizenship that we got in November was probably the first official sign of her new citizenship, but there's something about that Navy blue little book with the gold eagle on the front that sends shivers of pride down my spine.  I wrote about this last spring, when I was at INS getting fingerprinted; how many people in the world would give up so much for that little book.  In spite of my leftward-leaning politics, and my feelings about the current administration (don't talk about politics with friends!!) I am proud to be an American, and I feel humbled that our daughters now have that status!

(**note ... they didn't send a Certificate of Citizenship to Lisa, this is a new thing.  Back when we adopted her, you had to apply for one.  But the passport accomplishes that for her).

Today I will trek down to Charlotte yet again, to visit the social security office.  First to apply for a card for Melanie and then to change Lisa's status.  You see, when we adopted Lisa, we were under a time crunch to get her a SS card, because of registration requirements at the time in Kazakhstan.  That was the first thing I did, waiting to apply for her US passport until later.  However, the SS Administration and the INS were not on the same page .. in spite of the Child Citizenship Act, which stated that all foreign-adopted children automatically became US citizens when they landed on US soil, the SS Administration folks hadn't gotten that memo.  To them, Lisa was still a resident alien.  So without that US passport to prove her citizenship, she is still, according to SS, an alien.  I now have her passport, and have been meaning to take it down to SS to have her status changed on their books.  Have been meaning to for ... three years?  No time like the present, and will kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.  I know, I am the poster child for procrastination.  But ya know, it really hasn't mattered to Lisa, unless she had applied for a job or something.  I'm kinda of the school of thought that child labor isn't a good thing.

I know that Bill Clinton was reviled by a lot of people (ya think?) but one of the great things he did (among others) was to sign into law that Child Citizenship Act.  By making a foreign adopted childan automatic US citizen, he eliminated reams and reams of paperwork that adoptive parents used to have to negotiate through ...

No word from the surgeon yet.  I'm kinda flustered ... want to get the ball rolling.  I'm a little concerned that Melanie can't speak, and want to get her into speech ASAP after the surgery.  Yesterday morning, though, we put her bunny in the crib and covered her up, and I said, "Night night" and Melanie said, clear as day, "Ni ni!"  Pretty exciting!!

She continues to be a happy, sparkly kid!  Last Sunday we came to pick her up from Sunday School and she was jumping up and down all over the room, shrieking, she was so happy to see us.  (Better than when we drop her off: she melts to the floor for a crying jag).  But I think she's getting used to it ... we haven't been called out of the service again since it happened a few weeks ago.

Colin turned 15 last week.  He is taller than I am.  A very sweet boy, but babysitting does not seem to be his "thing".  I left Melanie with him for an hour last week, and came home to BLACK sharpie pen all over her, the hardwood floor, the stairs carpet, and the bannister.  What is with her and markers???  Magic Eraser got it off the house, but it took a little more elbow grease to get it off of her.  I think Colin does this on purpose, so I won't ask him to babysit any more!  (I love you Colin!!  No hard feelings!)

Signing off for now ...

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