Friday, June 13, 2008

This is what I signed my son up for

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

On Wednesday, I stood holding Destructo Boy alongside dozens of other immigrants at the U.S. Citizen Swearing-in Ceremony. I held up my right hand and said the above oath for him. Though he didn't have to, Destructo Boy held up his pudgy hand as well.

I am happy that everything is over and all parts of the adoption is finally completed. However, as I was saying the words, I felt a little bad for Destructo Boy. He didn't choose to "abjure all allegiance to any foreign prince." He didn't choose to leave Korea. Other people (including me) made that choice for him. How will he feel about this when he is old enough to understand?

For those of you who are US citizens by birth, read the above words. Did you know what you are obligated to?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

No Country for Young Boy

Next week, our family will celebrate our Family Day, commemorating one year since Destructo Boy's adoption became final. As I look back at that day, I remember how happy I felt. Destructo Boy was officially and legally my son and I thought all of the logistical stuff was over. Well, theoretically.

One year later we are still waiting for one more piece of paperwork - Destructo Boy's Certificate of Citizenship. I've already vented about this in a previous entry, but I bring it up now because the issue is still not resolved. Even though the law says my son is a U.S. citizen because of the adoption, I have no way to prove it. Unlike with my daughter, I just can't show up the Social Security Administration with his birth certificate and get him a social security number. I can't get him a U.S. passport. Why not? It says his birthplace is South Korea.

But get this...he's not a Korean citizen either. When I took him out of the country, I sat in the South Korean immigration office and officially took him off their citizen list (standard policy - if he remained on the list he would have to serve in the Korean army). So my son has no county, at least on paper.

10 months after we applied for a Certificate of Citizenship, we finally heard from the Department of Homeland Security. We have to show up in person for an "interview" and we were told to bring his green card and passport to the agency in order to receive his COC. Ummm....why does he need his green card? He is already a citizen because we adopted him. And passport? What passport? He never had a passport because he relinquished his Korean citizenship when we left the country. When I tried explaining this to the agent when I called the so-called "Help Line" at the DHS, I was told I would have to make an appointment to ask this particular question in person. So I try to make an appointment with our local office, but the next available appointment comes AFTER our scheduled interview. My faith in the Federal government shrinks each passing day.

This whole situation has caused me to have some crazy thoughts....if Destructo Boy was deported, where would he be sent to? Would he be forced to wander the terminal at the airport like in that mediocre Tom Hanks movie? Really...all I want is to get my kid a passport and a social security card so he can grow up and become a participating citizen. Why must it be so difficult?

Did I mention a Certificate of Citizenship costs over $400?