Archive for September, 2015

Teen Pregnancy in Guatemala

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Sometimes it feels as though all the news I read from and about Guatemala is … Sobering. Thought-provoking. Haunting. Anyway, this article by Alicia Menendez, Why Are 10-Year-Olds Having Babies in Guatemala?,  addresses the issue of teen pregnancy–actually, younger than teen in many cases–which is higher in Guatemala than in nearly every other country in the world, due largely to cultural mores as well as discrimination against the indigenous in rural areas. Watch both videos to have your eyes opened to the daily reality lived by thousands of young mothers.

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Connecting with birth family from China

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

I’m a little late posting this excellent first-person account in the Washington Post by Ricki Mudd, adopted from China at nearly 5 years old and re-united with her birth family there. The article is interesting all around, but what spoke to me most was her relationship with her birth brother, Wu Chao. Ricki’s family sponsored Wu Chao so he could attend community college in the US, and he’s now living with Ricki’s (American) family. The siblings’ relationship continues to unfold, and Ricki ends the piece with “Chinese policy may have had room for only one of us. But our lives will be forever intertwined.”
Ricki’s article includes clips from a documentary made about her story. It’s very moving to see that little 5 year old girl, leaving to join her new family–afraid, unsure, and sobbing. As an adoptive mother, I was reminded of our family’s early days. Yes, we love our children. Yes, we support them emotionally in every way we know how. But still. Each of them experienced loss before we met them, and an upheaval that was life-altering and deep.

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Time magazine article on transracial adoption

Friday, September 18th, 2015

This Time Magazine article, “The Realities of Raising Kids of a Different Race,” resonated deeply for me.

Even if you have only 2 minutes, jump to Myth 1 to Myth 4 and read those. “Parents who believe they can raise their child color-blind are making a terrible mistake…Part of loving your child is seeing and loving the color of her skin—and accepting the reality that she will likely be painfully pigeonholed sometime in her life because of it.”

Amen and True.

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September 11, 2015

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Last night, I found this rough draft of a note by my son, left near our computer:

“September 11, 2015
Dear Men and Women in Blue,
Thank you for keeping our country safe.
Through all these years you have tried your hardest to protect us.
Sincerely,
Mateo”

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AP article on Guatemalan adoptees searching for their roots

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

David Crary writes often about international adoption, including this AP article about young adults and teens from Guatemala who are searching for their roots: For Many Adoptees from Guatemala, a Complicated Legacy. The story feels very familiar to me, possibly because we are living it, and have lived it, for many years. Crary presents a balanced, nuanced picture–not always the case in adoption articles. I read through to the end without sighing. One of the women he profiles, 25-year-old Gemma Givens from the Bay Area, is setting up a FB community for persons adopted from Guatemala. I vote for that.

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Certificate of Citizenship

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Every few years on various Guatemalan adoption listserves, someone will post questions about the Certificate of Citizenship:

“Do we need one?  How do we get it? My child is now 15. Am I too late????”

A recent flurry of such posts prompted adoptive father Tom Rawson to put in one place everything he knows about the Certificate of Citizenship (aka the CoC), which is a lot.  He posted his compendium on The Big List, and with his permission, I’m reprinting it verbatim here. Thank you again, Tom. ~

Please note: The errors in spacing are mine, occurring somehow in the process of copying and pasting Tom’s notes. Apologies!

FROM TOM RAWSON:

Here is a guide to US citizenship and citizenship documents.  This applies
to international adoptees to the US from Guatemala who have at least one
parent who is a US citizen.

[Note that I am not an immigration lawyer nor do I play one on TV -- but I
have been explaining this for years, and I re-researched it before posting
this message.  In other words, if you need legal advice ask a lawyer but
if you want the general lay of the land, I think this is it.

Please do NOT re-post this elsewhere without permission.]

(1) If the adoption was finalized in Guatemala AND both parents (or the
parent for a single-parent adoption) visited the child prior to the
finalization, then the child was issued an IR-3 visa (the type of visa is
shown in the entry stamp in the Guatemalan passport, and on the “green
card” if your child got one).  These children MAY be readopted in the US,
but readoption is not generally required.  For these children:

    * If the child was born prior to February 28, 1983 s/he must apply
    for citizenship (naturalization) using form N-400.  Citizenship is
    not automatic.

    * If the child was born on or after February 28, 1983, AND entered
    the US on or before February 26, 2001, AND resided in the US with
    his/her parents on February 27, 2001, AND had not previously applied
    for citizenship, then s/he automatically became a citizen on February
    27, 2001.  This provision was retroactive for all children who met
    these conditions.  To obtain a Certificate of Citizenship (CoC) the
    parents (or the child if now over 18) must apply using form N-600.

    * If the child entered the US between February 27, 2001 and December
    31, 2003 then citizenship was automatic upon the child’s arrival in
    the US.  To obtain a CoC the parents (or the child if now over 18)
    must apply using form N-600.

    * If the child entered the US between January 1, 2004 and the present
    then citizenship was automatic upon the child’s arrival in the US,
    and the CoC was sent automatically to the parents. (Incidentally, for
    these children there is a useful USCIS page at
    http://tinyurl.com/o9x3ta6 explaining what to do about various
    kinds of errors in the automatically-created CoC.)

(2) If the adoption was finalized in Guatemala BUT both parents (or the
parent for a single-parent adoption) did NOT visit the child prior to the
finalization, then the child was issued an IR-4 visa.  These children MUST
be readopted in the US because, under the definitions used by US Customs
and Immigration Services, the adoption is not considered final in the US
because the parents did not “see and observe” the child prior to
finalization of the adoption in Guatemala.  For these children: 

    * If the child was born prior to February 28, 1983 s/he must apply
    for citizenship (naturalization) using form N-400.  Citizenship is
    not automatic.

    * If the child was born on or after February 28, 1983, AND the US
    readoption was completed on or before February 26, 2001, AND s/he
    resided in the US with his/her parent(s) on February 27, 2001, AND
    s/he had not previously applied for citizenship, then s/he
    automatically became a citizen on February 27, 2001.  This provision
    was retroactive for all children who met these conditions. To obtain a
    Certificate of Citizenship (CoC) the parents (or the child if now
    over 18) must apply using form N-600.

    * If the US readoption was completed between February 27, 2001 and the
    present, then citizenship was automatic upon completion of the
    readoption.  To obtain a CoC the parents (or the child if now over
    18) must apply using form N-600.

Additional notes:

    – *Whether your child is a citizen* and *whether you have a CoC to
    prove it* are not the same thing.

    – Passports:  A child who is a citizen can get a passport without
    getting a CoC. They just have to prove citizenship to the passport
    office. The documents required are similar to, but not exactly the
    same as, those required for obtaining a CoC with form N-600. Once a
    passport is acquired, it can be used as proof of citizenship in almost
    all cases.  However, as others have noted, the passport expires
    whereas a CoC does not.

    – Social Security:

            For a child who is issued a Social Security card AFTER
            becoming a citizen, the Social Security Administration (SSA)
            records should show that child as a citizen, and no further
            action should be required related to SSA and citizenship.

            For a child who is issued a Social Security card BEFORE
            becoming a citizen, SSA records will show that child as a
            non-citizen.  This can affect their ability to get work once
            they turn 18, if not before.  This status can ONLY be changed
            by providing proof of citizenship to the Social Security
            office. It is NOT affected automatically by later events such
            as a readoption that triggers automatic citizenship,
            application for a CoC, etc. — it is a separate record from
            all that.  Usually a passport suffices to prove citizenship
            to SSA, but they have been known to interpret the rules
            differently from office to office so some might require a CoC
            (or if you have the option you can just try going to a
            different office).


Tom

 

 

 

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