The Privilege of Being American.

I’ve written about the day my foreign born children were handed their visas to America MANY times.

Here is Cate’s post from last year.

And Bowen’s is here.

Tess’s can be found here.

For anyone who hasn’t read our Ghanaian kids’s stories from 2009-2010, we had to fight like hell to get their visas out of Ghana.  What I thought would be a seven-day-trip for Ally and AJ lasted nearly four weeks.  We weren’t sure the adoption would ever be approved by the U.S.  For many families who came after us, they weren’t.  It was humiliating, heartbreaking and incredibly frustrating.  You can read my plea for prayers here.  I nearly had to leave them behind.

There isn’t one second of this process during which I forget to appreciate the golden ticket that is a visa for my internationally adopted child.  For Tess and Cate, it meant a chance at life.  For Bowen and Gigi, it means a chance at an education.  It means so very much.

In Cate’s Consulate post, you can read about Cam’s reaction to the privilege we Americans are born with.  We walked into the Consulate today and walked out 58 minutes later with the assurance that unless there are electronic/technical issues with the computer system, Gigi will have a visa to the U.S. in less than 24 hours.  This is the privilege my status as an American affords me, and by extension, Gigi.

We walked out of the Consulate into a HUGE throng of people waiting for their chance to enter.  In front of us, making her way through the crowd back to her family was a Chinese woman with her documents in the same clear plastic folder we are all required to carry.  Her outcome must have been different than ours.

She was sobbing.

We watched as she walked up to the people waiting for her.  She shook her head as she walked up to them, telling them what had occurred.  She was shaking as she cried.  Then we saw who was waiting for her.  A younger man with one arm and a scarred face.   I don’t know her story, but I can imagine that is the same story as a lot of people trying to get to the U.S.  This younger man needs medical care.  Is he her son?  I couldn’t help but wonder.  He hugged her, patting her back reassuringly as she sobbed into his shoulder.

Cam and Brady took in the whole scene with wide eyes.  We’ve had many discussions about visas in our house, all the different forms they come in (medical, student, tourist, etc) and how Gigi’s trumps all of those.  Hers is the type that makes her a citizen the second she crosses into our port of entry with us.  They looked at me, I looked at them, they looked at the woman, and we said nothing.

There are no pictures of us coming out of the Consulate.  There was no victory dance.  There was only a moment of reverence for this woman’s pain.  We will, of course, celebrate privately for Gigi when her visa does arrive (please God, don’t let the printer break).  But, there is loss too.  Gigi will lose her heritage of birth.  This woman, whoever she is, lost her chance at getting to the place we often take for granted.

–FullPlateMom, who resolves not to forget how truly lucky she is.

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