When I was 13 years old my country fell apart.
I found myself a citizen of a new one. Same home, same town, but different name. We were now independent and with that came a new citizenship. Sadly my mother passed away a month before that. It was not until I applied for high school a year later that my grandparents realized I was living in my country illegally. Same home, same town, but due to my mother claiming me Yugoslavian and not Slovenian at birth I was now not eligible for a passport. It was nobody’s fault, just a written statement by a parent and I will be officially Slovenian. A technicality really.
Only I had no parents. I was not 18 yet so I could not sign papers for myself. I lived with my grandparents, but they were not my legal guardians. I was living in a same home, same town yet I was facing deportation. To a country that was torn up in war, a country I never lived in a day of my life. To say this was surreal is an understatement. And all because of one word, one line that I know my mom never imagined would cause me harm. But that is bureaucracy for you.
I was fortunate. My grandma is a persistant woman, she knocked on many doors and the Minister of interior affairs called on his staff to find a solution. They juggled some papers and I was once again who I was born to be, Slovenian. I even entered high school on time.
Many years later I fell in love and married an American. My husband is wise and helped me understand the importance of becoming naturalized. The day I stood with my right arm across the heart, reciting The Pledge of Allegiance to America I cried. Tears of pride and tears of joy. Mostly for knowing my family will always stay together, have a home and a country to protect and be protected by.
The most incredible thing about America is that each of us has a voice and we can make a difference. Galit, Leighann and Barbara have reached out to seek support for Mark and Fred in their quest to keep their family together. In the same home, same town, where they belong.
If you are not familiar with their story please click HERE and get to know them. When you do, remember that I once was a child facing the same uncertain future as Fred and his children are. It was the kindness of strangers who saw how stiff the law was and helped find a legal way to bend it that helped me. I really wish, more then anything today for Fred to be able to stay with his family.
Love is love. Families should stay together. This couple has devoted their love and lives to becoming a family. There should be no reason, not now not ever for them not to wake up and have cereal together every morning. Just like your family and mine.
Please see beyond politics, your beliefs and your opinions. Sit down and write the letter to
Secretary Janet Napolitano
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
just like I did, telling her how your world would come crashing down if you had to be separated from your children, your family. How we must find a solution for Fred. You are a voice that can make a difference and Mark, Frédéric, John, Claire, Jacob and Joshua need voices.
Thank you for being a friend, you just never know when it might be your turn to need one!