Saturday, May 21, 2011

Proud To Be American

Sure, I moved over 8,000 miles from my hometown to come live in Asia. But that doesn't mean I'm not proud to say I'm an American. Moving out here was something I had to do to change my life. And boy has it changed! However, now that I've been out here for a little while, I realize how many things I took for granted. Things that my friends and family there take for granted as well. It's a different world over here and while I'm happy Raelynn gets to experience this part of it, I don't want her to be trapped here. I want her to know what freedom is. And to have choices. So tomorrow, we fly to Shanghai for a couple weeks so we can visit the US Consulate located there and make her an official US citizen.

Unfortunately, there isn't an embassy or consulate in our city so we had to choose from the two closest...Shanghai or Beijing. We chose Shanghai because we have a wonderful friend there who'd invited us to stay with her. I love Shanghai. Not like I love Seoul of course. But it's surprisingly advanced for China. I almost forgot I was still in China while I was there, quite honestly.

When I first became pregnant, Xiaolong and I had discussed our baby's future. Our baby would be a Chinese American as far as genes went. But what about official nationality? It wasn't hard for my husband to agree with me that our baby deserved the very best. In China, the government treats people like animals, and they respond in kind. People here cut in line, push and shove, relieve themselves in public when there are plenty of restrooms to go to, throw garbage on the ground and a myriad of other offenses. Perhaps I would too if I were born into a country that made it difficult for me to ever advance in life or to ever leave. Xiaolong is one of the lucky ones. He went to South Korea to study and it changed his life for the better, forever. Still, my husband is subject to some, in my opinion, horribly stupid rules from his home land. Chinese nationals must get visas when they go ANYWHERE. China fears its citizens will just leave and never come back. Considering they have a huge population problem, is that really such a bad thing? Anyway, for my husband to leave his country, he must submit a ton of paperwork, prove he's employed and in some cases, put down a hefty deposit to ensure he will return back to China.

The choice for Raelynn was easy for us to make. Sure, we're making this choice for her. But think of all the choices she'll get to make for herself as a US citizen. I think she'll be happy we did this for her. I mean, I do sing her our national anthem and old American folk songs and she never screams during those. In addition to giving her life, we're giving her another precious gift she will always treasure...freedom.

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