I am a married mother of three. I grew up as an American and raised my children as Americans only to discover in adulthood I was not a US citizen. I was born in 1976 in Incheon, South Korea. My biological siblings and I were adopted by a US citizen woman and a naturalized Argentinian man in 1983.
Within the first couple years of adoption, my adoptive parents divorced and my siblings and I began living with our adoptive mother. We each left our mother before reaching the age of 15 or 16, or in my brother’s case, when he was 11. When I was 15, I moved in with my best friend and her family, who kindly offered me a home until a few months before graduating from high school. Shortly after moving out, I met my husband and started a family.
It came as quite a shock when I found out that I was not a citizen of the country I call home. In 2009, I went to the immigration office in Las Vegas, Nevada to file for naturalization papers. They told me to file the N-600 form because I was an adoptee and would fall under my adopted parents’ citizenship. I asked to confirm that the N-600 was the correct paperwork and the immigration officer asked her supervisor to confirm. A couple of months later, I received a letter from immigration stating that I did not qualify for the N-600 because I did not meet the age criteria. My family was struggling and money was tight, so spending more money to reapply was stressful.
The recent media attention around adoptees and citizenship made me realize that I was not alone and my status could be changed. I want to feel complete and hope that the Adoptee Citizenship Act will pass and end the struggles of adoptees that missed an arbitrary cutoff date in the current legislation, the Child Citizenship Act. I thank everyone who worked hard to pass this bill and pray that it will pass very soon.