I am a U.S. born citizen and in 1981, my wife and her son of 18 months moved from Costa Rica to the U.S. We were soon married and not long afterward I began proceedings to adopt our son. I remember that day in the court room when the judge granted the adoption. I asked my attorney if there was anything else that I needed to do. He replied that there is nothing else to do; he is my legal son. My wife and I have two children from our marriage, so our Costa Rican born son has grown up with a younger brother and sister. All siblings have a very close relationship.

In 2015, our son left the country on a vacation trip. When he returned and was going through customs in the Atlanta airport, he was detained for a conviction from several years earlier for which he had already served his sentence. He was held in Atlanta for almost two months and then deported to Costa Rica. My son spent nearly all of his life living in the U.S. Like other citizens, he should be able to make a mistake, pay his debt to society and get his life back on track. That is what my son was doing. He started a business with two partners and was beginning an apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker. He does not speak Spanish and he is separated from his parents, his brother and sister and his long-term girlfriend.

As parents we never knew that he was not a U.S. citizen. Nobody knew of the risk he was taking by leaving the country. The Adoptee Citizenship Act currently in Congress must be signed into law. It is the right thing to do. Not only does the adoptee suffer but family, loved ones and friends suffer greatly as well.

Kurt’s Story, Wisconsin

Updated on 2017-08-11T22:41:07+00:00, by Yongho Kim.