My father Stanley was an American Army soldier stationed in South Korea in the early 70’s. He met and married a Korean woman and I was later born in April of 1975 in Korea. My father’s service ended during the fall of 1977 and he and his new family returned back to the U.S in North Carolina.

Life in small town North Carolina did not appeal to my parents and after a little more than one year, my father reenlisted in the Army. His initial orders required us to move to Louisiana when I was 3 years old and I soon lived solely with my grandparents. The years rolled by and I would get infrequent postcards or phone calls from my parents whose frequent military travel included Japan, Germany, Seattle, etc.

My parents never filled out proper forms to register me as U.S. citizen when we originally left Korea. The only documentation I ever remember having was a Korean visa with my baby picture. I have no idea why, but adoption was listed as the reason for departure. My father has never helpful in explaining my past to me. My mother and grandmother both passed away in 2006. I have many questions that will forever remain unanswered.

Since the attacks on September 11, 2011, I have been burdened with increased paperwork and additional scrutiny regarding citizenship documentation. It has been impossible to secure a passport or do many things that a full-fledged U.S. citizen enjoys. I resigned myself to being unable to prove my birth right and always lacking necessary documentation to be legitimate. I am angry about this situation. As unlikely as I imagine that event, it is my reality and I am no longer willing to risk being deported. I look forward to the day that when I am a U.S. citizen and can travel the world with my family and live like any other American.

Loven’s Story, Virginia

Updated on 2017-08-11T22:39:40+00:00, by Yongho Kim.