How We Became a Multicultural International Family
It all started in one day in Florida. I was on my second Teen Missions team and Chuck was a leader. It wasn’t love at first sight. Far from it, actually. But it eventually became love and 23 years later we have a multicultural international family.
And it’s complicated.
I am an American who married a Canadian. Together we made two American babies, Adalia and Judah. Then we moved to Canda and made a Canadian baby, Tilly. Tilly was born a Canadian citizen and when she was six-months-old became an American citizen when I filed for her American Citizen Born Abroad status. She is proudly a dual citizen. Then we moved back to the United States and made five more American babies. In 2007 we adopted three Liberian teens and then had one more American baby.
You might be wondering why we sought out American citizenship for Tilly but not Canadian citizenship for the other kids. The answer to that is simple. Tilly was born Canadian and we decided for a variety of reasons to raise our children in the United States. When we moved to Washington, after a year in Canada, we had to establish American citizenship for Tilly. The process was expensive and time-consuming. Our other children can easily prove they have a right to Canadian citizenship and can choose to obtain it at any time if they want but since we intended to raise them in the US we chose not obtain that citizenship for them.
Then last year, Adalia and her husband, Ben, made a beautiful Kiwi baby, Percival. Adalia is planning to seek dual citizenship for Percy. If and when Tilly, who is Canadian and American has children, they will be Kiwis.
Put another way, Chuck, a Canadian, immigrated to the United States and eventually became a naturalized citizen. His American daughter married a Kiwi and moved to New Zealand and had a Kiwi baby who will also (eventually) have dual citizenship. See what I mean? It’s complicated.
And now, let’s clear something up. Yes, Americans can be dual citizens, but only under certain circumstances. If they are American Citizens Born Abroad, like Tilly and Percival, they can have dual citizenship. The US doesn’t recognize “dual citizenship” but at the same time, is okay with it. The American government considers Chuck American and the Canadian government considers him Canadian.
And I consider him an awesome husband.
In addition to having four nationalities in our family (American, Canadian, Liberian, and New Zealander) we have traveled extensively as a family. So far, between just Chuck, myself, and our kids we have been to (in no particular order):
USA, Canada, Thailand, Korea, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, Israel, England, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Liberia, Kenya, Honduras, Peru, New Zeland, and Austraila.
Chuck and I could never have envisioned the way our family would turn out or the adventures we would have. I guess Forrest Gump was right, after all, you never know what you’re going to get.
You may want to follow Tilly’s journey of new marriage and immigration over on her blog, The Canadian American Kiwi.