In Limbo

The following post is not meant to start a political discussion/argument on the topic of immigration in the United States but merely to share the personal plight of a single individual.  Whatever your personal views on the subject I ask that you please refrain from using vulgar and/or derogatory language in your comments and insist that you be respectful.

In limbo is exactly where I am.  Not the theological Limbo as in the place where souls go after death instead of heaven because they did not receive Christian baptism in life.  According to Merriam-Webster’s second definition of the word “limbo”:

  1. a place or state of restraint or confinement
  2. a place or state of neglect or oblivion <proposals kept in limbo>
  3. an intermediate or transitional place or state
  4. a state of uncertainty

My life is definitely in a restrained, transitional and uncertain place; not at all where I’d pictured myself at this point in life.

Three years ago I made the very tough decision to uproot my son from everything and everyone he had ever known in order to move in with family… It was an incredibly difficult decision; especially for someone as independent as I am.  For many years I managed mostly on my own with the occasional help of friends and family.   My corporate job in California paid well but due to the elevated cost of living in California, it was no longer enough for me to afford my own place so I reluctantly rented a room with a family from Church for my son and I.

My KB and his wife, knowing how much I was struggling to make ends meet, invited me to come live in their home in Texas.  Aside from my financial instability I would soon be forced to face another reality: my work permit could no longer be renewed which would make me ineligible to work or even drive legally in this country.  You see, I am one of “those” many undocumented persons currently residing in this country.  There was so much to consider left little doubt about what decision I should make.  However I still found it incredibly painful to accept that I could no longer manage on my own.   Dad encouraged me to pray.

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Lots of prayer, fellowship with the elders from Church, and tons of tear drenched tissues later my Son and I were on our way to Texas.  I had the inward assurance from the Lord that this was the right decision at the right time.

Their home is so big that we can each have a room of our own; yet with the increasing domestic tension it feels like we’re all crammed into a single room.  Just the other day my KB had an argument over peanut butter!

KB: “Where is the peanut butter?”
Me: “It’s in the pantry.”
KB: “Your fat kid already finished the peanut butter?” – as he scans the pantry in search of the peanut butter.
ME: “My son hasn’t eaten any peanut butter! It’s been in the pantry since you bought it last Friday.”
KB: “You don’t even know what your fat kid eats.  He eats everything around here.”
ME: “Whatever. The peanut butter is still in the pantry. Look for it behind the almond butter.” – as I scurry out of the kitchen to keep myself from clawing KB’s eyes out.
SIL: “What’s going on?” – as I dash past her on the stairs.
ME: “Your husband is accusing my Son of eating the entire jar of peanut butter you guys bought a few days ago, which is in the pantry.”

A knot forms in my throat while tears of helpless frustration well-up in my eyes then burn down my cheeks just as I lock the door of my room behind me.  I’m relieved that my Son never heard any of this conversation….I pray.

“Lord, how much longer must I endure this situation?  It’s been three years and I have yet to have the means to remedy my legal status!  There is a reason for everything, I know that.  You have mercifully proved this to me time after time.  But this is too much. Lord, be my patience, my peace, my endurance and my faith that I may carry on and wait on You, for Your perfect timing.”

Feeling powerless all I could do was curl up in my bed and sob.  First thing I did the following morning was verify that we still had peanut butter.  There, in the pantry, was the peanut butter.   Upon handing it to KB he then accused me of buying a new jar to replace the missing jar.  I thought to myself, “HE SAID WHAT?”  As I tried to defend myself I quickly realized that it would be futile and simply shook my head in disbelief.

I am and always will be grateful to my KB and my SIL for stepping in, opening their home and allowing us to live in their home rent free until my situation is resolved.  Yet even such generosity does not give my KB the right to belittle us or bully my son for any reason whatsoever.  My Son has no need to be disrespected this way and neither do I!

KB’s attitude and behavior reminds me of the kind of dysfunction we lived as children growing up with an alcoholic mother, whom was once diagnosed as manic-depressive and would often dish out verbal poundings for any little thing.  As the eldest, I’d take the brunt of the emotional abuse while trying to shield my baby sister.  Our dear KB, being the only male, was often praised and built-up – he could do no wrong according to our mother.  Though growing up KB appeared to have had it easy, now I’m certain our roller-coaster childhood affected him deeply; especially since he now seems to be displaying similar behaviors as our mother.  However, this is a much heavier subject than I am prepared to delve into at the moment.  Given our current living arrangement, though, I am concerned about how his behavior is going to affect my relationship with him and especially how it might affect my son.

Meanwhile, my situation has not improved and I hate it.  I’m desperate to change it, but HOW?

With an approved petition I am better off than other undocumented persons.  Some people don’t even have that!  Fortunately Mom was granted her permanent residency in 1988 and immediately petitioned the rest of the family.  When I was 17, two years and thousands of dollars later, I received a congratulatory letter from INS stating that my petition had been approved however that according to the Family Unity program I would have to wait for a Visa to become available before applying for a residency card and furthermore that if during this waiting period I got married my petition would become null and a new petition would have to be submitted.  At the time I was granted a work permit, only it had to be renewed annually for a fee.

Nearly a year later, as the spouse of a resident, Dad was granted residency, then a year after that my little sister also received hers.  Years passed and I reached adulthood, which changed my application status from first to second priority.  In the meantime, Mom became a Naturalized US citizen, changing our application status back to first priority.  We thought my “number” would come up soon but that was not to be.  During her senior year in high school my little sister also became an US citizen.   Yet there were still no visas available for me. You see annually, each country is allotted a specific amount of visas, however there are more applicants than there are visas available.  So they’ve developed a system by which visas are made available to petitioners according to their assigned “priority date”, and even then the amount of available visas per country are not enough.  INS, now known as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has changed considerably since my petition was approved so many years ago; especially after 9/11 and three administrations later the immigration system is not the same and the Family Unity Program no longer exists.  Although my petition is still valid I can no longer renew my work permit.

According to the monthly Visa Bulletin my priority date is now being processed and I can now apply for my residency.  YAY ME!

The question now is, how am I going to come up with money to do so when I do not have a source of income?  The application alone costs nearly $1,000.00 and that does not include pictures, a medical exam, fingerprints, etc.  Because I don’t have medical insurance my out-of-pocket expenses for a medical exam would probably cost me another $800.00.  If I want to work while I wait for my residency card to arrive I’ll need a work permit which runs upward of $400.00.  Hopefully the new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services doesn’t decide that I need to pay a fine for over staying my visa when I entered the country as a child because if they do that would mean at least another $1,000.00!!!!

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Photo Source

So here I sit in immigration limbo, an unwed mother, unable to renew my permit per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services guidelines, thus unable to legally work to provide for my own child, depending on my brother’s generosity and at the mercy of his ever volatile moods and behaviors. All emotional turmoil aside, my SIL and brother’s generosity is beyond what I could ever hope for.  I AM TRULY GRATEFUL.  Yet as my 40th birthday approaches I become more desperate about my situation.  Perhaps I should start a letter writing campaign.  So what if Bill Clinton replied with a stamp-signed form letter back when he was President or that Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez didn’t even acknowledge my letter two years when I was still one of her constituents… or maybe I could start a fundraiser and contact different organizations, and even ask friends and family to pitch in for my legal fund….. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do but I know I need to do something soon!

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19 thoughts on “In Limbo

  1. I don’t know what to say about this because I feel so helpless just reading it and can’t imagine how you deal with this stuff. I’m sure if there were an easy solution you would have found it by now. I just wanted you to know that I read it and that I’m crying and praying.

    1. Thanks (Servetus)! It means a lot that you’ve read it. Prayers, lots of them, are perfect in such seemingly impossible cases.

      Of course a sense of humor, chocolate ice cream and copious amounts of Armitage fangirling help too. ❤

  2. The moment I read the first line I knew what you meant. I’ve been there and if there’s anything I can do to help you I will. Right now things will look quite dark because of everything that seems to pile up in front of you but keep your head up and know that you’re not alone and there are people who will help you.

    The route I took was a little different although being a naturalized American citizen, my mother did the same for me after my American stepfather died suddenly before my petition was finalized, and there was an entire wait to go through until the visa number came up. As long as you don’t leave the country while you’re “in limbo”, you’re fine (although do consult a lawyer for more accurate information) and the universe will provide you with what you need. Most of all, as long as you don’t give up.

    You can email me if you’d like at morrighansmuse@gmail.com and I can do what I can to help 🙂

  3. Creator will never give you anything you can’t handle. That is why you were placed on this earth, to overcome, this is your goal, your life battle. You were given this responsibility to fight for your right to be in your home. You had the right to migrate here for a better life. I know you are feeling lost and things don’t seem to have an end. But they do. You are already given so much. Life, water, shelter, everything that you need is given to you even before you ask of it. Simply go out into the sun or the moon and say nothing. use your body,arms, and legs to show your gratitude to our creator. I know you need money right now to support your son but there are other ways to help you out while waiting. You can create a garden. it’s like printing your own money. Find different ways to make money without looking for a job. Take on baby sitting jobs or dog sitting jobs. There is always a need in the community that needs taking care of. The answers are always there. It’s just a matter of silencing your mind and stopping all those thoughts telling you negativity. The answers will come to you. Pray meditate and eat good Live food. Stay away from processed foods and other dead matter called “food”. Eat life so that you receive the messages of life. Peace and blessings to you and your family.

  4. Hi Mayra! I am sorry to hear that you are going through this multifaceted challenging situation but I am a believer that every situation is put before us to teach us a life lesson and to help us grow as individuals and I know that you will make it through this…there is a website http://www.gofundme.com that you can utilize to raise money…when you put your situation out there it is amazing how many people are willing to help 🙂 Let me know if you need anything and I will help however I can.

    1. Thank you for reafing my post, Heather! I share your belief that there is a purpose and a lesson to be learned in every situation including mine. Also, thanks for the tip! I’ve considered several fundraising possibilities so this website sounds perfect!

    1. Thank you so much for the repost,((Serv))!!! I am deeply touched. The additional traffic has helped my fundraising efforts tremendously. Thanks again for your kindness.

  5. Hola Amiga. I so miss you and wish I could be there for you. I will help with as much $ as I can. I also find myself in Limbo. In my personal case it’s options 3 and 4. :0) I can tell you this right off the bat. Remain as always your positive self. When anyone says anything that does not agree with you, respectfully remind them that you prefer mutual respect at the minimum to be able to continue any kind of relationship. I am sure that if approached the right way, perhaps making the person realize the damage they have done and continue to do with their choice of words, opinions and views. Remind them that the type of words and approach only confirm that they do want you around. Remind him that there is mutual benefit and convenience in the present arrangement and that it cannot be one sided just because they hold parts of your livelihood hostage. Unless you empower yourself you will continue to be his victim and they will continue to be the victimizer. AS much as we hate to think this of your own family and friends, if you never kill the cycle, the cycle will do as it is designed to do. So stay strong and positive and this too will be yet another life experience in your arsenal or creativity. :0)

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