Not yet, anyway.
This realization hit fast and hard after my mom told me that she wants me to come back to New York to give birth to Baby #2. In theory, it sounds like a great idea: My mom and dad can spend time with Riley and meet Baby #2; I have no worries or doubts about Baby #2’s citizenship; I can see my friends… Then, umm…
Yeah, I think the list of reasons to go back to New York just ended.
I love New York. I do. So much. And I miss it. I do. Kind of. Maybe. A little…
The thing is, I haven’t done anything yet. I haven’t gotten my nursing degree, or lifted my editing business way off the ground, or finished another novel. I haven’t secured a literary agent, or made enough money for a down payment on a house, or even chipped away at my debt. I haven’t done anything to warrant me coming back to New York and a life of… LOVE, yes. But also: heart-numbing and soul-wrenching debt and financial duress. And I just don’t want to go. Not for a vacation that I can’t afford. Not to see friends who will have to foot my bill because I’m dollar-broke. Not so that my kid’s first memories of New York is of Mommy and Daddy repeatedly telling him he can’t [insert fun thing] because money’s tight.
This is depressing, you guys. But it’s something that I just might have to do. All because Baby #2’s American citizenship is in jeopardy. According to the U.S. Embassy (Manila) website:
In order for a child/applicant to be documented as a U.S. citizen, the U.S. citizen parent(s) must:
1. have been a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth,
2. meet the U.S. physical presence requirements (transmission) to transmit citizenship (the transmission requirements depend on the date of birth of the child and the legal relationship between the parents at the time of the birth of the child); and
3. establish a biological and legal relationship with the child/applicant.
Now, I fit # 1 and #3 with no problem. But it’s that numero dos that’s giving me a headache and making me unable to stay sane. See, I only fit that requirement if I prove my physical presence in the U.S. It’s called the Transmission Requirement, and it says that in order for my U.S. citizenship to be passed on to Baby #2, I have to prove my “continuous physical presence in the U.S. or its outlying possession for one year before the applicant’s birth.” That means, the year before Baby #2 sees the light of day, I have to be a resident of the good ol’ U.S. of A. But that isn’t the case. Because I’m here.
There’s a loophole to all this.
See, the above only applies to Baby #2 because Rob and I aren’t married.
If we were married, then it would become a little easier. (I think.) We’d have to prove mine and Rob’s “cumulative physical presence in the U.S. or its outlying possessions for five years, two after the citizen parent’s 14th birthday and before the applicant’s birth.” The fact that Rob would be living and working in the States at the time of Baby #2’s birth would be a feather in our cap.
As it stands, though, I’m technically and legally single, and that means that the Philippines government doesn’t give a damn about where Rob is or where he’s working. Which means that his name wouldn’t be on Baby #2’s birth certificate. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is another set of problems altogether.
I wish I could say that I wish I’d just done more research before getting knocked up, but the truth is, I want this baby so badly that I would’ve gotten pregnant whether or not I knew about all this legal mumbo-jumbo.
I just have to figure out how best to proceed with making sure Baby #2 is a legitimate American citizen. So that, ya know, when I am ready to go back to New York, I’ll have all my kids in tow.
It looks like I’m getting hitched.