My “daughter” Jean will be applying soon for a US Visa. First she has to get her Philippine Passport, she has an appointment for her passport application next week at the DFA.
You see, Jean is not my biological daughter, nor is she adopted. It all happened some 14 years ago. My Mom was visiting Davao, and one day we had a scheduled all day brownout. my Mom is very sensitive to the heat, and I knew that an all day brownout, she would not accept that, and would really suffer. So, we made plans to take a trip down to Sarangani Province, near General Santos City, to visit a resort. We figured the kids could swim, play or whatever, and we would rent a room or two for the day, and we could all enjoy the aircon if that is what we desired.
Before going out to the resort, we went and visited Feyma’s family in GenSan first. Jean is the daughter of one of Feyma’s sisters. I had met her before but did not really know her well. She was 7 years old at that time. When she heard that we would be going to resort for a day of play, swimming and relaxation, she asked if she could come with us. Well, I am a real sucker for kids, so of course I said yes. I really enjoyed watching Jean play with the other kids, she was a real joy to be around. At the end of the day, we were going to be heading back to Davao City, Jean asked if she could come with us. Well, it was summer at that time, and there was no school in session, so I said sure, no problem. She said she would stay with us two weeks, until it was getting close to time for school to start.
After about a week and a half, it became clear that Jean really did not care to go back to GenSan. She wanted to stay with us permanently in Davao City. I thought it over, and Feyma and I talked, and in the end we decided that if it was OK with her parents, we would be happy to make her part of our family.
A time came, after a few years, when we looked into adopting Jean. But, when we talked to her, she was not keen on the idea. She loved us, and loved living with us, but she was scared when I mentioned adoption to her. Thinking back, I believe that when we said “adoption” she thought that it meant that we would send her off to somebody else, not that it would just make our arrangement with her and her parents more official.
I am OK with it that she is neither our biological child, nor is she adopted. She has been a real integral part of the family, I can’t imagine ever having a life without Jean. I love her as much as any of our natural kids. For me there is no difference. Jean and I are very close, and I feel the she and Feyma are just as close too.
I would say my only regret when it comes to the adoption is that the fact that we have no official adoption means that she is not a US citizen and cannot be one unless she goes there and follows the normal route. If we had done the adoption, she could have become a citizen relatively easily and quickly.
At this stage, one of my strongest desires is for Jean to have the opportunity to go to the United States and see how it is there. She could also meet people in my family whom she has never met, and see the places where I grew up and lived up to the age of 38. I know that she would love it.
Another thing about Jean is that she is a very hard worker, and also very honest and conscience. I know that if she got a job there she would really excel, and move high in the workforce. I have even told her that I hope that someday she will marry an American, sot hat it will give her more opportunity in life. I am not saying to marry somebody just to get the benefits that come with that, Jean would never marry somebody if she did not love them. That is just how she is.
Jean is 21 now. A few months ago, I was talking to a girl (her mother is our friend) who is just a bit older than Jean. She got a US tourist visa, and is actually there in the US now. Because of this, I encouraged Jean to get a passport, and then we will apply for a tourist visa. Whenever she applies for the visa, I will go with her to Manila for her visa interview. There are a lot of people at the US Embassy who know me and read this site, so maybe that would help Jean in obtaining a visa. Maybe not. But, it is worth a try, I think.
If Jean would be able to get a visa that would really fulfill one of my dreams for her. It would make me so happy. Jean has made me, and the rest of our family very happy over the years, and if I can do anything to make her happy, I certainly want to go all out with the effort. I will update you about her experience after she goes through the process. Better yet, maybe I will ask Jean to write the article!
Good luck, Jean! You know I love you very much, and will do anything I can to help you!