Olivia is a Citizen of the United States!
This beautiful girl is one of the newest citizens of the United States!
Her citizenship approval is actually part of our journey to take our family to Tonga in about 10 days.
Early last year, Deanne felt very impressed to get passports for all our children. There were no immediate plans to travel out of the country. Why spend over $1,000 on passports with no specific travel plans?? Because she just had a feeling that it needed to be done. I learned long ago that we go with Deanne's feelings.
Most of the other children's passport applications came back without a hitch. Olivia's was delayed. At the same time we applied for a Certificate of Citizenship to the USCIS. Getting a passport or the Certificate of Citizenship would declare her a citizen. Last February we applied for both hoping the documents we had were enough. Then came a phone call from the Department of State, who issues passports, from the agent requesting more documentation to connect all the dots from her orphanage in India to her entry in the US with her first family when she was 3. We had the adoption decree to our family when she was 9, but the Department of State was requesting documents we didn't know existed anymore. To make a long and very emotional story short, we obtained what we needed by May 9th. We immediately sent those in and still didn't hear anything for a months. Olivia turned 18 in June and we were concerned that she would get denied again, or worse, get deported for not having a green card or citizenship. With a passport she could prove citizenship.
We asked for an update in June...crickets. By August, the feelings of urgency were getting stronger and stronger. We called the general Department of State number in early September to find out status of Olivia's application. Within a day or two the original agent that went dark on us in May miraculously emailed and said she would call us in an hour. She did and the passport was approved! Wow - what a relief! In more than one way Olivia's passport was an answer to prayers. We had the passport in hand in about a week and everyone was ready to travel out of the country. But where and when? As the Lord knew all along, we are scheduled to go to Tonga on the 19th of this month.
Even with the passport Olivia still needed to get her Certificate of Citizenship for several important reasons including getting a drivers licence, applying for scholarships for college or even to avoid challenges serving a mission or getting married. After a full years wait and pretty much giving up on the process the approval letter came. There was one problem, it had a swearing in date of February 26th, after we would be in Tonga. We sent a request to expedite the swearing in date before we leave for Utah on the 12th for Pierce's wedding. Another miracle happened and they called us to come in two days later, last Friday. This was a miracle and great blessing!
As a side note, the Oath of Allegiance that Olivia had to make for citizenship was very enlightening. Deanne and I both wished that every young person in America would have to take that oath. It wouldn't hurt for all of us to review this every few years in our adult life. Here are photos of the card Olivia was given with her certificate of citizenship - both sides.