Guest Blog by: Sarah Quezada **Republished with permission from the author. The original blog post can be found on here on her website** Last week I sat in the hospital waiting room while my sister anticipated the arrival of my dear nephew. While I’m sure two days of labor were difficult for her, it was no picnic for those of us in the waiting room either. The nervous excitement and not knowing if anything was happening was nearly too much to bear! I was joined in anxious anticipation by my mom and dad, as well as my sister’s in-laws. We chatted, we watched TV, but mostly, we waited.
The whole experience made me miss my own mother-in-law tremendously.
When my husband visited the waiting room to proudly announce, “It’s a girl!” he was received with joyous hugs and tears. But my mother-in-law couldn’t be there. I miss her being there. And I know there’s no place she would rather have been. My family went through two application processes for a proper visas to come to the States when Billy and I were married. Both times they were denied with little explanation and a suggestion to try again… with another high application fee, of course. It was heart breaking to realize that we could not all be together for such a celebratory event.
Immigration laws have made it wildly complicated, ambiguous, and expensive to acquire a visa to simply come and visit us here in the States. In fact, the process is more clear and most likely more successful if we would begin to apply for permanent residence for them. But here’s the thing: my in-laws don’t want to move here, they just want to be able to come and visit. Our immigration laws should allow for this.
Right now, to apply for a tourist visa from Guatemala, there is a long list of requirements. In order to make a case that you will return home, you need to own property, have accumulated a sizable savings in a local bank, and otherwise prove to the agent that this visit is truly a visit. So much of the process, though, seems tied to the personality and mood of the agent whose line you happen to be in.
I am very encouraged recently to see laws that separate families being addressed and changed. I hope this work continues and becomes more supportive of international and cross-cultural families. Maybe I will soon have the pleasure of welcoming my in-laws into our home.
Sarah Quezada works with Mission Year as Director of Recruitment and Admissions. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Billy and daughter Gabriella. Stories and reflections on their cross-cultural life and ministry together can be found at her blog, http://www.alifewithsubtitles.com and be sure to check out http://www.missionyear.org/