Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Tipping point(s)

Yesterday was my day of reckoning!

A week after our wedding ceremony, Astrid and I took the half-hour bus ride to Utrecht, Holland, one of the 9 IND (immigration) locations in the country...and our favorite photo-hunt city. If I did not start my residence-permit process by March 5 (3 months after arriving on December 5), I would have to leave the country for 3 months before returning. Our appointment was at 2p. At 1:46 we got ticket T506 and were called in at 2:15p. An hour later we were done...all documents submitted from me first (remember those apostilles!?!) and then Astrid.

So now you understand the urgency of the marriage timing. I want to stay in Holland because I'm married to Astrid.

But here's the sticking point! Astrid is my sponsor. For me to stay in the Netherlands, SHE has to have a work contract for a minimum of 6 months as assurance she can support me. In spite of the fact she has worked at the same company for 15 months now, the economy prohibits them (and most of Holland) from offering contracts to their temp employees. Immigration in turn has every right to simply say, "So sorry. Next!" As our lady said yesterday, they could decide to not even look at my application! I could be a millionaire. Still, "So sorry!"

However, apparently every application is taken case by case. So now I have a special sticker in my passport (ID numbers removed) that gives Immigration 6 months to review and process my request. She says I'll probably have an answer within 1-2 months. If they judge against me, because Astrid doesn't have a work contract, I can then appeal. If they judge for me, I can stay for one year and then renew my application for a 5-year extension. It's all very exact and to the point. The initial application costs €830 ($1,126) and is not refunded if the decision is NO.

Now, the tipping points:
  • Our marriage in Holland. THEY approved and recognized it. Now will they separate us?
  • Our age. At 64 and 55, it's not like we don't know what we want, right?
  • My income. My Social Security income is a monthly "given" till I die and is more "stable" than Astrid's income, if they want to look at it that way.
And now listen to this, two more points we didn't think of till yesterday:
  • My passport. The lady surprised us when she copied every page showing all my times flying to and from Amsterdam since 2007. Never once did she ask why. She made the assumption I made all the trips because of our relationship. It's further proof, she said, of why our marriage is not a fake marriage for me to get social security from Holland.
  • My political asylum??? Because our marriage is a gay marriage which is not recognized in America, Immigration here could consider my case one of "political" asylum. Astrid cannot gain residence in MY country as my wife. So I HAVE to stay in Holland if we are to remain together.

A work in progress...outside Immigration in Utrecht. How appropriate!

We don't know, of course, if anything will be a tipping point. All we can do now is let it go and trust the Universe to rule in my favor. Your prayers and best wishes will help, I truly believe. You will be our cloud of witnesses. I am not here to screw the country I have grown to love!

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In the meantime, Vancouver OLYMPICS! Did you watch the Opening Ceremony? Did you see/hear K.D. Lang perform "Hallelujah" at the end? Did you see Anne Murray help carry in the Olympic flag? They were our 2 Canadian musicians at our wedding ceremony. Do we have good taste or what! :)

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And in case you want to follow me there, I had my second post at Vision and Verb, yesterday.

18 comments:

  1. Oh,I have a feeling that they'll approve you no problem - you've got an awful lot of good points going on there and the same-sex marriage one seems quite important. They do that in Canada as well when people come from countries where it would be impossible for them to be married or for a marriage performed elsewhere to be recognized.

    Yes indeedy, I watched the Opening Ceremony and LOVED every minute. So creative. And K.D. Lang was wonderful, I hadn't seen her perform in ages. Nice to see all those Canadian celebrities and athletes I remember from my old life. :-)

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  2. All we do now is wait, meanwhile we will enjoy time given to us.
    Sometimes it is hard to stop the worriing, I do feel responsible and being very grounded sometimes I worry too much........
    Watching the Olympics together is great, when we saw KD Lang and Anne Murray we were thrilled.
    .......I will stay modest, but I think it was a great pick to choose those two singers for our wedding.
    I have a smile on my face, I think we will be alright.

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  3. I thought of you both when K D Lang started to sing - but the French TV cut her, and every other singer, off at the halfway point!!!

    Got my fingers crossed that you'll be successful with the immigration authorities. I have a feeling it'll work out just fine.

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  4. I don't have a feeling of doubt in me for immigration. I know it will work. ;-)

    But yes I do know exactly how it feels and I know how patient one needs to be in order to get the news you are looking for...

    I hope you enjoy the olympics for sure. The spirit is incredible as I hear from one of my friends... The torch passed my old place of employment, talk about cool!

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  5. KD did rock the stage last night, and word in the Vancouver musical scene is that she was the only singer to sing live last night. The rest were lip-synching. Go KD! Ginnie, I hope your immigration goes well!

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  6. Well, the whole thing must be very nerve-wracking for you. I wish you happiness and the best of luck in this process!

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  7. I'm not worried about your immigration. As Christina mentioned, you have too many good points for them to reject your application.

    We missed the opening celebration since we were snowboarding in Austria, but I heard this morning that Switzerland has already won a gold medal :-)

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  8. I agree, those are all strong points and I trust they will be convinced as we are!

    We missed that part of the opening ceremonies, darn. But how cool that you had them in your ceremony. Lots of synchronicity all around.

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  9. Christina: I do hope you're right. Astrid is so stressed out about it because she's afraid they will be such a stickler about her work contract. But it's out of her control, so we just have to relax! Thanks for your encouragement. And yes, you can be proud of your Canadian heritage! So many good, famous people have come from your country of birth.

    Astrid: All we can do is enjoy today and not worry about tomorrow, lest it become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Look at how far we have come! And yes, we know how to pick good people when we see them. :)

    Deborah: Too bad the French TV cut the singers, because they were good. We do love that K.D. Lang! :) Thanks for crossing your fingers with us. We need all the support we can get. :)

    ET: You sure went through your own trials and tribulations there, I remember. Hopefully mine will be easier than yours. Thanks for your support. Now we'll cheer you at the Olympics.

    RD: I love that bit of trivia about K.D. Lang singing live. If anyone can do it, she's the one! Thanks for your support of us now.

    Karen: Nerve-wracking indeed, Karen, but there's nothing we can do about it now but wait and believe all things. That's what we're trying to do.

    CS: Thanks for your encouragement. We hope you're right! :)

    Ruth: It was a delightful ceremony, even if we saw it the next day (yesterday). We loved every minute of it. Very creative. Thanks for your encouragement of us now as we wait.

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  10. I think the Dutch will make room for one more person, especially when they learn whom they will receive.

    I remember spending hours and hours in line at the INS in San Francisco to trade in my green card for citizenship. Bureaucracy is universal! Maybe you can tell them that since Dutchbaby left Netherlands and became an American citizen, you can now take her place.

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  11. Wouldn't that be funny if you had to find someone to "replace" when you emmigrate (or is it immigrate)?

    What Anne Murray song(s) did you have? One of my old clients with Down Syndrome used to call me Anne Murray. He thought I looked like her. haha

    Best wishes your way, it will work out.

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  12. you certainly do have alot of points in your favor, try not to worry about it hun, that's no good for your health... i thought there was places in the states that recognized gay marriages... you might want to look a little further into that? i didn't know you had a word blog... i just started a tumblr blog, i'll leave the address in the form

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  13. DB: I do hope you are right! And yes, bureaucracy is everywhere, you're right. I have to pay my dues like everyone else and stand in line. I will. And once it's over, the birth pangs will be forgotten! I love the idea that I can take your place. :)

    Susan: I kinda like that idea of replacing someone who leaves! Em or Im...that is the question! HA! It depends on who's doing the talking, I guess.

    Our beginning wedding song was Anne Murry's "Could I have this dance for the rest of my life" and the middle song was "Nobody loves me like you do." They are two of our favorite songs and every time we hear them, we stand up and start dancing. :)

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  14. Elaine: I think I totally missed your comment when I was last replying! Actually, this is my oldest blog...at 5 years now. Hard to believe it’s been that long. Shutterchance has become my photoblog but here I post some of the same pics, others, and then tell more of what’s going on. So, there you have it. It’s nice to surprise you every once in awhile! :)

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  15. Oh, my! I was going to comment first at the wedding post but saw this and got caught.

    I have a feeling there will be no problem. With no experience of such things at all, I do suspect it will be much easier in Holland than it would be here. Our bureaucracy is so large many decisions are by personal whim of the approver. I don't see that happening in your new country.

    In any event, we'll do some deep breathing along with you through it all!

    What a wonderful detail - that KD was the one singing "live". That's no surprise, actually.

    I sold a story recently and have been hip deep in learning about a number of things: dpi, ppi, hi and lo resolution, cut lines, and the editing process. It's a bit more complicated than throwing something up on a blog!

    Now, that's all done and there's only the waiting for the magazine to come out. So, I'm back to my regularly scheduled blogging and catching up with events. Miss a week, miss a world ~ that's my new mantra!

    Off to see your second post on V&V.

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  16. SA: I do hope you are right, Linda, of course. Surely "they" will look at our case with clear eyes. We pray so. Don't even get Astrid started if they don't, when she sees who they DO accept!

    Don't you love that K.D. Lang was so brilliant! :) In the meantime, I see you have been very busy. I know what it's like to catch up, so lots of luck.

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  17. I really think that everything will work out for you. As you say this could be a political asylum case as they well know how the US are on this point. I was looking forward to the ceremonies of the Olympics but we were in a plane coming to Atlanta which was delayed because of snow. Luckily we had taken the earlier plane as our original one did not leave Palm Beach until 2:50 AM and was diverted to Charlotte, NC where it landed at 4:00 am or so. K.D. Land is great, my husband has several of her CDs.

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  18. Vagabonde, thank you for your encouragement. I do hope and pray you are right. We are fairly relaxed about it right now, trusting that all will be well, regardless of what may be the tipping point for them.

    I love how many people are fans of K.D. Lang. I'll add your husband to the list. :)

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