Ricardo and I left for Mexico unrelated to immigration issues and lived in Mexico, got a condo, married, had two more kids... then we realized that little bit of hope that tells you that there must be one more rock that you have not overturned came to the last rock... we, the kids and I, could not receieve residential status there as we were thinking that we would. The immigration people in Cuernavaca got sick of seeing us with my fumbling over the language I think. They told us that it would be easier and less expensive and more possible for Ricardo to immigrate into the USA instead, as "one" person to deal with for papers and expense of it, rather than "five" people to try to get the residency in Mexico.
So in order for us to live together, it is the USA that we are trying to live in because that is our basic only option at this point.
I tried the most expensive lawyer in Pittsburgh. I had a meeting with her in summer of 2008 in a high rise office. She said he will never be allowed in the States no matter what hardship I have because he was here more than once. We gave up for awhile and just kept living on tourst visas, travelling to the border every 6 months.
Then I tried an even more expensive lawyer with a 3 hour drive to, and 3 hour back, to Philadelphia in spring of 2009. I thought maybe with the championship ego that pricey lawyers have, they could surely find a way to pull this off at all costs. I was pregnant with Catherine then. They said he could never come here, and advised me to have the baby in the USA. The pregnancy would not be a hardship. They said with 5 grande they could possibly get him availability for a 3 month visit. Of course my Dad who was with me that paid for the $350 consultation fee, scowled at that idea. My Dad was funny because he took a bunch of no doze and drank a lot of coffee for the drive, wore a business suit, and we had a moment when Eliott was all fussy in the meeting so my Dad took him out in the hall. He came back all sweaty. He said Eli freaked out worse out in the hall because he could not see me. My Dad had a heck of a time. He couldnt wait to get outside again. The meeting was not very good.
So while my Dad is consistantly throwing in the point that our relationship is ridiculous and costing him money, hinting for me to divorce and move on, but still dealing with us at that time, Ricardo and I and the kids are truly bonding into this ideal family unit. We threw in the towel and decided we would move out of Cuernavaca into his parents' place in Jalisco. There was a room for us. We started to slowly move our stuff over the 9 hour drive. We accomplished taking down the bunk beds and moving them, all of our wooden chairs for the table, some clothes, beddings, etc. It was slow moving because of the expense of travel. Our minivan could only hold so much, plus bodies. We would sell our condo and use the money to start some kind of business in Jalisco. At least we had a plan to be together though.
Now our house in Cuernavaca had limited furniture once again. We went for years without and we finally had got to the point where we had things in our house and now half of them were at his mom's house, so we were back to the kids having no bed and sitting "just anywhere" at dinnertime. My appendix rupturing and close to death experience gave my mind somewhat of a different "want" to live there. When Eliott was two years old, and thought to have appendicitis as he cupled over, that was all I needed to experience and that was the point when I said okay I am getting your papers in the USA at all costs.
We came into the USA October of last year, enrolled the kids into American school for the first time since kinder/first grade in Florida. I was actually surprised how well they did with their peers here, despite the fact that their B average in Mexico most certainly was not the case here. Lots of adjustments, lots of hopes, I hired a lawyer locally and planned to lie on the paperwork so that I could get Ricardo here. We debated over the 5 year jailtime penalty of purjury, and I decided that the risk of the 5 years was worth it because it was that important that we were able to find stability.
During this time the meeting of some people took place. For the past year I had been talking my ass off in the American Latino group that Traciy ran, that most of the names that I see floating around now were a part of. But then I started to meet others. I met Giselle and Benjamin, then Emily. The whole thing became more of a group effort than was me feeling blindly my way through the darkness on my own. Hardly anyone in the previous group was ever in Mexico, let alone living there. A few had, like Sarah... and Jill actually was my first FB friend as she wanted to write an article for a magazine and include my story. She did not do it I assume. At that time there was not all of this mayhem. Our stories have become compiled with a gazillion other stories, making them not so rare at this time.
Then the group came into be and the unity of all and everyone became a foundation for us all to compare notes. After maybe 5 months of me trying to hint through posts how to get Ricardo to the states with out actually telling too much of our circumstances (because everyone said that the govt read FB and I did not want to risk my 5 years in jail as I was till in motion to lie on the papers at that time) a break, the truth revealed to me finally after years of darkness. One night on chat Krystal asked me the exacts, I told her exactly everything that was involved, and she said that he can get a waiver now. We confirmed that the next day with Amy, and she directed me to the lawyer that I have now, my fourth lawyer attempt.
The lawyer is an awesome young woman that too went through this situation personally so I have heard, and some of her clients are my friends. She sent me a note with a list of things. I planned on seeing Ricardo on a visit to Mexico in summer, so I told her that most of the things that she needed on the list I would get at that time and file the papers when I came back. Trying to hold a conversation with Ricardo over the phone is difficult, but to try to get a list of information from him with our language barriers, no no no. His sister gave me most of the information anyway because Ricardo flat out did not know it.
So we returned in September and through my mass depression I finally got the packette of information together and sent it. That is why in a nutshell we are finally sending the I-130 in now even though we left a year ago to get the papers.
Ricardo has been very patient and very depressed. My son who is going to be 4 in a couple weeks has emotional damage. I have aged like 10 years easy in this last one year. We have visited twice, once in Feb we went for a month (me and the babies only) and once in the summer for 2 months (me and all 4 of the kids).
Our next planned visit for the babies and I is in December the day after Christmas thru to the second week in February - the day before Catherine turns two years, to avoid the paying of one more seat on the airplane.
After that I am going to have to do an overhaul on the working mode and get super established here to prepare for the following months of paying out to the lawyer, the papers involved, the trip to Juarez for him at approx 2 grand... he makes 40-50 bucks a week down there, enough to cover things there, but nothing extra. That is up to me unfortunately.
I am taking online degree classes to get an AA in Early Childhood Edu so that in case this waiver does not pull through I will have an option in Dec 2012 when I graduate which will be around the same time as the waiver results I think, to go to Mexico to teach and use my work visa to aquire the proper residency there and pull my kids through with me. At least it would be more of a possiblity.
I think that living in Mexico is great and would do so for the sake of being a family no matter here or there at least we are together. There are many wonderful qualities living in Mexico. I have the option of trying my best effort at living in the USA as opposed to our previous plan of the 5 of us Americans living in Mexico without proper documentation as "illegals" the thoughts of my childrens' futures was a heavy weight to bear of course. Of course he absolutely refuses to move our family to the border dwelling situation.
So that was a bit of rambling as I am so good at. But that is our confusing life. It is not the same as most people that we are surrounded with. It really doesnt have ties with the current immigration system going haywire, we are just looking for a place to live. Just one of those black cloud moments. However because of the situation, I have become a part of it because I am angry at the lack of concern for me and my kids personally as Americans. When I look at it from my eyes, despite what is the current news, I feel, and always have felt, that our situation has been ridiculously swept under the rug, as if we should just forget our rights and "go away silently". Now that there are so many others, hey, come on, something needs to change - Obviously!!! I am not "jumping on the bandwagon" no I am routing for my own family mainly... but in the mean time I have discovered that it really is more than what the general public "knows" - why? Because it is hidden information. Look how long it took for me to find out anything. Even the lawyers did not know what to do. Seriously? I thought I had to be alone in the move to Mexico because there was not a drop of information out there it seemed. So I am joining onto the "bandwagon" for the main purpose of educating the general public so that we all get our fair day in judgement from our peers, not our "dysfunctional owners" who are trying their best to take over my country, as has been the light shed upon me in this past year of living without my husband, thank you very much land of internet.