Many parents are faced with hard choices. I have the usual parenting conundrums about things like day care or which cloth diapers to use, so vaccinations have lately begun to take a backseat.
Right now my partner and I are trying to sell our house because in a year, we’ll have to leave the country. I am 7 months pregnant and the last thing I want to deal with is selling a house, packing and worrying about what will happen a year from now.
Unfortunately, I have no choice. My partner is not American, and I cannot get her a green card even though we got married in DC earlier this year. Most of us know that our marriage is not worth much in this country. Unless my wife gets a green card on her own through her employer, we really have no choice but to say goodbye to our friends and life as I have known it for the past 18 years. (I moved to the USA when I was 14; my partner moved here when she was in her early twenties.)
The good thing is that we are looking to relocate to one of two awesome but very different countries: Finland or Canada. Our decision came down to a few obvious choices: my partner is Finnish and both Canada and Finland recognize gay marriage.
Both countries have excellent health care and educational systems — Finland is the top country in the world for childhood education. All of this is excellent for our baby, but where does it leave me? I sometimes wonder how much am I supposed to sacrifice for the sake of my child.
I’ll adapt, but it’s scary to think that I would have to learn a very difficult foreign language in Finland, and would not be able to work for at least a few years as the job market is very unwelcoming to foreigners.
In Canada, we may have an easier time getting jobs and we know the language, but we know absolutely no one there, and won’t have anyone to rely on or reach out to during a moment of need. This wouldn’t bother me so much if it was just the two of us, but moving with a baby changes everything.
Although I am excited at the prospect of moving to a country that finally recognizes our union and our little family, I often find myself longing to stay in the U.S. Maybe it would be the easiest choice for me, but not for my partner. She refuses to bring up our child in a country that treats us as second-class citizens, and I admit that I am beginning to share her point of view.
The fact that I have not been able to help her stay in the country permanently is increasingly frustrating, especially now that we are having a baby. As if drawing up wills and power of attorneys were not enough, I long for the day where our union will be just like any other marriage, questions won’t be asked, and we will not have to worry about bringing along the baby’s birth certificate and other documents every time one of us has to take him to the doctor, to school, or on a trip.
Now that we are having a baby, we see that the things that most parents take for granted do not come easily to us. But I am hopeful that in the future things in America will change for the best, and perhaps who knows? We may even think about coming back!