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My baby girl could not have been less excited. After 18 hours on an airplane, she just wanted to be free of the confines of my arms and the cramped airline seating. She was totally unaware of what a momentous occasion this was.
We filed off the airplane in Chicago and headed toward the line at Immigration, clutching our envelope full of official documents in sweaty hands. The worker at the desk took our papers and showed us to a bench area where we could wait while they reviewed our paperwork. We had been prepared for this and anticipated it, but it was still nerve-wracking. Pacing, rocking the baby, staring at the walls, we did whatever we could to pass the time. We were so jet-lagged we hardly knew what time of day it was. After what seemed an interminable time, the official came back out and solemnly addressed our 9 month old daughter, taking her tiny hand in his. Finally he smiled: “Congratulations! You are now a United States citizen.”
With that, our little girl was one step closer to home.