I can stay! When we came home from Arizona my new permanent resident card, also known as the green card although there is nothing green about it, was waiting for me. We have convinced Immigration Services of my good intentions (or they finally realized the US is NOT the place to be at the moment if you're looking for a job) resulting in the removal of the conditions of my residency. It did not go smoothly, though.
Because we had just gotten married when Ryan filed the petition to import me, my initial green card was only valid for two years. Three months before it expired, I had to send in a new petition to have the conditions removed, along with evidence I entered my marriage in good faith. I figured having a child would be the ultimate proof, so except for the hefty check, all I sent USCIS was a copy of Lola's birth certificate.
Not good enough, as it turned out. They wanted proof of residency, too. My name on the deed to the house, the mortgage, the power bill, the phone bill, etc. All things that were already in place when I moved in with Ryan and therefore in his name only. Great. Two of our friends were kind enough to sign an affidavit, testifying Ryan and I are genuinely in love (they have been inside the barn...) and living together. And that was accepted. I am good to go until 2018. Don't know what happens then.
However. For the next nine years I am stuck with an ID that has the Worst Passport Photo Ever on it, taking over first place from my previous Worst Passport Photo Ever. The one that was on my passport AND my driver's license because I had to replace both at the same time when my purse was stolen. The one that was taken in my platinum blond phase. ("Are we talking Marilyn Monroe here?", Chris, my hairdresser, wanted to know when I asked him if he thought I could get away with that color. I miss Chris. So does my hair.) In addition to being white, my hair was very short and the roots were showing. I did not wear make-up and I was in a foul mood because of the theft and it showed.
I have never been so happy to have my passport expire. The official in charge of renewals totally understood. When the new Dutch driver's license was introduced, I jumped at the chance to replace that one too. Again, nothing but understanding at City Hall. "Is that really you? Would you like us to expedite your request?"
This picture is much, MUCH worse. It was taken mid December when we had just moved into the barn. I was still trying to find a shower routine without a shower. My hair was dirty, I was tired, and again, no make-up. I thought all they wanted was to digitally store my fingerprints. Of course they also wanted my picture. What was I thinking? I am sure in nine years time I will receive equal understanding from USCIS about my relief to be able to replace the card. But until then I am going to have to live with the fact I forgot the first rule of passport photos:
Do your make-up and your hair as if you're having tea with the Queen!
It's going to be a long nine years. And no, you cannot see it. I am NOT going to show this picture unless I absolutely have to.