My Immigration Story

Red, White, Blue… and BROWN
by: Ayin Viray
● July 13, 2023

January 17, 2023, “I declare an oath to entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to foreign sovereignty of whom or which I have been a citizen.” After twelve years of stay… that was the day I completed my citizenship exam, passed it, and took an oath. The feeling was overwhelming. I was so emotional. The words, “to entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to foreign sovereignty” hit me hard and felt so real. I had to declare rejection of the place I once called “home.” I needed some time to absorb and process that. I chose to stay in my car for at least 30 mins. Tears just came down continuously. At that moment, all of the “highs” and “lows” of my journey to get to where I am came back.

Low Points: I had a comfortable life in the Philippines. My husband was a doctor, and I worked for a prestigious holding company for food and restaurants. I also had a business on the side. Everything was provided for me in order to run my comfortable life. I gave birth to my eldest son. When he turned 1 year and 7 months, I noticed that his speech was delayed, and he was very hyperactive. He was later diagnosed with Autism. This was the MAIN reason why we chose to migrate because America would be the place to raise him. He could get the best therapies, won’t be discriminated against, and have the chance to excel despite his disabilities.

So off we go…

When I first arrived in the US, I felt stressed out. I became so depressed. I didn’t have a driver, no nanny, no friends, no mom and family to help me. I didn’t have a job or money. I didn’t have a house of my own, and I had to take care of my son ALONE in a place that was FOREIGN to me. I was so pampered back at home, and now I found myself having to learn and figure everything out by myself. The expenses to pursue our ‘green card’ status were too overwhelming. We spent a significant amount of money for it. While I tried figuring out my daily life, I also had marriage issues that needed to be resolved. Because of all these experiences, I can easily say that the beginning of my life in America was my lowest point. In fact, I’ve lost count of how many times I planned to go back home.

High Points: When you’re down there’s nowhere to go but up. At my lowest points, I chose to run and find strength in my relationship with God rather than rely on myself. He has always shown His faithfulness and has provided for me, my son, my marriage, and my family. I found a Church home that encouraged my growth as a Christian. My son was able to receive his therapies for free and flourished in school with his academic achievements. I fought for my marriage, and now we’re stronger than ever. I found a work ministry where everyone has become family. I also created new friendships. Later on, my mom joined us from the Philippines. She filled up all of the emptiness I had. My family was then completed with the birth of my youngest son (a legit US Citizen). Sometimes we need to decrease so that God may increase. I learned to appreciate answered prayers, restored relationships, timely provisions (I need a separate article for this because there was a moment when I had ONE DAY when our family needed to leave, or we would lose our status), and financial blessings—so many things to be grateful for. I don’t think I will learn to cherish and value all of these if I have not experienced those low points. To me, it is evident why God brought me here. It is not because of my son. It is because God needed to reveal Himself MORE. He allowed it because He had a better plan.

Today, I am privileged to be a Citizen of the United States of America. It was definitely an earned success. It was not an easy journey, but it was worth it! Every immigrant that takes a chance may have different reasons for coming, but one thing we all have in common is BRAVERY. It takes strength and courage to leave everything you have ever known, your family, your culture, your job, your loved ones—YOUR LIFE. It takes DETERMINATION to fight the trials and obstacles, and FAITH to understand the will of the Lord. Being an immigrant means more than moving into a new place; it’s more than that. It’s adapting, becoming, and allowing a new purpose into your life. They say America is a “country of possibilities.” In my case, it became possible because, first, God made it possible. Second, I chased the dream.

K.I.T (keep in touch)

(because we make kits, DUH)

ABOUT THE WRITER…

Ayin Viray

“Snack Queen” by day and cool mom + wife by night. Chocolates and desserts are her weakness, but Ayin always shares the sweetness. You’d never know this motorcycle-roaring, gun-shooting baddie with a Taekwondo black belt was raised by nuns at an all-girls school. Of course she would grow up to do all the things a nun would never. Fashionably chic and blinding us with her bling on a daily, Ayin’s dreams of working at Home Depot may not support her posh lifestyle and the killer collection of high-end designer bags that she wishes to be buried with.

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