I'm a British citizen who has been exiled from my own country. My crime? Falling in love with and marrying an American.
It embarrasses and saddens me that I'm having to start this fundraiser. However, I can see no other way to raise the money needed to achievemy biggest dream and deepest desire: returning to my beloved home country of England and bringing my American husband and two year old daughter with me.
Some of you know my story, others don't, so I will briefly outline it. I'm a British citizen from Nottingham, England and worked hard in the UK for over a decade, contributing to society and dutifully paying taxes and National Insurance. In 2009 I went travelling in the northwestern USA where I met and fell in love with my now husband, who is American. We spent several years thousands of miles apart, not seeing each other for months at a time- at one point we were apart for 19 months. We finally got engaged and married in the USA in December 2016. The day after this wonderful event, I had to return to England alone where I was still living and working.
We "got married" again in England in May 2014 so that my family could be there to help us celebrate. My husband then had to return to the USA and we were 5000 miles apart once more, this time for nine months. We began the long, expensive, distressing process of applying for a Green Card for me to come to the USA to live with him. This was unfortunately not a choice, but was forced upon me because the very year before we got married, then Home Secretary Theresa May tightened the UK's already strict immigration laws, meaning that a British Citizen had to be earning at least 18,600 GBP (US $24,528) a year in order to sponsor the visa of their non-European Union spouse.
At that time I was earning just 6.50 GBP (US $8.60) an hour in a temping job and still living with my parents. There was no way on earth I was making 18,600 GBP a year so with a heavy heart I accepted that in order to finally be with my husband, I would have to leave my beloved family (who I'm exceptionally close to), home country and wonderful friends and move 5000 miles away to the Nevada desert where I knew barely a soul. It was at that point the hardest thing I'd ever done. That was until I found out I was pregnant.
Our beautiful daughter Audrey was born on October 23rd 2016, just 8 months after I'd been forced to give up my UK life and move to the USA in the name of love. Going through culture shock, homesickness and assimilation into a culture/country entirely different to my own was hard enough, but being pregnant at the same time and having my first baby 5000 miles away from my own family and the wonderful National Health Service honestly almost killed me. I fell into a very deep depression and had to take anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication and go to counselling; all while dealing with the needs of a newborn while my husband had to go back to work. Two years later and the after-effects/memories of this traumatic, lonely and heartbreaking time, at what should have been the happiest period of my life, still haunt me.
Fast forward to now and I am still really struggling. I am exhausted, stressed and constantly homesick. I miss my family so much and am in tears almost every day. My poor husband is at a loss as to how to make me feel better. I only get to see my UK family once a year for just a couple of weeks, at great cost because airfare is so expensive. I find Christmas and birthdays incredibly hard, as we can't be together. We rarely speak "face to face" because they are 8 hours ahead and we're at opposite ends of the day.
I miss the UK so much, and long to bring my husband and daughter back to live there. It's so much safer, there is barely any gun crime, and it's so much more child friendly and progressive. Here, you're lucky if there's a baby changing table in a restaurant bathroom. I am having to work full time as well as raise a toddler because I have to earn the equivalent of 18,600 GBP for at least six months here in the USA before I can even think about applying for my husband's UK visa. If we ever raise enough money to apply and make the move back to the UK, we then face an unspecified amount of time thousands of miles apart, which would be all the more painful now because we have a young daughter. Visa and solicitor fees are extortionate. We would be starting our new life destitute. The only other alternative is somehow raising the ridiculous amount of 62,500 GBP (US$ 82,395), which would have to be in my UK bank account for at least six months before we apply. My husband and I have already been through so, so much to be together and we simply can't face any more time apart, or any more expense.
I hate to ask for money from friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers, but it's the only way I can think of to try to earn some of the money needed to get us home one day. I've met some amazing people here in the USA and there are days when I can almost accept that I live here, but it's still not home and never will be. I'm tired of being exiled from the country I was born in and long to return to. I want my little girl to know my family, and to grow up safe from gun massacres and the frightening politics of this country. I want to be the wife and mother that I know I can be, but it's impossible to be because I'm so tired, stressed and homesick all the time.
These funds would be used for the expensive UK visa application and for immigration lawyer fees to support the application. In short, any money raised would be used to finally achieve my dream of returning home and raising my family in my home country. It's not a lot to ask, and indeed the right to a family life is defined as a basic human right. My family and I (and thousands others) are being denied that right.
Thank you so much for reading, and for any support you can give. We truly would be eternally grateful for anything at all.