Today my German Passport arrived in the mail. YAYAYAY! It's so exciting!!
It's been about 2 years in the making, so to speak. I had always wished I could claim my German citizenship, but it wasn't until October of 2009 that I found out that I actually could. As I started exploring the idea, it became clear that this would be a very daunting, difficult process. Documents and dates were misplaced that would take a miracle to sort out.
Ian and I prayed about it, and we just felt like I should go ahead and pursue it anyways. I'm not really sure how to explain that feeling. It's not like I heard God say out loud, "Do This." But, it was like an urging, that I just HAD to follow through. With that go-ahead, I went online and downloaded the form off of the German consulate website, and proceeded to fill it out with as much information as possible. After a few calls and emails to wonderful family members to fill in the gaps, off it went to the Consulate. A few months later, I received an email from the German Consulate in San Francisco, stating that they needed more information. OK! I could do that. Dug a little deeper and mailed off more information...
Another email followed. We're sorry, but your Aunt and Uncle's files are no longer there with all of the other family documents that you need. (Apparently they only keep them so many years, and it had been over 10...) Could you please send new certified copies?
This was becoming difficult. They wanted a copy of my Grandpa's birth certificate... which we had no inkling of where it might be. Keep in mind, this is not a simple document to procure. The other papers they wanted would have been difficult to acquire. At this point they were asking for documents that originated in Germany, during or before WWII. And our family was Jewish, so the likelihood that they were still on record was very slim.
Enter: my amazing Aunt Ruth, who God used in an incredible way! After several months talking to the consulate and explaining the situation, I received a package in the mail from Germany. In it was a letter from my Aunt Ruth, explaining how she was just looking in a filing cabinet for something unrelated and TA DA there was the missing file. Copies of Grandpa's birth certificate, registration papers, documents of his time in England at a refugee house, and so much more! It was truly a miracle!! Sadly, there were no originals in the file, and you can't make a notarized copy of a copy. I prayed, and decided that it was in His will for me to send them anyways. So, after making copies of everything for our own personal use, I sent off the only notarized copies I had of those documents.
It took a while longer for everything to get sorted out. Eventually, in the summer of 2011 I got the letter in the mail. Come to the consulate and pick up your naturalization certificate! We ended up moving to Washington, and fortunately there is an Honorary Consul here near Seattle, so I made an appointment with her to pick up my papers. While I was at it, I also filled out the paperwork and did the fingerprint scan for a passport...
And here we are today!
Sometime later I will need to talk about the emotional journey that this all took... it was quite a learning experience, and I dealt with some tough stuff. But for right now, if you want more information on this process, check out this link to the German Consulate Website: http://www.germany.info.
I'm still not sure why God wanted me to go ahead and do this. It turned out that my cousin Laura was getting the same message, so she was in the same process. (She had slightly different circumstances, though, so didn't need the same documents.) We shall see what God does!! In the mean time, I'm hoping to plan a trip to Germany in the near future...