Sophie and Ann
I am writing this story, to show support for everyone else in the same situation as ourselves. I have changed our names to protect our identity, as far as the INS goes.
My name is Sophie I am from East Anglia in England, my girlfriend is Ann and she is from Ventura County, California. I had been working in the travel industry for 4 years and always wanted to visit California. Prior to the travel industry I worked as a Health Care Assistant.
Anyway my best friend and I decided to book a trip to San Francisco, as neither one of us had been before. This was in Jan 2001. My friend suggested I go onto Gay.com and take a peek in the "women's California room," so I did. The very first time I went in there, there she was: My Ann.
That same night we met, Ann decided to give me a call and we spent an hour on the phone, laughing, joking, she loved my accent, it was very sweet. We continued to stay in touch by phone, email, and letters. We got closer and closer. We did this for 2 months until finally we met in SF in March 2001. Ann had traveled 5 hours to come and meet me at SF airport. We spent 3 days in SF then drove down to Ventura County to her house were we spent the rest of my holiday together. Then it came for me to head back to England, it was very sad as you can imagine. I got back and returned to work. We could not stand being apart, so I went ahead and booked a week off work and booked another flight back, 2 weeks later. Luckily for me at that time I worked in travel, so it was not too expensive. I headed back out there in April 2001, again we had a wonderful time together and again very sad saying goodbye. I went back to work in England. A month later I decided to hand in my 1 month notice and head back to the U.S. for 3 months, due to the waiver free status. That was in May 2001. I stayed until August and came back to England for a week, stayed with my parents, then back to the U.S. again in September. Another 3 months passed and before I knew it I was home for Christmas.
Three weeks passed and I was going over in my mind and talking to Ann over the phone, as to what to say why I am back again, when they ask me at immigration at the airport. Those moments for us are nervous times; fearing the worse of being denied entry. Luckily it was ok this time on my return in Jan of this year. Thank god!
April this year I returned back to England, this time spending 2 months in England, due to having to get a temp job, in order to pay for flight back. I got the money together and came back to California this month. Again I feared the immigration crossing.
But why do I fear? I do nothing wrong, I always stay within the visa waiver guidelines. But still it's worrying. Why should we do this in order to be together? Great Britain and the US are 2 great nations and they have been good friends for many years. I am currently looking for sponsorship for entry back into nursing. It is proving difficult as I am not a registered nurse, but equivalent to I believe a CNA/LVN over here. We have spoken about the possibilities of moving to England to be together, if it means us being together. Great Britain does now recognize same sex partners and therefore my girlfriend would be able to stay in England with me. She has 2 teenage children and we do have to consider them.
Why should she uproot her life and children from her own country because of the US justice? Now I am back in sunny California until September, with the hope of finding a sponsor in this time and being certified with the nursing board here, which is not a short process.
We fear me not being granted a visa. We hope someday all this will change for us Bi-national same sex couples. Mine and my girlfriend's thoughts are with everyone who are in the same situation as ourselves. We are a strong, committed couple and we intend supporting every group and everyone who are fighting for this.