Italian CitizenshipThe Pulse of Commitment


Commitment is tangible, like the beat of your heart felt in your pulse. Have you ever had the experience of being so committed to a goal that no matter how many roadblocks you encountered, you would not give up? How do you know when to continue in the same vein or take another path? Are the roadblocks a sign that you should quit?

I can’t answer that for anyone else, but I’d advise you if you want to re-examine your commitment, to do 3 things first:  First, be quiet for awhile, secondly, ask yourself questions, and lastly, listen for your answer deep in your soul.

I do know that once I was committed to applying for Italian citizenship for me and my children, I jumped through all the hoops. More than four years ago, I requested information from the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.  It was two years before they even looked at my request. I was told that, every day, they get 96,000 requests.

In order for me to apply for Italian citizenship, I had to prove that my paternal grandfather was still an Italian citizen when my father was born in the United States. If he had denounced his Italian citizenship, then I could not apply.

These last four years have been an emotional roller coaster while I was researching, waiting, gathering documents, having them translated into Italian, getting gold apostilles on each document from State agencies, and waiting some more. I wanted to quit so many times.

Twelve months ago, after driving five hours to the Italian Consulate in the US, to apply, I hit another major roadblock.

I was told I had to get a court order from a judge to have the spelling of our last name match the spelling of my grandfather’s name on his Italian birth certificate.

My grandfather hadn’t spelled his name correctly since he arrived in America in 1911. Two letters were different. This meant eight documents had to be re-done, with new gold apostilles, and the translations updated.  It was almost like starting from the beginning, but once I got over the shock, with encouragement from friends, I got off the “pity pot,” and re-committed.

As I kept striving and hitting up against all the impossibles, occasionally a door would crack open, and I’d squeeze through. A helping hand would appear, like my cousin, Sharon, who is a lawyer and spent time working on getting the names changed. Right after a judge and the  director at the Office of Vital Statistics told us that a court order was out of the question, and we could not change our spelling, I met Peter Farina online at his Italian cultural heritage company, italyMONDO! Peter suggested I get a court order from the judge for a “One and the Same Declaration” stating that my grandfather was one and the same person, even though his name was spelled slightly differently.

During this four-year process, many times I would read one of my favorite quotes on commitment by W.H. Murray from his 1951 book entitled The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

This quote explains my journey. I ran into challenges up until the night before my appointment, for which Providence moved in the guise of my friend, Rosemarie, who had several new documents translated at the very last minute.

Rosemarie’s Italian Citizenship Company is and she is efficient and thorough in assisting Italian Americans in the application process for dual citizenship. There were so many other roadblocks and some kept getting so ridiculous that sometimes, I just laughed.

As I mentioned in my recent Earth Day Post, on my Earth day birthday, I again drove 5 hours to my appointment to one of the Italian Consulates in the US to once again apply for dual citizenship, and our applications (mine and my two children’s) for Italian Citizenship were accepted, finally!

I do feel like a different person, a warrior of sorts, like I’ve torn through the curtain of impossibilities, to lie on the other side where there’s a field of lavender with lemon and olive groves. I’ve proven my worthiness of returning to my roots.I feel more complete, more Italian. I’m carrying on the connection to my ancestor’s homeland.Otherwise, it would be lost. I’m keeping the connection alive for future generations. I love being a US citizen too, and now I have the best of both worlds.

But, even more importantly, I stayed committed to my cause. The lesson of stick-to-itiveness.The feeling on the other side. That’s the joy and transformation.

How do you know when to quit? If your will is strong, you just keep going, until something gives.

Photo: Lenora committed to getting her Italian Citizenship (dual citizenship)

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