Friday, January 4, 2013

A cause for much rejoicing

Baby brother after his naturalization. I love that grin!!
My 25-year-old baby brother became a naturalized United States citizen this afternoon!

When he took his Oath of Allegiance in that New York City federal courthouse, he became the final member of the Alapo family to officially become a Nigerian-American.

I am extremely proud of him that he stuck with and fought his way through what can be a frustrating bureaucratic immigration process. I went through the same and became a naturalized American in October 2011.

I only wish I could have been with my brother today at his swearing in. I returned to Knoxville last night after a two-week Christmas break in New York. I missed the ceremony by about 12 hours. Immigration sent my brother notice of the date well after I purchased my plane ticket.

But I'm so thankful my oldest sister was able to go with him to celebrate this monumental occasion. Well, sort of. There were so many people there to be sworn in that family members had to sit in an adjacent cafeteria and watch via TV. But my sister was able to take some pictures afterward and embrace my brother. Her hugs conveyed all of our excitement.

At 2:11 p.m., I received this sweet text message from my brother: "I just did my swearing in for the U.S. citizenship. I'm now an official American citizen."

What an amazing start to the new year for the Alapo family!

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