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FAMILY

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I wrote this story for my niece, Emily Anne, and she gave me permission to put it on the website.  The picture is of Emily and her brother Jordan.

Once there was a girl called Emily Anne, who liked to do lots of stuff. She would sing, and dance, and read, and all of the other things that a girl of her age would do. But most of all she was a very bright and pretty and loving child, because she had a family that spanned the globe. Can you imagine that? For Emily Anne lived in Oklahoma, and she had an Uncle and cousins who lived in the Caribbean. And that’s a long, long way away.

One day in the winter, Emily Anne was at school, and her teacher was telling the class about the different types of weather in different parts of the world. Emily Anne put her hand up and said, "I have an Uncle and Cousins who live in the Caribbean, and the weather there is very different from here. Even though it’s cold and blowey outside in Oklahoma, in the Caribbean it’s always warm and sunny, and they can go to the seaside whenever they want".

"Well," said the Teacher, "that’s very true about the weather in the Caribbean. But Emily Anne, you really don’t have any family there in the Caribbean. I know your parents, and all of your true family lives right here in the United States."

Emily Anne was very sad. She wouldn’t tell a fib, because she knew that would be wrong. And she certainly had an Uncle and Cousins in a place called Trinidad, where the sun shone warm in the daytime, and the stars were bright at night. How could the teacher say that all of her family all lived in the United States?

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But Emily Anne was a bright girl, so she decided to do some research (which is a big word to say that she went to find out the truth). And she first went to an ecologist.

"Please Mr. Ecologist," she asked "I need to show my teacher that I really have an Uncle and Cousins who live in the Caribbean. Can you help me?"

"Well," said the Ecologist "I can certainly tell you about the trees and the birds and the flowers and the animals that live in the Caribbean. I can tell you about the fish in the sea and the rivers. I know that the Caribbean is a Tropical Environment, and that Oklahoma is a Temperate Environment, and they are different. So maybe you are not related to the people who live in the Caribbean".

And the Ecologist nodded his head, and looked very wise. But he really wasn’t sure, and he didn’t want Emily Anne to find out.

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Next Emily Anne went to a Lawyer, to ask about her family from far away.

"Please, Ms. Lawyer," she asked "can you help me to show my teacher that my Family in Trinidad is for real?"

"I certainly can," said the Lawyer. "I’ll search the birth records, and the adoption papers. The law has all the answers (or that’s what we like people to think)".

But when she searched all of the records, the Lawyer could not find the answer for Emily Anne.

"Your question crosses international boundaries," she said "and I am only licensed to provide legal advice in the United States. Maybe you should speak to the Federal Government."

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Poor Emily Anne! Have you ever tried to speak to the whole Federal Government? That’s a lot of people, and they are very important. But she tried and she tried some more. And finally she found an Immigration Officer who would speak to her.

"Please Mr. Immigration Officer," she asked "I need to show my Teacher that I really have an Uncle and some Cousins who live in Trinidad. Can you help me?"

So the Immigration Officer got to his computer, and did a big search. But he did not find what Emily Anne was asking for.

"I’ve searched the whole data-base," he said "and none of the U. S. Citizens who live in Trinidad are related to you. I guess you were mistaken."

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Emily Anne was very sad. She was sure that she had an Uncle and Cousins in the Caribbean, but she could not prove it. So she went to her Granma, and told her about it. Emily Anne’s Granma was a very wise lady, who always said exactly what she felt. When Emily Anne told her of her troubles, she sat Emily on her lap and hugged her tight.

"Your Uncle was born in Trinidad," she said "but he came to Oklahoma to study. That’s how we met him and we became a family. That’s how he is your Uncle. And his children are my Grandbabies, and that’s how they are your Cousins."

"But Granma," said Emily Anne "the Ecologist said ...

and the Lawyer said ...

and the Immigration Officer said .."

"No!" said Granma. "That’s not how it works. We’re a family because we chose to be, and that’s all there is to it."

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Emily Anne and her Grandad