“Should I Give My Baby a United States Nationality?”

As an expecting first-time mother living in Shanghai, I found this topic from a local Shanghai “mommy” online community last week to be really interesting. A pregnant woman asked whether she should listen to her husband’s suggestion that she go give birth in the United States instead of China. Unfortunately, the original post has been deleted, but you can still see the cached page here.

This Chinese woman also wrote an email to a Lian Yue(连岳), a well-known, award winning blogger, asking for advice. Lian Yue responded to her on his blog. Here is a translation of the original email and Yue’s reply:

Lian Yue,

I’ve been a reader of your blog for a few years, and I never thought I would write to ask for your help one day.

I’ve been pregnant for 4 months and at the same time, I have been in a fight because of it for 4 months. My husband has been insisting that I have this baby in the United States, in order to give him/her a US citizenship. We already got our travel visas to the US this past September so the visa won’t be a problem. Plus, one of my colleagues did the same thing earlier this year in Los Angeles, thus giving my husband more confidence that we can do it as well.

However, I don’t see the necessity. Besides the expense of hundreds of thousands of RMB, is US citizenship really so important? My husband is very disappointed with the current situation in China. He always says China is going downwards and is hopeless. Although I disagree with him, I never care to argue with him. But, all of these negative opinions have became his reasons for me to go to the US to give birth.

After returning from a trip to the US this past October, my husband was more affirmed with his idea. In the beginning, I said “No” so he started a cold war* with me. Later, I had to say “yes” because I was too tired to argue with him further. However, I never thought it through: even if our child is a US citizen, he/she will still grow up and be educated in China anyway. The only convenience will be that he/she might have an easier time applying for a US university or job in 20 years. But, how do I know if he/she wants to be a US citizen or wants to go to the US in 20 years ?

I’ve asked a lot of friends for opinions. Some are in support, some have concerns, and some are opposed to it. Lian Yue, could you help me out, even with a short reply: Do you think I should give my baby a US nationality?

- A mom-to-be expecting answers

* cold war: Where two people generally ignore and do not talk to each other, aka “the silent treatment” or “cold shoulder.”


A mom-to-be expecting answers:

1. If your plan is feasible and you can afford the expense, I AGREE that you should go to the US to give birth.

2. Marcel Duchamp became a US citizen in his late years, reason: more freedom with a US passport. He was a Frenchman originally. Freedom is always good to have.

3. If your husband truly believes that China is hopeless and will be  “finished” sooner or later, he has a very strong reason on this matter. If he is right, it won’t be easy for your kid to go to US when it happens. According to my optimistic outlook, China is not hopeless and won’t be finished.

4. Even if he/she chooses to stay in China in the future, it will probably still be safer [to be an American] anyway. You won’t need to worry about being sent to lunatic asylum without cause. Freedom from fear is a beautiful thing.

5. He/she could become the President of United States.

6. Although we have an old saying that “Offspring have their own fortune,” the next half of this saying is: “American offspring have more fortune.”

7. Of course, there will be people who will ask, “So Lian Yue, why do you maintain Chinese nationality? Why not go become an American?”

8. It is because I grumble too much, often making criticisms. As a Chinese citizen, it is more fun to do these things.

9. The most important thing is, I am old, so it doesn’t matter any more.

Lian Yue (连岳)

Dec 10 2008

What’s your opinion, CN Reviews readers?

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